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Illinois Basin utility coal shipments fall 36.2% on year to 12.5 mil st in Q2

Highlights

Shipments peaked in April at 4.4 million st

H1 shipments fall 30.6% on year to 27.8 mil st

Houston — Illinois Basin second quarter deliveries to coal-fired power plants totaled 12.5 million st, down 36.2% from the year-ago quarter, US Energy Information Administration 9-23 data showed Aug. 27.

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IB shipments peaked in April with over 4.4 million st, when US coal-fired power generation was at its lowest in nine years, according to available data. June shipments followed with 4.2 million st, rising from the second quarter low in May of 3.8 million st.

June also saw an increase in coal in power generation, up about 25 TWh from April generation.

Compared to 60 spot deals totaling 1.6 million st in the year-ago quarter, there were 23 spot shipments in the second quarter, totaling 648,488 st. Spot deliveries totaled 11 in April, seven in May, and five in June.

The coronavirus pandemic drove an overall drop in demand for IB coal, and production following several mine idlings in the basin due to virus concerns. Stockpiles in recent months have also been at extremely high levels and coal-fired power generation has been steadily decreasing since over the past few years.

By top IB producers, Alliance Resource Partners shipped 2.9 million st in Q2, down 42.7% year on year. Peabody Energy shipped 1.9 million st, down 38.3%, while Foresight Energy shipped 1 million st, down 54% from the year-ago period.

Prairie State's Lively Grove mine, which was the largest producing mine in the second quarter with output of 1.7 million st, shipped about 1.8 million st, up 8% year on year.

In the first half of the year, deliveries from the IB totaled 27.8 million st, down 30.6% year on year.

From the five-year average of 48.9 million st shipments in the first half of the year, the first six months of 2020 were at a deficit of 33.6%.

Quarter on quarter, IB deliveries declined by 2.9 million st, largely due to impacts from the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in the US.

However, even in the first quarter, IB utility shipments were down 25.4% from the year-ago period. IB production year to date, as well, is down an estimated 28.1% year on year, while the annualized estimate is down 29.9%.

Annualized IB utility deliveries would be down 28.1% year on year.