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EIA forecasts US coal production for 2019 to fall 10.6% on year

Highlights

EIA drops 2020 projection to 617 million st

Power sector consumption forecast of 543 million st 2019

Houston — The US Energy Information Administration forecast coal production of about 674 million st in 2019, down 10.6% from year-ago production, the agency's Short-Term Energy Outlook reported Tuesday.

September's forecast for 2019 output was up 2% from August's forecast.

The 2020 projection decreased as well, from the prior month's forecast by 5.2%, and the EIA now forecasts about 617 million st in output next year.

This is the lowest 2020 output projection since the start of the year and down 20.8 million st from the previous low in May.

Coal exports for this year were projected to total 94.2 million st in the September report, down 5.8% from the August report. From 2018 exports, the EIA projects an 18.5% drop, the largest forecast drop year over year since December 2016.

In 2020, the EIA forecast 85.7 million st of exports, down 9% from the 2019 projection and down 5.2% from the previous month's forecast.

September was the lowest export forecast for 2020 through nine months, down 2.1 million st from the prior low in July.

Power sector consumption was forecast to total about 543 million st this year, down 14.7% from 2018 consumption, and about 500 million st next year, down 8% from the 2019 projection.

Total US consumption was forecast to be over 593 million st in 2019, down 13.8% from the previous year. The EIA 2020 forecast was about 548 million st, down 7.6% from the 2019 forecast.

Compared with US coal-powered generation of 27.4% in 2018, the September EIA report projected coal generation share of 25% in 2019 and 22% in 2020. While the 2019 projection rose 1% compared with the August report, the 2020 projection dropped 2%.

Natural gas generation share for 2019 was projected to be 37% in the newly released report, flat from the August forecast.

The 2020 generation forecast was 38%, up from August's projection of 36%, and the highest generation forecast since June.

In September, the EIA forecast gas production at 91.4 Bcf/d for 2019, which would be up 9.7% from 2018 production, while the 2020 forecast was 93.2 Bcf/d, up 2% from the 2019 forecast. Power sector consumption this year was predicted to be 30.6 Bcf/d, up 5.3% from 2018 consumption, and 30.8 Bcf/d in 2020, up 0.8% year on year.

-- Olivia Kalb, olivia.kalb@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Bill Montgomery, newsdesk@spglobal.com