Houston — US coal production is forecast to be about 596 million st in 2020, down 13.7% from the estimated 2019 output of 690 million st, data from the Energy Information Administration's Short-Term Energy Outlook showed Tuesday.
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The EIA projects output of about 587 million st for 2021, the lowest level since the early 1970s.
Coal exports in 2020 are expected to total 86 million st compared with estimated exports of 92.4 million st in 2019. Exports in 2021 are projected to be 85 million st.
The February export forecast increased from the January forecast by 3.5 percentage points and 2.1 percentage points for 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Coal consumption by the power sector is expected to total about 465 million st in 2020, down 14.6% from 2019, and about 469 million st in 2021. While the February projection dropped 15.3 million st in its 2020 forecast, the 2021 projection rose 4.8 million st from the January STEO.
Total US coal consumption is forecast to be about 516 million st in 2020, down 13.3% from the 2019 estimate and 15 million st lower than the January projection. The EIA's 2021 forecast is at about 519 million st.
Compared with US coal-powered estimated generation share of 24% in 2019, the February EIA report projects coal generation share of 21% in 2020 and 12% in 2021.
The natural gas generation share for 2020 is projected to be 38%, up 1 percentage point from the forecasts for both 2019 and 2021.
The EIA forecast gas production at 94.2 Bcf/d for 2020 in February, up from 2019's estimated production of about 99 Bcf/d and down from a forecast of 102 Bcf/d in January. The 2021 projection fell month on month by 9 Bcf/d to 92.6 Bcf/d. Power sector consumption in 2020 is forecast to be 31.4 Bcf/d, up 7% from 2019, and at 30.3 Bcf/d in 2021.