US natural gas production will need to increase to maintain soaring liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports while ensuring adequate domestic supplies for households and businesses this winter. If not, then electricity generators at power plants will find NatGas uneconomical to run turbines and switch to coal-fired generators. That’s precisely what could be happening as US coal prices soar over the $200 per ton mark for the first time.
Bloomberg said spot coal prices for the week ending Sept. 30 increased to $204.95 per ton. Data was sourced from US Energy Information Administration, which said this was the highest price in records dating back to 2005.
“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding” Proverbs 2:6
The energy-market shockwaves from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and rejiggering of Europe’s energy supply chain have dramatically increased US LNG exports to the EU this summer and fall. Domestic supplies have significantly tightened the availability for large users, which has pressured prices higher.As a result, the once-mighty coal industry is returning as the global (in China and Europe) NatGas-to-coal switching could be set to intensify. The rise in coal prices may suggest stockpiling by utilities ahead of a cold winter.
Rising spot coal prices have been favorable for big coal companies: Peabody Energy Corp shares rose 6% to $26.25, and Arch Resources Inc. jumped 7.5% to $127.49. Both coal stocks have been in a lateral formation for much of this year and could break out to the upside if coal prices continue to rise.
The rally in spot coal and coal mining stocks comes under the most progressive White House ever that attempts to kill the fossil fuel industry to decarbonize the power grid with unreliable renewable power sources that have backfired. Worse, US-led sanctions against Russia have further sparked global energy market chaos.
Coal’s comeback is a remarkable turnaround for an industry that was on the brink of disaster
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