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US EIA Forecasts 9% Decline in 2024 Coal Exports

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has revised its 2024 coal export projection down to 91 million short tons (st), indicating a 9 per cent decrease from the 2023 exports of 100 million st, according to the January Short-Term Energy Outlook. According to S&P Global Commodity Insights, this revision, marking a 2.7 per cent decrease from the previous month’s estimate, reflects the ongoing shift in the energy landscape.

The EIA’s report also forecasts a historic low in coal production, projecting a 15.9 per cent YoY decline to 489.3 million st in 2024. This downward trend is expected to persist, with a further 12.4 per cent YoY decrease to 428.8 million st in 2025.

Total coal consumption is estimated at 391.3 million st in 2024, indicating a 1.6 per cent increase from the prior month’s projection. For the electric power sector, coal consumption is expected to drop 8.4 per cent to 351.9 million st in 2024, reaching an all-time low if realised. In 2025, electric power sector coal consumption is projected at 322.2 million st. Nominal average delivered coal prices are anticipated to be USD 2.49/MMBtu in 2024, a slight decrease from USD 2.52/MMBtu in 2023. The EIA forecasts a further reduction to USD 2.44/MMBtu in 2025.

In line with declining coal consumption, coal’s share in US power generation is expected to slip to 14.8 per cent in 2024, down from 16.6 per cent in 2023. The EIA projects a decrease to 13.3 per cent in 2025 as renewables’ share in generation increases.

Renewable energy sources are set to rise from 21.8 per cent in 2023 to 24 per cent in 2024 and 25.9 per cent in 2025, surpassing coal in power generation.

Nuclear generation is expected to remain stable at 19.2-19.3 per cent, while natural gas generation is projected to fall from 41.9 per cent in 2023 to 41.1 per cent in 2025.

The EIA estimates the Henry Hub spot price to average USD 2.76/MMBtu in 2024, down from the December 2024 estimate of USD 2.90/MMBtu. Dry natural gas production is expected to increase to 106.38 Bcf/d in 2025.

Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports are set to rise by 4.4 per cent to 12.36 Bcf/d in 2024, jumping to 14.42 Bcf/d in 2025, indicating the continued growth of the natural gas sector despite the declining role of coal in the US energy mix.