Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Coal, rail and by extension water (updated)

Here's a piece from SNL Financial on the changing nature of the coal industry. This one focuses on how utilities and railroads are adapting to diminished reliance on long-term supply contracts. Although the article focuses on rail transport and doesn't mention waterborne shipments, the idea that some coal-burning plants will have smaller stockpiles in the future does affect power plants that rely mostly on water transport.


Meanwhile, another SNL story says the EPA is concerned that it will get only one shot at imposing strict new emissions rules for carbon dioxide on existing coal-fired power plants:
Though the U.S. EPA has yet to finalize any of its rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, the agency is already expressing uncertainty about whether it will ever be allowed to tighten up the regulations in the future, an agency official said at an Environmental Law Institute workshop on July 14.


Finally, CSX released its second-quarter earnings today. The company reported record earnings for the quarter. Buried in its performance report were a few nuggets where coal and oil are concerned.

Domestic utility shipments in terms of tonnage were up 23 percent in the second quarter over the second quarter of last year. Exports of thermal coal were down 12 percent, and exports of metallurgical coal declined 9 percent.

While total coal volume was up 3 percent, coal revenue was down 6 percent.

"Coal volume increased due to higher shipments of domestic coal attributable to marketplace gains and utilities replenishing stockpiles.  This growth was partially offset by a decrease in export coal as a result of softening global market conditions," the earnings report said.
Company executives will have their quarterly conference call with investment analysts tomorrow morning.

Norfolk Southern will release its second-quarter earnings report next week.