The Resurgence of the American Coal Industry. Part Trois: Going Dutch!

Guest post by David Middleton

If President Obama was the “war on coal,” President Trump might just be the post-war “Marshall Plan”…

U.S. Coal Finds Footing In European Markets

By Oil & Gas 360 – Jul 22, 2017

report by the EIA indicated that coal exports—for both steam coal, used for power generation, and metallurgical coal, used for refining steel—have increased by 58 percent from Q1 of 2016 to Q1 of 2017. The majority of the increase was in steam coal, which grew by 6 million short tons (MMst).

Big U.S. coal customer: Europe

The majority of the coal was shipped from ports on the Atlantic Coast and Gulf Coast. The U.S. exported a total of 10.135 million short tons of steam coal during Q1. Steam coal exports were bound largely for European markets—which consumed approximately 50 percent of the U.S.’ total steam coal exports in Q1, 2017.

Out of the approximately 5.108 million short tons of steam coal exported to Europe, the Netherlands consumed approximately 2.530 million short tons—a little less than 50 percent.

Asian markets consumed approximately 31 percent of the total U.S. exports, with South Korea, India, and Japan making up the bulk of the demand.


Oil & Gas 360


Figure 1. US steam coal export destinations (Source: EnerCom Inc., from EIA data, Oil & Gas 360)

Who would have guessed that half of US coal exports go to Europe?  Or that half of our coal exports to Europe would go to the Netherlands (“going Dutch”)?

Based on the “holier than thou” rhetoric of the EU, one would think that coal would have been banned by now… Or, at the very least, imports of US coal would have been banned after President Trump 86’ed the “planet saving” Paris climate agreement.

The Oil & Gas 360 article spends as much time on natural gas as it does on coal, featuring a rather oddly captioned photo…


Figure 2. “U.S. responsible for 40 percent of the world’s new gas production by 2022: IEA (Oil & Gas 360)



More U.S. LNG ready to travel

According to a June report by the IEA, global natural gas demand will increase by 1.6 percent by 2022—with China fueling 40 percent of that growth. On the other end of the spectrum is the U.S., which is expected to produce 40 percent of the world’s new gas production out to 2022.

The IEA believes that by 2022, despite growth in domestic gas demand, the U.S. will export over half of its growing production in the form of LNG.


Yay for us!!!

The EIA report…

JULY 18, 2017

U.S. coal exports have increased over the past six months

Coal exports for the first quarter of 2017 were 58% higher than in the same quarter last year, with steam coal exports increasing by 6 million short tons (MMst) and metallurgical coal exports increasing by 2 MMst. Most of these exports were shipped from Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico ports. In EIA’s most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), EIA expects growth in coal exports to slow in the coming months, with total 2017 exports forecast at 72 MMst, 11 MMst (19%) higher than the 2016 level.




Figure 3. US quarterly coal exports 2001-2017 (US EIA).

While several proposals for west coast export terminals had been blocked by environmental terrorists activists and Obama administration malfeasance, the Trump administration favors new export terminals.  Besides,  current exports are well-below the capacity of existing terminals…


Figure 4. US coal exports are currently well-below capacity (Source US EIA).

So, there’s lots of room for growth without adding new export terminal capacity as America transitions its goal from “energy independence” to ENERGY DOMINANCE!

America’s becoming a world energy leader – even as it leads in the fight against climate change

By Post Editorial Board July 22, 2017


Team Trump has adopted an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy production, backing oil, gas, coal, nuclear, renewables, fracking — heck, probably hamsters on wheels if they could gin up enough juice.

The goal, says Perry, echoing Trump’s remarks last month, is global “energy dominance.” He cites exports of liquid natural gas, Atlantic and Arctic Ocean oil and coal as particularly promising.

Indeed, America has already seen jumps in coal exports to Europe, India and South Korea. And after decades of importing natural gas, the US is now set to become a net exporter of gas, possibly this year. For that, thank the fracking boom that’s enriching states like Pennsylvania and Texas. (New York also has natural gas, but to please enviros, Gov. Cuomo banned fracking.)

The good news for America doesn’t end there: US energy exports are reducing world dependence on oil and gas from bad actors — notably, Russia and Middle East OPEC countries. Ukraine, for example, may soon use US coal to make up for Russia’s cuts in the natural gas it supplies.


NY Post


Figure 5. Ayyyyy! (SOURCE?)


105 thoughts on “The Resurgence of the American Coal Industry. Part Trois: Going Dutch!

  1. Well, export that coal to Europe while you can, because UK and EU are set to close their coal plants and won’t be building any more.
    For example
    And the Dutch are barely staving off complete shut down
    The Poles will hang on for a bit longer, sure, and the Czechs.
    But the major EU economies and the UK have declared coal dead.

    • No wonder socialist regimes want to kill coal, since it means also bumping off tens of thousands of mostly old people every winter than otherwise would die. Great way to save on pensions and medical costs!

      • Except the so called ‘excess winter deaths’ rate in Germany is lower, even with colder winters and 35% renewable electricity.

      • Griff,
        Lots of people in Germany were saved last winter by the grid for the largest part fed by browncoal and coal, the former from their own open pit mines. For weeks there was very little sun power (10% of summer yield) and very little wind power under a high pressure system in most of Europe. See the power sources for week 3 in Germany:
        Both solar (a few hours a day) and wind give about 5% of the total power, biomass + hydro about 10%, the rest is coal, browncoal, the last nuclear installations and gas…
        Thus even where the installed capacity of wind + solar is over 100% of what is needed at winter peaks, it gives a meager 10% of total production when needed most…

      • “There is not yet and won’t be for a long time any replacement for fossil fuels.”
        100% correct, those who claim otherwise are either grossly ignorant or do not care about the huge negative impact on the world economies and the lifestyle of humanity. Of course the elites think they will be exempt from the dire consequences for the average Joe. .

      • but it is!
        The EU targets are set for 2030 and 2050 – 80% renewable electricity by 2050…
        Coal plant close dates are already set for UK, France…
        Coal plants are (too slowly) set to close in Germany.
        No new plant will be built in the majority of EU states.

      • Griff, you do realize that ‘targets’ are mythical things with no real existence, right? They can trumpet any ‘target’ they want, but the only thing that matters is what they actually end up doing. And when it comes to CO2 and fossil fuel use the ‘targets’ seem to rarely get met.

      • “ddpalmer July 25, 2017 at 3:53 am
        Griff, you do realize that ‘targets’ are mythical things with no real existence, right?”
        My power bill just doubled July 1st 2017, thanks to “renewable” targets.

      • In little Griff’s world, if a politician says something, it will happen, even if physically impossible.

    • “Well, export that coal to Europe while you can, because UK and EU are set to close their coal plants and won’t be building any more.”
      They won’t have any choice Griff. They have turned their back on nuclear and distained to frack for their own gas (all though, thankfully that aberration is ending in the UK). They are realising that Putin has them by the short and curlies when it comes to the gas baseload that maintains their grids. The idiot Macon is going all out for EV replacing ICE whilst removing 40% of French reliable generating capacity.
      And then there is this;
      This is dysfunctional and requires the populis to accept that they can only have electricity when there is some to spare.
      This will not end well

      • Griff,
        besides, with 700 coal fired power stations due to be built in China alone over the coming years, there will be no shortage of export markets.

      • I read a story the other day which stated that Macron’s popularity has dropped ten points in the last several months. Perhaps the French are not so far gone as to realize that there is something rotten in France, and it’s not the cheese.

      • diogenese2
        Trump and Pruitt seem to be forging ahead with the Red team Blue team thing.
        They must be confident of the outcome because if it all goes tits up, Trump will be put under irresistible pressure to engage with the Paris accord again, and he really can’t risk that.
        I wonder what any announcement will be like when it’s all concluded?
        “AGW isn’t happening folks, so business as usual, we can all get back to work”.

      • HotScot
        China’s coal plant’s are already running at less than capacity and China coal use has been just about static for 3 years and they’ve banned new coal plant applications in the majority of Chinese regions.

      • Little Griff, are you actually trying to claim that the fact that China’s economy hasn’t grown as fast as predicted is proof that China has abandoned coal?

    • Griff, you make it sound so simple. The facts are: Cheap, reliable, quality energy has made the US what it is. Our President has put the world on notice that he plans to keep it that way. Manufactures in the UK and Germany are already looking at the US. When our tax code changes, look out. The people of the UK are our friends, Their government, not so much. BTW, the Guardian is burning through money at a fast pace. They would be lucky to last another 5 or 6 years. Perhaps the government will buy them as they act as a state run news service. No adjustments wound be necessary.

      • Ric Haldane
        The Germans ain’t daft. Mercedes, BMW, Audi and VW all have factories in the US, and all the X series BMW’s are made in the US.
        Griff thinks thinks German cars are made in Germany.
        Then there’s Japanese car manufacturers.
        The commercial world knows what side it’s bread is buttered on and if Trump can effect real change in the US energy market, expect to see lots of EU businesses coming your way.
        If the UK doesn’t get it’s act together and run with the US, things will be tougher for us than they need be.

      • HotScot, All of what you say is a given. Wait until the smaller manufactures move to this side of the pond. It would be an easy sell; cheap electricity, almost any firearm you want to own, plenty of public land for fishing and hunting (free). Even if you’ll don’t speak American or Texan, we’ll teach you. Aluminum and Jaguar are easy to say in American. My great grandfather cane from Edinburgh as a master baker. I have been to Scotland many times. I have no interest in living in a socialist country hell bent on self destruction due to renewable s. You would be welcome on this side.

      • Second chart is “currently operating”
        So, Everyone .. DON’T PANIC..
        and griff.. stop your bed-wetting.. its embarrassing.
        There will be a PLENTIFUL supply of nature beloved atmospheric CO2 for many decades, centuries to come 🙂
        To the MASSIVE BENEFIT of ALL LIFE on Earth.

      • If you want the news from some other outlet than the guardian, then you will also find it there.
        The life expectancy of that (or any other print paper) is irrelevant to the facts on coal use

    • And of course the UK was going to replace their entire fleet of internal combustian vehicles with diesel, and then the weren’t. And they were going to put windmill everywhere, till someone noticed the harm and absence of benefit, and they were going to swear of drilling and fracking – now not so much. Yes there are all kinds of fervently voiced claims of fossil fuel abstinence, but no sane person voluntarily starves or freezes to death if they have the POWER to do otherwise. Fortunately when they come to their senses and get back on track the climate won’t mind one bit, at least that’s the conclusion one can take from all the current less than ominous trends in the climate of the Industrial Age.

      • We are still building offshore wind and solar (some solar subsidy free now)…
        We are making major investments in grid storage and demand management…
        The UK has not let up on renewables.

    • Don’t matter much. If they don’t want to but it cheaply, we can use it at home until they realize the need, then it might not be So Cheap anymore

      • Except US coal plant closures are still being announced, even since Trump took office.
        There are no more than 5 planned coal plants in the US – which have very little chance of starting building.
        There are far more than that already scheduled to close.

      • In Little Griff’s world, any trend that he likes, must continue indefinitely in the future.
        The recent big drop in gas prices is why there was a temporary shift away from coal. That drop is over, and so is the shift.
        Closures just mean that plants that have exceeded their life expectancy are being retired.

    • Griff
      Wishful thinking as usual.
      The Dutch will not close what they have – instead they’ve decided that mixing in 25-30% wood chips [also from the US] makes coal “green” [typical Dutch muddle-through compromise].
      The Germans are building 8 new coal fired plants on top of the 6 they are un-mothballing – until their own coal and lignite [the dirtiest] mines are operational, they’re importing US coal. This just to keep the lights on and industry from moving to the US as the nuclear-free / renewable energy “energiewende” continues to wreak havoc with the grid.
      The Czechs and the Poles are precisely the two countries that have been telling greenie Brussels to go pound sand and will not sign up for any further EU regulations cutting back on coal.
      Anything the Guardian writes is terminally suspect – just like Wiki.

      • The Germans are absolutely NOT building any more coal plants. Datteln 4, if completion goes ahead, is the last ever.
        They are not un mothballing any either.
        There is a list of scheduled coal plant closures.
        List them and prove me wrong!

    • More fantasy and falsehoods?
      Coal use is up, right now. America’s coal exports are up.
      If UK and EU showed any brains, they’d switch to coal instead of using wood pellets.
      giffiepoo’s predictions are just as fanciful as CAGW’s disaster predictions.

    • Griff; how about Germany, when will they be heroically independent of coal? Last time I checked, they still need huge amounts for their balancing of unstable wind and solar power. And the Brits, they are really heroes, converting the huge Drax caol plant to burning “biofuel”, which is something as prosaic as cutting down trees in America and shipping it (not by sailship either) to the UK.
      And the German “35%” renewable consists of ca. 50% bio and hydropower, please remember to mention that.

  2. If you don’t like coal and belive it is bad for the environtment, why buy it?
    Trump did right in leaving the Paris accord.

  3. Unfortunately the UK has had successive governments which think it is better to burn imported US wood chips in coal-fired power stations than it is to burn imported US coal in coal-fired power stations. The insanity continues in the UK with no sign of any return to sense. In fact today’s government announcements show an increase in insanity.

      • Gloats,
        But ah, you forget: coal is a fossil (must be kept in the ground), whereas wood is a renewable resource!

      • Kurt in Switzerland
        So renewable that the UK chopped down all it’s forests to supply, by today’s standards, a tiny population before turning to thermally efficient fossil fuels.
        And now, the country is plagued with trendy, domestic wood burning stoves, belching out unregulated smoke from whatever householders care to chuck on them.
        When I retire in a few years I’m intending going back to Scotland to build a Passive Haus, or as close as I can get, and it will have a conventional gas fired, condensing boiler for the times the house may need some extra heat. I will never have a wood burning anything near the place.

    • Kurt in Switzerland

      But ah, you forget: coal is a fossil (must be kept in the ground), whereas wood is a renewable resource!

      Wood is just a pre-fossil.

  4. So the EU going green means foreign coal? All that investment in wind and solar still requires conventional backup.

  5. Note for Rud Instvan
    British government is to invest £246m into battery research, in order to make the UK the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of electric batteries.
    person in charge is the UK’s business secretary Mr Greg Clark.

    • We have been world leaders before:
      “The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect, with sooty hands and face, his hair and beard long, ragged, and singed in several places. His clothes, shirt, and skin, were all of the same colour. He has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. He told me, he did not doubt, that, in eight years more, he should be able to supply the governor’s gardens with sunshine, at a reasonable rate: but he complained that his stock was low, and entreated me “to give him something as an encouragement to ingenuity, especially since this had been a very dear season for cucumbers.” I made him a small present, for my lord had furnished me with money on purpose, because he knew their practice of begging from all who go to see them.”
      Gulliver’s Travels: Jonathan Swift 1726

      • A marvelous cite. Still not there on sunshine from cucumbers. Still not there on fusion. As a French Noble in physics said (I paraphrase rather than looking up the exact quote) ‘Solar (gravitaional) fusion in a box. Magnificent idea. But we do not know how to make the box.’

    • Color me unimpressed. The 2014 DoE research budget fot batteries/energy storage was $170 million. It was $88 million in 2013. Bought essentially no progress. Only things out there worth keeping an eye on are Fiskers Nanotech LiC out of UCLA ( see my auto speculation post at Climate Etc for details) and Goodenough’s glass electrolyte at U.T. Austin. Both completely private research.

      • ristvan
        As usual the UK government will back the wrong horse (as most governments are inclined to, to be fair) in their rush to garner popular opinion in recently wildly inaccurate polls.
        The money will be spunked and your commercial examples will move in with superior technology and clean up.
        When will these tosser governments ever learn?

      • HS, that is what has happened with US national lab energy storage research also.
        Maxwell successfully first commercialized supercaps for the Navy in the late 1990’s. MIT spinout A123 Systems commercialized the nano LiFePO4 lithium ion battery for vehicles. I developed a better supercap carbon conceptually at my desk by realizing many inconsistencies in the literature meant the conventional wisdom about Helmholtz double layer formation had to be wrong, then devising the correct mathematical formulation, then applying it to materials possibilities, and then proving it all out experimentally at U. Ky’s CAER using Office of Naval Research money for a Marine Corps application. Two fundamental patents issued US, Russia, Korea, Japan, with Europe just about there. Applied for fed funding under various DoE programs, even with backing of congressmen and senators and governors. Zilch.
        IMO Governments do have a role in basic research (or funding it at universities), and when scope and scale are tremendous (think 4th gen nuclear, still all shamefully being done privately). Electrochemisry dates back to Alessandro Volta; there is nothing basic left to research. It is all applied materials science now and belongs in university materials engineering departments or commercial companies.

      • (think 4th gen nuclear, still all shamefully being done privately).

        There is absolutely nothing shameful about private research. Quite the opposite.

      • Tsk, perhaps from your perspective. From mine, the $billions needed to chose one or more 4gen concepts and build a working prototype(s) is what the USG should be doing but isn’t. Only China is (molten salt, 5MW). I would defund NIF completely, exit ITER (inertial and magnetic fusion confinement, both hopeless from different basic principles) and use the saved money to fund 4 gen fission prototypes. Details in essay Going Nuclear in ebook Blowing Smoke, with footnotes.

    • Unless the UK government suddenly becomes intelligent – which I doubt – they are guiding us towards a disaster of a Brexit that will kill off many of their stupid ideas. Unless it goes on a borrowing spree under a Corbyn government following a 2019 election, there won’t be any money for these sort of schemes.

      • Boris Johnson has been here in NZ lately. Hope he looked at our windmill system. We have the best, more or less, winds in the world, but have kept away from destabilising rates of usage. Helps to have no subsidies, even in the State run enterprises. Power only a bit too dear from too many leeches. I like Boris, hope he has good ears.

  6. Coal for Germany (and further up-stream) is imported through Rotterdam. That the coal is landed Dutch does not mean it is fired Dutch. and that it is steam coal does not mean it is not turned into smelt cokes, some cokes plants in Germany were designed to turn very poor quality domestic coal (no longer mined) into smelt cokes..Do not trust statistics.and beware of your conclusions.

      • Realistically, the coal that the US exports to China is probably being dumped into vast open holes in the ground to wait for the price to double, then China will try to sell it back to us

      • Well, look at that. Coal exports to UK grew 282% since last years January-March 2016 !
        Must be coal needed for giffiepoo’s stocking because of giffiepoo’s serial and repetitive lies.

      • ATheo…
        But UK use of coal power dramatically declined in 2016.
        It produced less electricity than wind in 2016.
        3 large power stations shut… all UK coal will be shut by 2025.
        It may have used more US coal – but it used less coal than since 1935.
        and every year till it shuts it all it will use less.
        where is the market??

      • This clarifies what happens to coal imported in the Netherlands.and exported mainly down stream the Rhine to Germany and beyond or on sea sailing barges to smaller European sea ports. Coal for Hamburg and Bremen may be shipped to these sea ports but coal for the Ruhr area and most other German destinations passes through Rotterdam. The Netherlands fired less than 25% of the coal imported. The country of destination in the EU is where the goods first enter the union which, makes the Netherlands the leading EU destination for most bulk (ore, coal, oil, etc.) imports.

    • @Vissers
      Nader bekeken: the Germans in fact have a lot of coal and in particular lignite [bruin kool] left in the ground and busily but quietly re-opening several of their mothballed mines.
      Meanwhile they’re importing US coal – while uber-hypocrite “Crocodile Tears” Merkel has the gall to tar and feather Trump for torpedoing Paris -allegedly telling her face to face that the German proverbial emperor has no clothes on..
      Merkel has several reports telling her the “energiewende” is a very expensive economic and social disaster: e.g. Germany now nominally derives 30% of its electricity from renewables but during the past three winters [when it counts most] solar and wind accounted for just over 1% of total electricity generated -it was coal fired Czech and Polish juice that saved the day…

      • Henning,
        Look at week 3 in that month: there was a high pressure system all over Europe.
        Germany has installed about 100% of its power needs by “name plate” wind and solar. In winter, solar only gives maximum 10% of summer yield and in this case wind did give only 10% of its nameplate capacity, about Europe-wide…
        They have been lucky that installed capacity of coal and browncoal also is over 100% of their winter needs…
        As power-to-gas-to-power has a bad yield and near impossible due to the enormous storage needed, batteries are much worse, one need to install 10 times the nameplate capacity of wind to fill gaps like in week 3 when you want 100 % renewables. Problem then is when you need to get rid of 90% of power when the wind blows right…

    • I was going to add this as well. Rotterdam is a nominal named import location for market purposes and coal can go anywhere in Europe that has been nominated as Rotterdam coal. The biggest increase in coal use in Europe this summer has been Spain where their ill-thought out push for renewable energy has seen their solar panels slowly degrading and being abandoned due to shut off of govt subsidies, unemployment is currently running at 17.8% (April 2017 figures) and economy that is in very bad shape. Where are all the green energy jobs? Without subsidies, renewables can not survive in industrial grid scale quantities and never will unless you want to cover most of the country side in solar panels and battery farms both of which are impractical. Local home use or isolated properties perhaps, but not grid scale power.

  7. I hope the American coal industry has learned from their near-death experience. They need to get something in place which means legally enforceable contracts to hinder the next antagonistic government enforcing their extinction. ‘Public’ investment may already be permanently scared off, and private investment is in the cross-sights of greenalists. Trump is only a breathing space unless they up their game.

      • DM, actually two things. Low NG price is one. The other is that CCGT is under $1500/KW capital and takes just 2.5 years to build, while USC coal is about $3500 or more/Kw and takes ~4 years to build. (Timing difference is a cheap building around a factory built CCGT unit and an onsite major structural building housing boiler construction.) CCGT is 61% efficient, best Chinese USC coal is 45%. The US numbers work against coal, with 1/3 of all coal capacity due for economic replacement due to old age. Even with cheaper LNG, coal numbers work in places like Japan.

        • All very true. But the “near death” experience that triggered the Peabody and Arch bankruptcies was the collapse in natural gas prices. The brief plunge in gas prices below $2.00/mcf in 2016 was the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for the largest US coal company, Peabody Energy.

          One of the more telling moments during Tuesday’s interview came toward the beginning, when Kellow was summarizing the events around Peabody’s descent into chapter 11. He noted that, around the same time, U.S. natural gas prices hit a low of $1.67 per million BTUs. He was off by a few a cents — as he acknowledged he might be — at least according to Bloomberg data. Whatever; the point is that the CEO of a coal-mining company who quotes historical natural-gas prices down to the cent clearly knows the enemy.
          As I’ve written here and here, the shale boom fracked the ground from underneath the U.S. coal sector. The industry simultaneously self-administered a coup de grâce in the form of ill-timed acquisitions, loading up with debt just as the market went south. President Barack Obama’s tightening of the regulatory screws on coal-fired power essentially closed the door on any revival.
          Bloomberg Gadfly

          Natural gas prices are currently in the neighborhood of $3.00/mcf, well above the “killing coal” line.
          Coal will still have a tough time competing with natural gas; but reports of its death were premature and exaggerated.

    • Not clear what the companies can do when there is a Dictator like Obama who violates the Constitution with the complicity of the MSM. Once the courts are packed with progressives it has been an uphill fight.
      In my mind, only a dramatic change in government like TRUMP can save a government ravaged industry following the advice or radical environmentalism. Oil and beef cattle were next on the chopping block.

  8. “…….Team Trump has adopted an “all-of-the-above” approach to energy production, backing oil, gas, coal, nuclear, renewables, fracking — heck, probably hamsters on wheels if they could gin up enough juice.
    The goal, says Perry, echoing Trump’s remarks last month, is global “energy dominance.” He cites exports of liquid natural gas, Atlantic and Arctic Ocean oil and coal as particularly promising……’
    Another part of the fossil fuel energy equation that has yet to be tapped into are methane hydrates. Both the US-DOE and the geology website below state that it is possible that methane hydrates might represent more untapped energy than the all world’s oil, NG and coal combined.
    The problem of course is technological. The means for harvesting it in a feasible and economical way has yet to be found. R&D into that technological breakthrough, if it is ever found, is ongoing. However, just the thought of methane hydrates being added to our energy mix almost makes me laugh when Al Gore and all the other wind and solar energy pushers try to make us believe they can and will force fossil fuels out of the picture anytime soon.

    • There are enough methane hydrate deposits on the US Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to cover more than 1,000 years of our current natural gas consumption.
      Methane hydrates can be produced, the economics just don’t work without much, much higher gas prices…

      Japan cheers world-first gas from methane hydrates
      News Wires
      12 March 2013
      Japan has achieved the world’s first gas extraction from offshore methane hydrate deposits, said energy explorer Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC), who is targeting commercial production within six years.
      A Reuters report on Tuesday stated that since 2001, several hundred million dollars have been invested in developing technology to tap methane hydrate reserves, estimated to equate to about 11 years of gas consumption, off Japan’s coast.
      State-run JOGMEC said the gas was tapped from deposits of methane hydrate, a frozen gas known as “flammable ice”, near Japan’s central coast.
      Japan imports almost all of its energy needs and is the world’s top importer of liquefied natural gas. The lure of domestic gas resources has intensified following the Fukushima nuclear crisis two years ago, which triggered a shake-up of the country’s energy sector.
      According to Reuters, Japan’s trade ministry said the production tests would continue for about two weeks, followed by analysis on how much gas was produced.
      Upstream Online

      Based on this economic analysis, methane hydrate production would be uneconomic…×206.gif?w=500
      42-174 JPY/m^3 works out to about $12-$45/mcf… Equivalent to oil prices of $71 to $269/boe.

    • CD in W, see my essay Ice that Burns in ebook Blowing Smoke. What ‘they’ say is not only speculation rather than gological fact, it ignores some very difficult technical issues like mud versus sand.

    • Why is there no country that algore is travelling, promoting ANOTHER stupid ‘movie’… telling him to place all of his homes on wind power, and solar panels… instead of relying on ‘fossil fuel’ entities to keep him ‘comfortable..?? Are these people truly that dumb, or are they ‘getting a cut’??

  9. Amazing,since all I read about Dutch energy is about how they are gettin a lot of their energy from offshore windmills. They carefully phrase their claims by stating that the newest (and nearly the world’s biggest offshore windfarm) can provide all the power that their trains need , which they say is about the same as the power requirements for all of Amsterdam’s houses (not city). As per usual,the wind folks never really say how much that amounts to. So why are they buying all this coal? Of course, predicting so much wind and getting so much wind are two different things.
    And obviously their claim that their trains are getting all of their power from wind is a stupid claim to make. I see that the Dutch are traditionalists – they are using 19th century power technology.

    • Can the Dutch keep the sea out without coal? Some years ago there was discussion about their success, Louisiana investigating, but they have a larger subsidence problem. Even some Dutch engineers were concerned; they may be good, but the sea usually ultimately wins, despite how good they may be with windmills.

  10. What is the quality of the coal being exported from the US?
    In the 1990’s environmental regulations meant to stop the burning of high sulphur coals, deemed non-compliance coal, led to USA importing low sulphur coal from the other side of the world in order to blend with the high sulphur coal, the blend then becoming compliance coal. I wouldn’t have thought there would be an excess of compliance coal available for export.

    • Quick info update. A lot of the US high sulfur coal was from Indiana and Illinois mines since shut. The main low sulfur (sub bituminous) coal now comes from inexpensive strip mines in Utah’s Powder River Basin. Seams are up to 30 meters thick, and overburden is less than 30 meters. Most exported steam coal is from there. Exported met coal (anthracite) still comes from Appalachia (Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky).

      • Ristvan, thanks for the update.
        At the time US was importing low sulphur coal, despite similar mine gate prices, similar low sulphur coal from Indonesia to that from the Powder River Basin was able to be landed at East Coast and Gulf ports at a lower price than that which had to be railed and barged all the way from Wyoming such the freight advantage of bulk ships. Indonesia still has huge reserves of such coal, but increasingly a higher proportion of production has to be directed for domestic consumption.

  11. I googled” Resurgence of US Coal”.
    As well as seeing this WUWT post, I noticed “US Coal industry to decline even further in 2017:IEEFA” a report dated Jan 19, 2017.
    The report at ‘’ says that there is no relief in sight despite the change in US Administration in Washington!
    It further highlights the economic factors including the then declining price of coking coal.
    ” Fake” news or an accurate survey?
    I doubt we will see any update detailing a 58% increase in US coal exports in the first quarter of 2017.
    Misleading by omission?

    • The 58% increase in coal exports in Q1 2016 is from the US Energy Information Administration. It’s not a forecast. It’s what happened.
      Most, if not all, of the “forecasts” for coal are of doom and gloom. That’s unlikely to change.
      The reality is that the coal industry has become “leaner and meaner” and global demand for coal will remain strong for many decades to come…

      Coal exports for the first quarter of 2017 were 58% higher than in the same quarter last year, with steam coal exports increasing by 6 million short tons (MMst). Coal producers that have completed bankruptcy reorganizations and companies that purchased bankrupt assets have increased both exports and production in 2017. EIA expects growth in coal exports to slow in the coming months, with exports for all of 2017 forecast at 72 MMst, 11 MMst (19%) above the 2016 level. The increase in coal exports contributes to an expected 8% increase in coal production in 2017.

  12. One thing that amazes me on all this “Coal is dying, on the way out!” rhetoric from the media and the Left is that it is just like all the “$4 dollar a gallon gasoline is permanent, and you’d better start getting ready for $5 and $6 dollar a gallon gasoline within the next few years” that we were hearing in 2012. GM’s management had even announced that they were of the position that 4 dollar a gallon gasoline would be the new normal, and only keep increasing from there. People were saying we had reached peak oil. And then it all crashed and the price came down.
    Which is typical of commodities markets. They go through cycles of boom and bust all the time. Right now coal is likely in a bust cycle, from which it will come back from. They say natural gas is killing coal. What makes them think natural gas won’t see a rise in prices that leads to coal becoming the cheaper alternative in the near future, and natural gas then struggling?
    No one can know for sure the economics of this stuff, so to say that coal is dying, natural gas is killing it, and wind and solar are the energy sources of the future holds about as much water as a pasta strainer.

  13. Some fun with numbers:
    Tesla battery 60kwh
    2 gallons of gasoline 66 kWh
    Barrel of oil 1600 kWh
    Ton of coal 8000 kwh
    2 gallons of gasoline $5
    Barrel of oil $50
    Ton of coal $50
    Tesla battery $10000

  14. More fun with numbers
    Tesla battery $10000
    Lithium ion cycle limit 1000
    Battery cost per cycle $10
    Tesla battery. Capacity 60 kwh
    $10 of gasoline 132 kwh
    Even if electricity was free, it is cheaper to use gasoline than electricity in a car.

    • Why would anyone even think that Rick Perry’s DOE was contemplating increasing regulations on natural gas to boost coal? Only liberals and socialists think that way.

      • Many people think that since it is cheap gas causing the close of US coal power plants and coal power plants use most US coal, unless someone reigns back on the gas industry, coal power plants continue to close.
        A string of coal power plant closures has been announced since Trump took office…
        Deregulation is going to do little if anything to increase coal use since it won’t help keep coal power plants open.
        I suppose increased gas exports might raise the price of gas and make gas power plants less attractive… but how far would that have to go before coal looked remotely attractive and more coal plant was built?
        and if gas prices go up, US electric costs go up (and it would be years before new coal plant could produce power)

        • There’s no need for new coal power plants. The existing ones just need to be run at 85% instead of 40% of capacity and the rate of plant closures will subside.
          There’s no need to “rein in” gas. Gas is currently at $3/mcf. Existing coal plants are competitive above $2.50/mcf. Supply and demand will drive natural gas to $4-5/mcf over the next 5-10 years. This will have a minimal effect on electricity rates; but it will keep more coal burning in existing coal-fired plants.
          In 2040, the world will still be generating more electricity from coal than wind & solar combined.

  15. That may just be a port of entry influence on the trade data and not end market measure.

  16. Maybe it will take more US gas exports to put the nail in the coffin of clear cutting US forests for wood pellet exports to the UK power plants. If you can’t get them to think straight on policy then put them out of business with price pressure from other angles.

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