ACI’s Bituminous Thermal Segment Faces Pricing Pressure in 2Q15



ACI’s bituminous thermal segment

Arch Coal’s (ACI) Bituminous Thermal coal segment sold 1.9 million tons in 2Q15 compared to 2.0 million tons in 2Q14. Weak natural gas prices were the key driver behind the drop in shipments year-on-year.

However, shipments came in higher than 1Q15’s 1.6 million tons. In 1H15, the segment shipped 3.5 million tons of thermal coal compared to 4.2 million in 1H14.

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The price per ton for ACI’s bituminous thermal coal in 2Q15 came in at $30.37, down from 2Q14’s $31.34 and 1Q15’s $33.42. The lower pricing was according to terms of contracts with customers. Weak natural gas prices put tremendous pressure on thermal coal spot prices in 2Q15, leading to the drop in pricing.

The segment’s average pricing for 1H15 came in at $31.76 per ton, higher than 1H14’s $29.97, due to better pricing in 1Q15 on the back of high natural gas prices in winter.

Bituminous thermal segment

Arch Coal’s (ACI) Western Bituminous Region includes the West Elk mine in Colorado and the Viper mine in the Illinois Basin. The Viper mine produces thermal coal with a high sulfur content, which is used in power plants equipped with scrubbers to prevent sulfur dioxide emissions that cause acid rains.

Many coal producers (KOL) operate in Illinois alongside Arch Coal, including Peabody Energy (BTU), Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP), Natural Resource Partners (NRP), and Hallador Energy (HNRG).


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