Powder River Basin spot coal prices
For the week ending September 9, 2016, PRB (Powder River Basin) spot coal prices came in at $10.50 per ton, which is marginally lower than the previous week’s $10.65 per ton.
The Powder River Basin, which is located in Wyoming and Montana, is the largest coal-producing region in the United States. It accounts for almost half of the total coal output in the United States. It also represents the lowest cost thermal coal-producing region in the world.
Illinois Basin coal prices
ILB (Illinois Basin) coal prices remained unchanged at $32.00 per ton on a week-over-week basis, which represents a multiyear low. The ILB, which is located in Illinois, Ohio, and Western Kentucky, produces high sulfur coal. Notably, ILB coal became competitive with coal from the neighboring Appalachian region. Power plants installed scrubbers to soak up sulfur, which contributes to acid rain.
Peabody Energy, Natural Resources Partners (NRP), and Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) are major players that operate in the region. Utilities (XLU) such as Southern Company (SO) and Tennessee Valley Authority use ILB coal.
Coal prices in the Appalachian region
During the week ending September 9, 2016, Central Appalachian coal prices came in at $40.00 per ton, as compared to $40.50 per ton at the end of the previous week. By comparison, North Appalachian coal prices remained at $42.35 per ton.
The Appalachian region, which is located in the Eastern United States, is the oldest coal-producing region in the country. Of all the coal-producing regions, the Appalachian region is affected most by natural gas price movements. However, because Appalachian coal prices are already down to marginal costs, they show a reduced correlation with natural gas prices.
For related analysis, check out Market Realist’s Energy and Power page.