Insider Secrets

Insider Secrets

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Energy / Coal

  • Coal Facing Worst Year Yet in 2015

    2015 is shaping up to be a fateful year for the coal industry. After coal prices tumbled from their highs in 2011, the industry hit a rough patch. Years of buildup in mining capacity hit the markets at the same time, sending prices crashing. By the beginning of 2014, things were looking pretty grim. But optimists hoped it would be merely temporary; a supply glut that would ease once demand picked up. However, demand has not been nearly as strong as expected. The US has been moving away from coal for a few years now, with cheap natural gas, more…

  • China Gaining Influence In This Key Emerging Coal Market

    Another bank, Credit Agricole, voted this week to stop financing coal mining. Suggesting this is becoming a space with little competition for investment -- and perhaps therefore considerable opportunity.Like the newly opening coal fields of Kenya. Where this week the government awarded two new exploration blocks -- just the second and third ever offered in the country.Kenya's energy and petroleum ministry said Tuesday it has chosen developers for the so-called A and B blocks of the Mui Basin, in the country's eastern region.Related: China Builds Influence In Latin America As Commodity Prices TankThe two coal licenses will go to a consortium…

  • Coal Is Doomed Even If It Wins Against EPA In Courts

    The controversy over the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan has become the latest chapter in the chronicle of President Obama’s so-called ‘war on coal’. The plan promises many things, chief among them the health and climate benefits accrued by switching to cleaner burning fuels. But a case before the DC Circuit Court has the potential to derail the plan before it even comes into effect, with implications for US coal producers and the national clean energy debate.The new regulations have their critics, led by coal companies and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- KY), who has personally urged the…

  • The Latest Casualty In Energy’s Hardest Hit Industry

    Another coal company bites the dust. Again.Patriot Coal, a miner of coal in several Appalachian states, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 12. Patriot said it is “in active negotiations for the sale of substantially all of the Company's operating assets to a strategic partner.”The move comes just a year and a half after the company emerged from its previous bankruptcy. At the time, some secured creditors received repayments, but shareholders bore the brunt of the restructuring.The initial bankruptcy came as Patriot struggled with high costs during a downturn in the coal industry. But after the company came up…

  • David V. Goliath: Small-Cap Tech To Save Giant Coal

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new mercury pollution regulations that took effect last month opened the flood gates for a new multi-billion-dollar energy industry that has investors scrambling to get in on second-generation technology poised for massive revenue gains.When the EPA measures to curb mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants over 25 megawatts took effect on 16 April, it wasn’t only environmentalists who were popping the champagne corks—technology companies specializing in mercury remediation broke out the glasses as well.After all, the new regulations created a $2 billion-a-year, federally mandated business for them virtually overnight. These Federal regulations add a further…

  • Coal Markets May Just Have Been Thrown A Lifeline

    There have been rumors the last few months. And last week we got confirmation of a major shift underway in one of the world's biggest bulk commodities. That's thermal coal. Where it looks as if the world's largest supplier -- Indonesia -- is on the verge of a collapse in output. Related: Warren Buffett Betting Big On Wind Energy In Nebraska Reuters quoted Pandu Sjahrir, the chairman of the Indonesian Coal Mining Association, as confirming that the country's coal producers are now cutting back output in a major way. With Sjahrir saying that overall Indonesian production could drop to between…

  • Is The Coal Market Finally Capitulating?

    If you're a coal investor, there's one piece of data you need to see this week. New production figures from world-leading exporter Indonesia. Data released by the Indonesian government this week showed a huge drop in mine output for the first quarter. With overall coal production falling 21% as compared to the first quarter of 2014.Related: The Real History Of Fracking That equates to a loss of 27 million tons of coal supply. Suggesting that Indonesia's overall output could fall by around 100 million tons this year. That's a critical observation for the global coal market. Being the first major drop…

  • This One Nation Could Provide Hope For Coal Markets This Year

    The India coal situation keeps getting more interesting. With national regulators this week announcing they’re going to need a lot more supply this coming year. India’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA) said this week that it will raise imports by 35% for the coming fiscal year (April 1 to March 31). With total shipments jumping to 73 million tons, up from 54 million tons in fiscal 2014-15. The increased imports will be allocated amongst a number of India’s coal consumers in the power sector. Including state generating giant NTPC, which will be allowed to import 22 million tons. Other coal importers…

  • Coal is Dying; Avoid These Companies

    We have all heard about the doom and gloom that the U.S. coal sector is facing – a double-whammy of abundant supplies of cheap shale gas coupled with the regulatory noose that the Environmental Protection Agency is continuously tightening around the industry. Together these two forces are undermining the economics of coal. Although the projections for the U.S. coal industry seem to get worse by the month, such a trend is not really news. But what is news is the emerging realization that globally the outlook is not much better. Coal executives used to insist that while the U.S. is…

  • This Struggling Commodity Is Still Booming In One Part Of The World

    As I discussed last week, the commentary around the global coal business has been doom and gloom lately. But few investors recognize that the market is booming in one part of the world: India. Local statistics released this week show that the Indian coal story is still very much going strong. With the current year yielding double-digit growth in demand. Reuters interviewed India's Coal Secretary Anil Swarup on Tuesday. With the Secretary noting that India's coal imports are likely to come in at 200 million tons for the fiscal year ended March 31.Related: Oil Markets Blow Yemen Crisis Out Of Proportion…