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Energy / Coal

  • The 3 Most Important Numbers in Energy

    The Insider’s weekly run-down of critical figures and happenings from around the energy world.$200 million. Amount major energy private equity player Riverstone Holdings is investing into unconventional plays in western Canada, through an equity stake in privately-held Canadian International Oil Corp. Canadian International is focused on the emerging Montney and Duvernay plays of the Canadian Deep Basin. An area that has recently seen a surge of development for both oil and liquids-rich gas.   The firm was founded in 2010 and holds an extensive land package totaling nearly 400,000 acres.20. Number of new offshore exploration licenses awarded by former pariah nation…

  • U.S. Shale Means Cheap Coal for British Economy

    British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday his government would do what it could to help the country's largest coal producer, U.K. Coal, stay afloat. It's been struggling in part because the U.S. shale boom is causing coal companies to export more to overseas markets. Two years ago, U.K. Coal was producing more than 30 percent of the British coal supply. It started having financial problems last year and this week said it may be forced to close two of the last three deep pit mines in the country. Cameron told the BBC "there are things we can do" to help save…

  • Coal’s Comeback Year Runs into Trouble

    The U.S. coal industry is expected to have a comeback year in 2014, regaining some of the ground it lost in the electric power industry over the last 3 years or so. Low-cost natural gas shoved aside the coal industry, which has been plagued by rising costs and increasingly stringent environmental regulations. But the run up in natural gas prices since 2012 – especially since the beginning of 2014 – provides an economic lifeline for struggling coal businesses. Coal can compete once again, at least for the time being.That may be true as far as the economics go. But the…

  • This Event Signals A Coal Boom Coming

    There are exactly two ways to succeed in investing.First, be a visionary. Look at the data everyone else is puzzling over and see something they don't. Then translate this into profitable trades ahead of the masses.Or, be an explorer. Seek out far-afield information beyond the eyes of most casual observers. You then don't need any special insight to beat the herd--when you know something no one else does, even the simplest findings become unique insight.You just have to know where to look.That strategy is going to pay off handsomely for the few investors who've lately been following one of the…

  • Coal Industry in Structural Decline

    Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI) reported a big loss for the fourth quarter of 2013, its eighth straight. The numbers came in lower than many analysts expected and the company continues to struggle amid declining revenues.  Arch posted a loss of $0.45 per share with revenues of $719.4 million. Part of the blame, according to Arch, was from a rail outage in the Powder River Basin and “geological” problems in Appalachia, which contributed to lower revenues. With coal demand slumping, Arch Coal’s stock price has been in freefall since 2011. It closed at $4.01 on February 3, down from the pre-recession…

  • Why Coal will Remain the Basis of Electricity Generation for Most of the World

    As the President moves further into his second term, he appears to be growing more willing to tackle the concerns that his supporters have over projected Climate Change over the next century. Given the makeup of the Congress it is likely that this will be through additional regulation and Executive orders. There have been a number of reports that have documented the projected costs of climate change. Some of these have been relatively modest in statement. The Copenhagen Consensus Center, for example, noted:Climate change is real and man-made. It will come as a big surprise that climate change from 1900…

  • Chinese Regulator Warns about Credit Risks of Coal Companies

    Coal prices in China declined by 16% in 2013 as the economy cooled and the government stepped up efforts to curtail air pollution, according to Bloomberg. China is the largest producer and consumer of coal and burns as much coal as the rest of the world combined.  Coal represents 70% of China’s electricity generation, but the government set a goal of reducing that share to 65% by this year, accelerating it from its original 2017 target.China’s GDP expanded at a 7.7% annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2013, a pace that is relatively consistent over two years.  The Chinese…

  • Report Says Clean Coal Tech Not Present-Day Reality

    A new report compiled in consultation with the White House and a pool of clean-energy experts suggests that clean-coal technology is too embryonic to use as a base for America’s new climate change rules for power plants. The report, released Tuesday, follows the release earlier this month of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)  proposed new carbon emissions standards for power plants, which would make it impossible for new coal-fired plants to be built without the implementation of carbon capture and sequestration technology, otherwise known as “clean-coal” tech, which is still in its early days.   Related article: DOE Funds Carbon…

  • DOE Funds Carbon Capture Project Amid Fight Over Future of Coal

    On January 16, 2014 the U.S. Department of Energy approved $1 billion in funding for a carbon capture and sequestration project in Meredosia, Illinois. The so-called FutureGen 2.0 project is a major pilot project supported by DOE to demonstrate the efficacy of capturing greenhouse gas pollution from coal-fired power plants and storing it underground. The remaining cost of the project will need to be taken on by private industry.The project is part of the Obama administration’s commitment to “clean coal,” which it argues will provide a pathway forward for the coal industry despite the high costs. The move comes at…

  • Reports of Coal’s Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

    I have pilfered from him before, and I will no doubt pilfer again. For Mark Twain is an excellent source of inspiration. Apparently, he said something along the lines of  ’reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated‘ in relation to a misinformed newspaper article about one of his relatives. Regardless, it has been ringing in my ears recently as I have been reading about coal. For despite the anthracitical fuel being the red-headed stepchild of the energy complex, talk of its demise would appear misplaced. I present my case henceforth.1) Coal has historically been, and is currently, the leading…