Coal production in the US is expected to decrease between 2015 and 2020 after a solid performance in 2014, when the industry was the second biggest global producer and accounted for 12.9% of the world production, says a GlobalData report.
Coal production is predicted to be 823.7Mt in 2020, indicating a fall from 906.6Mt in 2014.
Coal consumption has been on the slide with 831.8Mt in 2014, a decrease of 0.8Mt from the previous year.
Entitled 'Coal Mining in the US to 2020', the report summarises the effect cheaper and cleaner alternate energy sources have on coal consumption and production. The country's power sector is the biggest coal consumer followed by the industrial sector with reported shares of 92.8% and 7.2% ,respectively in the total consumption.
Consumption is expected to further drop to 732.3Mt in 2020 due to climate regulations being stricter and also ensuing competition from cheaper alternatives. However, the report analyses that coal will remain a key contributor to fulfilling the US's energy needs even though its share in the electricity generation mix will suffer a slight drop by 2020 to 37%.
A slowdown in exports was also witnessed in 2014, with the total down by 4.3% at 102.1Mt. The main export centres were Norfolk port in Virginia, Mobile port in Alabama, Baltimore in Maryland, New Orleans in Louisiana, and Seattle in Washington.
With 237.3bn tonne (Bnt) of proven coal reserves, the US accounted for 26.6% of the total global reserves in 2014. In 2014, 60.7% of the total coal produced was from the country's biggest mining companies, including Peabody Energy Corporation (Peabody), Arch Coal, Inc (ACI), Cloud Peak Energy Inc (Cloud Peak), Alpha Natural Resources Inc (Alpha), Consol Energy Inc (CONSOL Energy), and Walter Energy Inc.