EIA Revises Projections for US Coal Exports Downward

By Editor


The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has revised its projections for U.S. coal exports downward, attributing the adjustment to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and the consequential closure of the Port of Baltimore. This information was disclosed in the April Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) report released by the agency.

According to the updated forecasts, U.S. coal exports for April are expected to decrease by 33 percent, while those for May are projected to decline by 20 percent compared to previous estimates. Initially, the EIA had anticipated a modest 1 percent increase in coal exports for the year 2024. However, with the current situation, the agency now foresees a significant 6 percent decrease from the 2023 export levels.

Joe DeCarolis, the Administrator of the EIA, remarked on the uncertainty surrounding the timeline for the reopening of the port and the potential challenges exporters might face in redirecting shipments through alternative ports.

“We expect U.S. coal exports to recover toward the end of the summer or early fall, but there is significant uncertainty based on the timeline for the port reopening and how quickly exporters can adjust to export through alternative ports,” Joe DeCarolis said in a news statement.

The Port of Baltimore stands as the second-largest hub for coal exports in the nation, accounting for 28 percent of total coal exports in 2023. Its closure has evidently impacted the nation’s coal export capabilities.

Aside from the coal export scenario, the April STEO also highlighted other significant points:

Liquid Fuels: Global demand for liquid fuels is expected to hit nearly 103 million barrels per day in 2024, a figure around 500,000 barrels per day higher than previously anticipated. This revision follows the release of the International Energy Statistics for 2022, which indicated higher global liquid fuels consumption than initially estimated.

Natural Gas: With U.S. natural gas inventory nearly 40 percent higher than the average at the end of March, there’s an expectation of setting a record high for natural gas storage by October 2024. This surge is attributed to a relatively warm winter and anticipations of increased summer inventory.

Electricity Consumption: U.S. electricity consumption is forecasted to increase across all sectors in 2024, with the residential sector showing the highest growth rate. The warmer-than-average summer expected for 2024 is anticipated to drive up electricity usage, primarily due to increased air conditioning usage.

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