Thursday, August 13, 2009
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
Coal supplies at U.S. power plants grew 0.07 percent this week from last week and were 29.2 percent greater than the same week of 2008 as the recession and mild weather cut consumption, Genscape said Tuesday. Generators had 177 million tons of coal on hand, compared with 176.8 million tons last Tuesday and 137 million tons the same week last year, the power industry data provider said.
U.S. generators as of Tuesday had an average of 67 days' supply of coal, assuming typical burn rates. That is one more than last week's available coal-burn capacity, according to Genscape.
As of Tuesday, power plants had 15 more days' supply than the same week last year. That was equal to last week's cushion over 2008 stockpiles, the data showed.
Genscape partly attributed the rare weekly coal-supply increase in summer - the second this year - to weakened Powder River Basin producer discipline leading to increased shipments in an oversupplied market.
A mild summer and a slumping economy are weighing on demand for electricity and coal, and plentiful cheap gas is replacing coal as the generator fuel of choice, causing stockpiles to bulge, Genscape said.
"If the winter also proves mild, the huge gas surplus will continue to weigh on the coal market, further delaying the draw-down of coal stocks," the data provider said.
U.S. coal stockpiles usually grow in the spring and fall, when mild weather eases cooling or heating demand. Stockpiles typically shrink during summer or winter, which tend to boost power consumption for air-conditioning or heating.
Mathematical rounding sometimes affects the results, overstating some changes and understating others, Genscape has said.