US coal producer Alliance Resource Partners’ sales jumped by nearly 24pc in the second quarter on a surge in exports and better than expected domestic utility demand.
Alliance sold 10.5mn short tons (9.5mn metric tonnes) of coal from April-June, up from 8.47mn st a year earlier, the company said.
Alliance last quarter made agreements to ship another 4.6mn st of exports over the next 12-18 months. For all of 2018, export sales are expected to reach about 11.1mn st. The company also booked an additional 8.9mn st of coal to be delivered to domestic customers through 2021.
“We are now essentially sold out for our planned production in 2018, Alliance chief executive Joseph Craft said.
At the same time, weather-related transportation delays in the first quarter also shifted 1.4mn st of volumes from the first three months of the year to April-June.
“Looking ahead, we anticipate market condition should remain favorable for both domestic and international coal demand,” Craft said. US utilities’ coal inventories are about 15pc lower than they were a year earlier, which has driven more customers in to the market for deliveries this year and beyond. At the same time, export markets “remain attractive.”
Alliance has 10.4mn st of thermal coal under contract to ship internationally this year and 3.1mn st for 2019, Craft said. It also has 725,000st of metallurgical coal committed to export this year.
The company maintained its total sales outlook for this year at 40.3mn-41.3mn st. It also now has volume and price commitments for approximately 24.7mn st of coal in 2019, 16mn st in 2020 and 6.7mn st in 2021.
The company still expects to produce between 40mn st and 41mn st this year.
Alliance produced 9.7mn st during the second quarter, up by nearly 3pc compared with the same period last year. Alliance was able to increase output by restarting operations at the Gibson North mine in Indiana. It brought one continuous mining unit back into operation at the mine during the second quarter, and expects another unit to start production by the fourth quarter of 2018.
The company’s biggest increase in sales last quarter was in the Illinois basin, which climbed to 7.82mn st from 6.1mn st in the second quarter of last year. Appalachian coal sales rose by nearly 13pc over the same period to 2.67mn st.
The average sales price for all of Alliance’s coal rose to $45.38/st from $45.15/st a year earlier. Expenses per ton also increased by nearly 6pc to $29.73/st, primarily as a result of difficult mining conditions at several Illinois basin mines, and the Tunnel Ridge mine in Appalachia, the company said.
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- On July 31, 2018