Coal producer Peabody Energy agrees to amend its disclosures

Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), the largest U.S. coal producer, announced Nov. 9 that it has reached a resolution with the New York Attorney General’s office regarding the company’s disclosures involving climate change.

Following an extensive eight-year investigation initially discussed in the company’s 2007 disclosures, Peabody has agreed to amend its disclosures. There is no other action associated with this settlement, no admission or denial of wrongdoing and no financial penalty. The company said it has always sought to make appropriate disclosures. Subsequent disclosures evolve over time, and the most recent disclosures planned for the company’s third quarter 2015 Form 10-Q address the matters raised by the New York Attorney General.  

Through the agreement, the company agreed to modifications in its financial disclosures centering around two primary areas:

  • The use of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook scenarios. Peabody said it has long cited IEA’s World Energy Outlook regarding global energy scenarios. In the future, the company has agreed to enhance its disclosure around all the published scenarios when referencing IEA’s World Energy Outlook. 
  • The ability of the company to estimate impacts from prospective future laws or regulations. The company has previously stated that it cannot predict the impact of potential laws or regulations on Peabody due to the uncertainty surrounding those predictions. Nonetheless, the company has agreed that any future statements concerning the difficulty of making particular projections or predictions shall be accompanied by a statement that Peabody has made projections of the impact of scenarios involving certain potential laws and regulations relating to climate change or coal, which could result in materially adverse effects on its markets or company. To evaluate risks and allocate capital, Peabody has examined the potential impact of hypothetical future laws on coal markets.

Moving forward, Peabody said it believes that technology is the bridge to a low-emissions future for a world experiencing rising electricity demand to satisfy urbanization and offer a higher quality of life. Peabody has been among the most vocal companies worldwide in advocating clean coal technologies, including greater deployment of high-efficiency low-emissions coal-fueled plants and development of next-generation carbon capture, use and storage technologies. 

Peabody has been involved in major global initiatives to reduce carbon emissions for nearly two decades. Among other current activities, Peabody is:

  • The only non-Chinese equity partner in GreenGen, a 250-NW integrated gasification combined cycle power plant in Tianjin, China. GreenGen is expected to increase generation to 650 MW in later stages and plans to add CO2 capture for enhanced oil recovery;
  • A founding member of the China and U.S. Energy Cooperation Program pursuing clean energy;
  • A founding member of the Consortium for Clean Coal Utilization advancing coal and energy research at Washington University in St. Louis;
  • A founding member of the COAL 21 Fund in Australia supporting technology research and demonstration, and a founding member of the Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute in Canberra, which has a mandate of developing carbon capture projects.

St. Louis-based Peabody Energy is the world’s largest private-sector coal company and a global leader in sustainable mining, energy access and clean coal solutions. The company serves metallurgical and thermal coal customers in more than 25 countries on six continents.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.