EIA spot prices for natural gas, coal head in opposite directions

The latest benchmark prices posted by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) for natural gas and coal appear to be headed in opposite directions, according to data released June 1.

The New York Mercantile Exchange (Nymex) energy futures prices for July delivery of natural gas and coal were listed at $2.29/mmBtu and $39.83/ton respectively. 

That appears to be one of the higher natural gas spot prices and lowest spot coal prices recorded so far this year. The spot gas price was 5.5% higher than the spot gas price reported the day before while the coal price was 11.1% lower than the price listed the prior business day.

As recently as May 27, spot gas was at $1 .96/mmBtu and spot coal was at $44.80/ton respectively.

It should be noted that there is comparatively little trading of coal on the Nymex spot market.

The spot gas price represents gas delivered to the Henry Hub in Louisiana. The spot coal price represents Central Appalachian coal (minimum 12,000 Btu/lb).

Coal production for the week ended May 21 was an estimated 11.7 million tons, which is actually 333,000 tons more than the prior week. Coal production was down, however, by more than 4.3 million tons compared to the same week in 2015, according to the EIA data.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.