Rebecca Smith had a fascinating story in the Wall Street Journal Yesterday about evolving
methods of estimating coal reserves. Recently, coal reserve estimates have been revised downward after considering economic factors, such as the coal-price at which extraction is profitable while still ensuring coal is competitive with other fuels.
The story is noteworthy for the rich assortment of data points it contains, which really give the story depth and context. Below is a sample of some of these data points.
Ms. Smith crushed this story. A must read for folks interested in coal, fossil fuels, or the energy sector generally.
|Years the U.S. coal reserve will last (EIA)||240|
|Years the U.S. coal reserve will last (David Rutledge, C.I.T)||120|
|Annual U.S. coal production||1.1 billion tons|
|Amount production is expected to drop in 2009||up to 100 million tons|
|Coal prices||$8.50 a ton for coal from Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, down 30% from last year|
|Share of U.S. coal produced by Arch Coal Inc.||12%|
|Amount of coal that leaves the Gillette coal field at Powder River each day||1.2 million short tons, filling more than 75 trains of 125 to 150 cars each|
|Coal reserves in Gillette field||201 billion short tons|
|Recoverabe coal reserves in Gillette field||77 billion short tons|