Foresight Expects Strong Export Steam Export in 20

Foresight Energy expects to sell at least a third of its Illinois steam coal production, perhaps more, into the export market in 2018 after such sales accounted for 33% of the 5.24 million tons the St. Louis- based company sold in the first quarter this year.

Two primary motivations behind the higher export sales are low natural gas prices domestically and higher sales price realizations from shipping coal overseas as opposed to marketing it in the United States, Robert D. Moore, Foresight president and CEO, said.

The company reaffirmed projected coal sales volumes of 21.5 million to 22.8 million tons this year, with at least 7 million tons destined for export. “We have 6.7 million tons contracted for the export market with the possibility of increasing that to 9 million tons to the export market for the full year,” Moore said.

Moore said he has seen a “decent amount” of domestic requests for proposals for steam coal this year “and a movement upward in the price of Illinois Basin coal, a positive move as it relates to folks being more disciplined and recognizing there is a tightening as to the availability of coal for the remainder of this year.”

The export market, he noted, “has pulled a lot of volume out of the domestic market.” Currently, Foresight is seeing prices for its coal in the high $30s to mid-$40s per ton. The company reported average first-quarter coal sales of $45.49/ton, down 3.2% from the prior quarter but up 5.5% from a year ago.

Foresight produced 5.67 million tons in the January-March period from its three longwall mines in Illinois, a 14.4% increase from the 4.96 million tons it turned out in the first quarter of 2017.

As featured in Womp 2018 Vol 07 -