The coal production information presented below is based on weekly data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) and weekly coal transportation data collected by the Association of American Railroads and U.S. Inland Waterways Association. Production information will be revised when actual, mine-specific data is released by the federal Mine Safety & Health Administration (March) and the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety & Training (June). Coal distribution / coal quality data is based on information collected by EIA on Form 923 for domestic thermal coal shipments (October, annualized for the full year), EIA’s monthly survey of electric generation and coal stockpiles (October annualized for the full year), EIA’s quarterly coal distribution report (3rd quarter of 2021 annualized to full year) and coal export data collected by the U.S. Commerce Department (November annualized for the full year). Domestic and export metallurgical coal data is based on the weekly production reports from EIA, the agency’s Quarterly Coal Distribution reports and year end preliminary information on steel production, coke oven capacity rates and steel furnace capacity utilization complied by the American Iron and Steel Institute and Word Steel Association. *NOTE: final production figures usually have a +/- 1.5-to-2-million-ton variation from preliminary estimates. For 2021, the variation may be higher based on coal stockpile conservation measures that were implemented by several electric grid Independent System Operators (ISOs) in late October that were in place for the remainder of 2021 and Appalachian coal export disruptions that occurred in November and December of 2021.*
West Virginia’s total coal production increased from 2020 by +18.47, increasing from 69.3m tons to 82.2m tons. Production from the state’s Northern Appalachian region increased by +23% (+8.8m tons) from last year. Production from the Central Appalachian region of the state increased by +12.7% (3.9m tons) compared to 2020. West Virginia’s production of thermal or steam coal increased by +26.9% (+10.7m tons) from 2020. Metallurgical coal production in West Virginia increased by +6.9% (+2m tons) compared to last year. Domestic thermal coal shipments from West Virginia increased by +24.6% compared to last year. West Virginia’s export thermal coal shipments increased by +39.5% compared to 2020. Domestic metallurgical coal deliveries from West Virginia increased from 2020 by +4.9%. Export metallurgical coal shipments from West Virginia increased by +8% from 2020.
Total U.S. coal production was up +8.2% compared to 2020: +14.2% from the Appalachian region, +5.6% from the Interior coal basin and +6.2% from the Western coal region.
Domestic production of iron and steel increased +19.2% (+15m tons) compared to 2020. Cumulative steel furnace capacity utilization in 2021 was +19.8% higher than 2020.
Total U.S. electric generation was +3% higher in 2021 compared to 2020. Output in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions was up +3.5% compared to 2020. Generation in the Central Industrial region was +3.5% higher than in 2020.
Total U.S. rail traffic increased by +3.6% in 2021 compared to 2020: Coal carloads +8.6%, steel raw materials and finished steel +19.6% and auto making and finished auto carloads were down -2.6%.