The COVID-19 Pandemic negatively impacted West Virginia coal production, driving state production levels to their lowest since 1911. The economic disruption caused by the pandemic affected every segment of the domestic and international energy market.
Compared to 2019, Thermal coal shipments from West Virginia to domestic utility companies fell by -30% (-14.3m tons) as national electric generation levels declined by almost 3%. In the primary markets for West Virginia thermal coal, generation declined by over -4%, and output from the Mid-Atlantic and Central Industrial regions fell by -4 .5% from 2019 levels.
International thermal coal shipments dropped year-over-year almost -53% (-8.4m tons).
Domestic metallurgical coal shipments fell by -21%, as U.S. iron and steel production declined almost -18% (-17m tons) and domestic furnace capacity utilization fell to near record lows during the pandemic (as low as -51%). Cumulatively, U.S. iron and steel production capacity is off -15.5% from 2019.
International metallurgical coal shipments declined -36% (-7.8m tons) as global steel production fell -14% from 2019 levels. Excluding China, global steel output is off 100m tons from 2019.
Compared to 2019, state production levels were down 33.6%, with production from Northern Appalachian region of the state declining by 31.2% and Central Appalachian production falling by 36.4%. U.S. coal production is off -24% from 2019, with production in the Appalachian region down by -28.%, production from the Interior region is off by -29.2% and the production is down in the Western region by -23.7%. Production from the entire Northern Appalachian thermal coal region is down -28% from 2019. Implied national met production is off -27.4% from the previous year.