Drop in Imports from China Depresses Coal Prices; Indonesian Miners Seeking Other Markets

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Deepak Kannan in Platts Coal Trader International: Several large Indonesian thermal coal miners continue to forecast stable to higher production targets for 2016 despite weakening demand in both India and China, putting downward pressure on prices.Indonesian coal suppliers have been hit by a significant drop in Chinese imports of thermal coal and increasing domestic output in India.“China import demand for the thermal coal is expected to continue to decline over the medium term,” said Tim Buckley, director of Energy Finance Studies at the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. Coal production in China fell about 6.8% in the first four months of 2016 from the same period last year, while thermal power generation was down 3.2% over the same period.“All are very negative trends in terms of falling demand from China, and a likely increase in China looking at export opportunities,” Buckley said.China, which produces about 4 billion mt/year of coal, lowered its export tax to 3% from 10% early last year, fueling speculation the country might look to become a net exporter in the near to medium term.Global seaborne thermal coal demand is seen declining 25% by 2020 from 2014 peak volumes, Buckley noted.Goldman Sachs analysts expect seaborne trade to contract by 10% over 2015-2020.Indian imports fell about 19% year on year in the first four months of 2016. For fiscal year 2015-2016, Indian imports, including metallurgical and thermal coal, were down 15% to 182 million mt.“IEEFA expects Indian import demand for thermal coal to continue to decline at 10-20% year on year rates over the coming year, considering the comments from NTPC Ltd, the biggest user of coal in India, saying they will not import any thermal coal in next 12 months,” Buckley noted.Full article: http://www.platts.com/latest-news/coal/singapore/analysis-large-indonesian-coal-miners-to-maintain-27582801 Drop in Imports from China Depresses Coal Prices; Indonesian Miners Seeking Other Marketslast_img read more

On the Blogs: Groups Call for U.S. Inquiry Into Utah-Oakland Port Project

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From YubaNet (Nevada City, Calif.):Conservation, health, and good government groups today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for a formal investigation into potential legal and ethical violations in Utah’s extraordinary $53 million taxpayer-funded loan to build a deepwater terminal in Oakland, Calif., to export coal.The letter, which also was addressed to Gregory J. Gould, director of the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, and Mary Kendall, interim Inspector General of the Department of the Interior, cites Utah’s misuse of federal community development funds and the elaborate web of potential conflicts of interest that propelled the scheme through state agency and legislative approval processes with scant public scrutiny.“It’s staggering that the Legislature and Governor were willing to throw tens of millions in taxpayer money at a project so rife with conflicts of interest,” said Michael Shea, Policy associate at HEAL Utah. “It is very clear that someone from the outside should take a careful look at this.”The letter lays out the twists and turns in the decades-long effort to export Utah coal overseas through a Pacific port. Several Utah counties began seeking funding to build transport operations to export coal from mines owned by Bowie Resource Holding Partners as early as 2001. In late 2014, in a deal brokered by Jeffrey Holt, a private investment banker, “strategic infrastructure advisor” to the counties and then-chairman of the Utah Transportation Commission, the counties requested a $53 million loan from Utah’s Community Impact Board to finance the terminal.The Community Impact Board (CIB) is charged with administering proceeds from the royalties to the state under the federal Mineral Leasing Act (MLA). The Act restricts the use of the money to community planning, construction and maintenance of public facilities, and provision of public services to mitigate the adverse impacts of mining on the communities.The Community Impact Board approved the loan, and then, when questions arose about the misuse of funds, the 2016 legislature gave fast-track approval to Senate Bill 246, a procedure designed to evade the Mineral Leasing Act’s funding limitations by swapping state general fund money with Mineral Leasing Act money for the loan.“It is inconceivable that this is an intended or proper use of $53 million of MLA, CIB or taxpayer funds and this appears to represent the worst kind of corporate cronyism that members of the Utah legislature are usually so fond of rallying against,” said Joshua Kanter, Board Chair, of the Alliance for a Better Utah. “Diverting these funds is not only improper but will leave these communities without the money they really need to help them retool their economic base as the coal industry continues its decline. There has been no showing that there is a shortage of available port capacity for Utah coal or that exporting Utah coal to Asia makes economic sense, either of which is easily addressed by the free-market without this shell-game and abuse of the public trust.”Many of the bill’s proponents in the legislature and the governor who signed the bill had received campaign contributions from Bowie, the coal company expected to be the largest beneficiary of the export terminal deal. At the same time, Strategic Infrastructure Advisor Jeffrey Holt and his investment firm could reap millions if the project is completed.“From the very beginning, the proposal to use Utah taxpayer resources to prop up an out-of-state coal export terminal has never had the best interest of Utahns at heart,” said Lindsay Beebe, Utah Organizing Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign. “We need to develop real solutions to help our communities as our state transitions away from coal. Instead, our public officials have shown that they are more eager to hand out political favors than to help Utah communities across the state that deserve our support.”Meanwhile in California, public records and media reports revealed that Holt and port developer Phil Tagami attempted to conceal the plan to ship coal through the Oakland terminal, instead emphasizing that it would be used to ship agricultural products.Many residents near the terminal, who already are burdened by significant air pollution, have vocally opposed coal shipments through their communities due to the environmental and public health impacts.The Oakland City Council is meeting June 27 to consider placing “health and safety” restrictions on the operation of any coal terminal in the city. Utah’s legislation to transfer $53 million in state funds for the project also goes into effect July 1, lending increased urgency to the call for a federal investigation.Under the Mineral Leasing Act, the U.S. Attorney General has broad authority to bring civil or criminal actions when violations are uncovered.The Department of the Interior is charged with investigating and auditing the use of royalties under the act, and has the duty to ensure the integrity and accountability of its programs through the Office of the Inspector General.“SB 246 is a blatant attempt to circumvent the Mineral Leasing Act’s funding limitations,” said Chris Eaton, an attorney with Earthjustice. “The actions of Utah officials demonstrate that additional federal oversight is necessary to prevent this misuse of taxpayer dollars.”The groups hope to meet with Justice and Interior Department officials in the coming weeks to discuss the letter.“The contents of this letter require an external review by several oversight bodies,” said Tom Sanzillo, Director of Finance for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, and former First Deputy Comptroller for New York State. “I spent seventeen years in senior management of local and state government oversight agencies. The economic, fiscal, financial, environmental, governance, ethical and political red flags raised by the State of Utah’s actions are too numerous to ignore.”John Weisheit, co-founder of Living Rivers, added, “The Utah State Legislature and the Community Impact Board are laundering public money through the State Transportation Fund to provide financial assistance to energy corporations, and not to communities where it truly belongs. To bear this behavior from elected and appointed officials to me, as a Utah taxpayer, is embarrassing, and an audit is, at best, a minimalist request that should be honored.”The request for federal investigation is just one part of a multi-pronged effort to protect Oakland from dirty coal shipments. In addition to pressing the Oakland City Council to adopt health and safety regulations for the proposed Oakland coal terminal, Oakland residents and other concerned citizens are supporting legislation pending in the California State Legislature which would require additional environmental review for this type of terminal project and bring more transparency to project funding.“From the start, the plan to use Utah’s community-impact funds to make a risky investment in the coal industry has looked suspicious,” said Aaron Paul, Staff Attorney for Grand Canyon Trust. “We hope that an inquiry by the federal government will help steer those funds back where they belong—in Utah’s communities.”The letter was sent on behalf of Alliance for a Better Utah, HEAL Utah, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, Grand Canyon Trust, Earthjustice (on behalf of Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust), Living Rivers, and The Sloan Law Firm (on behalf of Living Rivers).Read the letter:http://earthjustice.org/sites/default/files/files/FINAL%20letter%20to%20investigate%20CIB%20loan_0.pdfGroups Call for Federal Investigation of Utah Plan to Finance Oakland coal Export Terminal On the Blogs: Groups Call for U.S. Inquiry Into Utah-Oakland Port Projectlast_img read more

Stranded coal assets a major concern for Indian banking sector

first_imgStranded coal assets a major concern for Indian banking sector FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Economic Times:Deep in the jungles of eastern India lies an abandoned power plant, a warning symbol for the $38 billion of additional bad loans which are about to engulf the country’s banks.Like many of India’s power stations, the Jharkhand project had all the markings of success when a group led by State Bank of India lent about $700 million five years ago to build it. There’s abundant coal and water in the area, a rail track was set to run through the premises, and its promise of 1,080 megawatts of electricity was alluring in a country that faces persistent power shortages and blackouts.Yet today it stands deserted and Indian banks have had to write off three quarters of their loans, after selling the operating company to a specialist in distressed debt. Haircuts of that magnitude are now expected across the whole power sector in India, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, suggesting local banks face a new $38 billion wave of losses. That would be more than four times the $9 billion they’ve written off from a previous tide of bad loans from India’s troubled steel sector.“It is the largest bad-loan risk in the country,” said Vinayak Bahuguna, chief executive officer of Asset Reconstruction Co. of India Ltd., the firm which bought the Jharkhand plant from its creditors in 2015, about two years after construction stopped. “Just as the banks are beginning to put the stress on steel accounts behind them the power accounts are emerging as the new pain point.”India’s banks, which have some of the highest stressed asset ratios globally, are under mounting pressure from regulators to clean up their books as the government attempts to revive loan growth and boost the economy. That is likely to intensify the reckoning they face from lending to India’s power sector, which is plagued by fuel shortages and difficulties negotiating long term supply contracts with the country’s debt-laden electricity distributors. The problem is especially acute for state-owned banks, which are already reeling under the weight of their problem debts. Out of 21 government-controlled lenders, accounting for more than two thirds of the total loans in India, 19 reported losses in the three months to March 31.After taking haircuts of between 40-60 percent on their loans to troubled steel projects, the banks face a 75 percent loss ratio on their power lending, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch estimate.More: Abandoned power plant a $38 billion warning sign for Indian bankslast_img read more

GE bet big on fossil fuels with Alstom purchase, and lost

first_imgGE bet big on fossil fuels with Alstom purchase, and lost FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:There are bad deals, and then there’s General Electric Co.’s purchase of Alstom SA’s energy assets.The 2015 takeover of the French company’s gas-turbine operations in many ways encapsulates the mismanagement that led to GE’s current turmoil. GE vastly overpaid for Alstom, prioritizing scale over logic and ignoring signs of a peaking market. The result is the almost $23 billion writedown GE announced in October, the majority of which is tied to the Alstom deal.Plenty of GE watchers found things to like about the purchase when it was announced. Profit margins at the Alstom assets GE was acquiring were well below that of its own power unit. In theory, that was an opportunity for improvement. GE touted the prospect of selling more services across Alstom’s large installed base.As it turned out, demand for gas turbines collapsed not long after GE completed the takeover, as clean energy became more affordable. Orders for services later crumbled as well, in part because of upgrades that reduced outages and extended turbines’ life. The underlying cash-flow assumptions for the Alstom deal now appear to have been dead wrong, and GE’s lax pricing discipline on its own contracts is coming back to bite it. GE’s power unit had an operating margin of 5.6 percent last year, compared with 10.6 percent in the year ended March 2014 for the Alstom thermal-power business that constituted the bulk of the deal.Taking a writedown on Alstom is one thing. Unraveling this bad bet is a much bigger task.More: GE’s $23 billion writedown stems from a bad bet on fossil fuelslast_img read more

DNV GL consultants: Global oil demand will peak in 2022

first_imgDNV GL consultants: Global oil demand will peak in 2022 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Global oil demand will peak in three years, plateau until around 2030 and then decline sharply, energy adviser DNV GL said in one of the most aggressive forecasts yet for peak oil.Most oil companies expect demand to peak between the late 2020s and the 2040s. The International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises Western economies on energy policy, does not expect a peak before 2040, with rising petrochemicals and aviation demand more than offsetting declining oil demand for road transportation.“The main reason for forecasting peak oil demand in the early 2020s is our strong belief in the uptake of electric vehicles, as well as a less bullish belief in the growth of petrochemicals,” Sverre Alvik, head of DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook (ETO), said in an email to Reuters.While DNV GL’s latest forecast shows oil demand peaking in 2022, one year sooner than it estimated last year, the difference is marginal and demand is expected to remain relatively flat over the 2020-2028 period, Alvik added.Demand for natural gas, which oil companies say could serve as a bridge in the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, is seen surpassing oil demand in 2026 and plateauing in 2033, DNV GL said.Meanwhile, electricity’s share of the total energy mix is predicted to double by mid-century to 40% of today’s levels, with solar and wind generation accounting for two-thirds of electricity output. Annual power grid spending is forecast to more than double to $1.7 trillion to connect thousands of new solar and wind farms and millions of electric vehicles.More: Oil demand to peak in three years, says energy adviser DNV GLlast_img read more

Can CrossFit Make You a Better Runner?

first_imgShanna Duvall is loading 45-pound plates onto a barbell for a set of squats. After that, she’ll move to pull ups, then back to squats. It’s a typical scene in any CrossFit studio, where athletes combine Olympic style weightlifting, gymnastics, and functional movements in what has become the biggest fitness trend in the last decade. The only difference is that Duvall is a runner, using CrossFit to accomplish her goal of running a sub-five-minute mile.Conventional wisdom dictates that if you want to be a better runner, you have to run more. It’s a simple training philosophy that most athletes follow with varying degrees of success, but a growing number of runners like Duvall are turning to CrossFit Endurance (which combines CrossFit with some running) to get faster and run farther while avoiding injuries associated with over-training.“I spent more time on the elliptical than on the track in college,” says Duvall, who ran the 10K and 5K at Kent State University, but was plagued by constant injuries. “I had imbalances that my coaches never addressed. There was no strength training. We never stepped back to look at the big picture.”According to Duvall, CrossFit addresses the big picture by building total body strength, something that most runners tend to ignore for fear that the extra bulk associated with strength training will result in slower finish times.Adam Eidson is an ultrarunner who owns RARE CrossFit in Fredericksburg, Va. He sees skeptical runners on a daily basis. “Runners don’t want to be big like body builders, but we need power. CrossFit can get you the strength and power without the bulk.”It’s a tough sell. Type CrossFit into YouTube and you’ll find vids of really big dudes doing power squats, but Eidson says CrossFit is completely scalable to an athlete’s specific goals, especially for runners looking to get fast.“Eighty percent of new athletes come in here and automatically ask, ‘Where’s the cardio?’” Eidson says. “I tell them not to worry: I’ll get their heart rate up.”Here’s why CrossFit works for runners: exercise sessions are timed. You may be doing sets of squats and pull-ups, but you’re doing them for speed, which creates intensity. CrossFit workouts also tend to combine exercises that work different muscle systems. The combination of full body movements and power lifting set to a clock creates an intensity that you simply don’t find in other workout programs, making CrossFit an ideal cross training program for runners who crave cardio, but need strength training whether they realize it or not. 1 2last_img read more

How To: Get Over the Fear of Climbing

first_imgThis could be you.Dear Mountain Mama,I recently moved to a small mountain town and everyone my age seems to spend the weekend climbing. A few acquaintances have invited me to join them, but I’m petrified. I spend my weekends twiddling my thumbs and haven’t been able to meet friends. How do I get over my fear of climbing?Thanks, Grounded by FearDear Grounded by Fear,The first time I climbed outside of a gym was Half Dome. Rising 5,000 feet from the Yosemite floor, the climb is clean and exposed granite. The guy who asked me to round out the crew of five seasoned climbers assured me that the route we’d be taking, Snake Dike, is as easy as it gets in terms of technical climbing. He knew I had just completed a triathlon and thought the six-mile hike to the base, the eight pitches of climbing, and the nine-mile descent to Yosemite Valley would be challenging but doable.We left our car at six a.m. I carried half the gear, weighing in around twenty pounds. We hiked in the back country, past two beautiful waterfalls and an isolated lake. We got lost, forcing us to boulder hop the last hour until we reached the southwest toe of Half Dome. By that time, we’d been hiking for nearly four hours.My partner gave me a quick tutorial on how to belay him on lead before we started climbing. The first three pitches went smoothly. But I had gotten about four feet into the fourth pitch when the granite face turned completely smooth and slippery. I could only find vertical cracks to wedge one foot and then the other, makings fists with my hands and turning them sideways to pull myself up a few inches at a time.It took forty minutes to finally pull myself over the final overhang of that fourth pitch, making eye contact with my climbing partner. An expression of elation and relief passed over his face, and he congratulated me on climbing so well. Later over beers he would explain that he had mistakenly led us off route and that pitch was much tougher than anything he expected me to be able to climb.We summited with two hours left of sunlight. The descent down was on the other side, where cables provide day hikers the opportunity to enjoy the views of the High Sierras that the peak offers. We carefully negotiated the cables, and once we were back on the trail, we jogged all the way to Yosemite Valley, motivating each other with promises of pizza and pitchers of beer. Our headlamps helped us see the trail for the last couple of miles.I felt many things that day — exhilarated, excited, amazed, awed, stunned, pushed, hungry, thirsty, dirty, and exhausted. But not once did I feel afraid. Looking back, it was a very ambitious first climb and some might speculate that anyone who agrees to climb Snake Dike the first time they climb outside is too stupid to be afraid. But I disagree. I think the reason I wasn’t afraid was because I didn’t have time to be afraid. I was too busy climbing.I tell you this story, Grounded, because I have a hunch that you’re not afraid of climbing. Climbing is all about feeling adrenaline and accomplishment, experiencing breathtaking views, and getting to hang out with really cool folks.You’re afraid of falling and all the disaster scenarios you’ve told yourself might happen. Fearing failure can be good. That kind of fear spurs you to take adequate safety precautions. That fear helps make you pause and ask just how experienced your climbing partner is and just how many falls have abused the rope you’ll be using. And that fear might motivate you to spend some time in the local climbing gym, making sure you’ve got some basic skills before going.Grounded, once you’ve taken all the right precautions, you can replace your fears with trust and confidence. When you fall, you’ll be in the capable hands of your belay partner, falling on a strong rope that is properly anchored to a system that can support your fall.And if that pesky loop of what-ifs creeps its way back into your thought process, immerse yourself in the present moment. Start by taking a few deep breathes. Pay attention to the length of each inhale and exhale. Next, focus on your surroundings. Feel the sun shining on your back. Describe the texture of the rock. Notice the color of the rope. Paint an image of that beautiful mountain onto the canvas of your brain, right on top of any still-lurking doubts. And with that, Grounded, double check your harness and climb on!Do you need to hear it one more time Grounded? Climb on! Find each hold with intention and be present to feel yourself ascend the fear. It will rock your world.Yours,Mountain Mamalast_img read more

Boating in Botetourt Giveaway

first_imgEnter our Boating in Botetourt Giveaway to win a boating trip on the Upper James River Water Trail in Botetourt County, Virginia plus more!The Grand Prize package includes:Kayak trip for four guests on the Upper James River and a river tubing trip for four in BuchananDry Bag Gear Package from Outdoor Trails in BotetourtOne night stay for up to four people at The Cottage at Springwood.THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED! THANKS TO ALL WHO ENTERED AND PLEASE CHECK OUT ALL OUR OTHER GREAT GIVEAWAYS. Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning  date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 noon EST on July 15th, 2013. One entry per person. One winner per household.  Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United  States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older.  Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge  Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No  liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate,  non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled,  mistranscribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for  technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable  network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer  transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of  processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the  sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, Botetourt County, Outdoor Trails, The Cottage Inn, and Twin River Outfitters reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information  and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their  sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry  process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes.  Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating  sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies  shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from  acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash,  or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of  the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to  allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater  value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply.  Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors  office on or before July 30th, 6:00 PM EST 2013. Winners will be contacted by  the information they provided in the contest sign-up field and have 7  days to claim their prize before another winner will be picked. Odds of  winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received.last_img read more

Mountain Mama: Should I Start Paddling to Meet Guys?

first_imgDear Mountain Mama,I’m a cool, outdoorsy chic in my late twenties looking for that special someone. Up until now, I’ve been focusing on my education and getting started with my career. I am finally at a point where I have the time and energy to date.On the weekend, I spend most of my free time camping and hiking with the same circle of friends I’ve hung out with since college. The problem is, all the guys seem more like brothers than someone I’d date.  I’ve heard that a lot of guys whitewater kayak. Is that where all the action is? Should I start paddling to meet guys?Thanks,Wanting Someone Special————————————————————————Dear Wanting Someone Special,Dedicating time and energy towards your education and career makes sense during your twenties. But no matter how successful you are in the other aspects of your life, romantic love remains at the very core of our humanity. Loving another brings out the best in a person.Opening yourself up to the possibility of love is an essential starting point for finding it, but do so with the integrity of living your own life with authenticity. The irony of love is that as absolutely fundamental as it is to our happiness, love can’t be forced or chased.Wanting Someone Special, if you’re curious about whitewater kayaking, by all means give it a go. But boating in order to find a date is lame. There’s a saying about kayaking guys that “the odds are good, but the goods are odd.”Kayakers are a strange lot. We wear nose plugs, and silly looking neoprene that often reeks of boater funk. We disappear whenever it rains and often return home later than we say we will. River time happens to even the most dependable boaters. An epic happens, which can’t be helped. Or we lose all sense of time and minutes slip into hours somewhere between the take-out and the put-in. We talk about rivers and rapids and holes and swims endlessly, which can prove to be quite a bore to folks who don’t kayak.Paddle if you want to learn to whitewater kayak, Wanting Someone Special. But if it’s dating that you’re really after, I’d suggest putting your best, most sincere and humorous self out there, both online and in person. Be open and engaging with strangers and among your circle of friends. Embrace all the beautiful, wonderful things about your self, and seek out the best characteristics of others.Most of all, believe in the fairy tale!Mountain MamaGOT A QUESTION FOR MOUNTAIN MAMA? SEND IT HERElast_img read more

Race Ahead: Dirty Dan Dash

first_imgTOP RACES AND EVENTS TO HIT BEFORE THE END OF THE YEARDIRTY DAN DASH MUD RUNWhen: November 3, 2013Where: Danville, Va.What: Adventure RaceStart time: 1 pmWebsite: www.DirtyDanDash.comThe Dirty Dan Dash, presented by Danville Regional Medical Center, is a 3.7-mile dash through Danville’s River District, Dan Daniel Memorial Park and along the Riverwalk trail. The course features various obstacles, challenges and one nasty mud pit.EVENT [email protected] OUT OUR FULL LIST OF THE TOP RACES AND EVENTS OF THE END OF THE YEAR IN OUR FALL RACE & EVENT GUIDElast_img read more