Cloud Peak Energy, one of Wyoming’s largest coal producers, reported a $205 million loss in 2015.
"Clearly 2015 was a tough year for domestic coal producers with demand being driven down by anti-coal regulations and very low gas prices. Unfortunately, 2016 looks like it's going to be even tougher," Cloud Peak CEO Colin Marshall told investors on a conference call.
Cloud Peak has been forced to cut production at its Powder River Basin mines in the face of weak domestic and international demand. In the U.S., natural gas has been eating into coal’s share of the electricity market—power produced from coal was down 13 percent in November 2015 from the previous year.
“We’re not thinking that suddenly US coal production is going back to a billion tons and we’ve got to be ready for it. We’re thinking about managing this business for a future that’s at a lower level, and we’ve been adjusting to that,” Marshall said.
In recent years, Cloud Peak has used revenue from overseas exports to help offset losses in the domestic market but sluggish economic growth in Asia has meant a drop in demand there as well. Cloud Peak is currently not planning to export any coal in 2016.