(Gillette, Wyo.) Cloud Peak Energy posted a net loss of $7.7 million in the first quarter of 2018, down from a $20.1 million loss during the same quarter last year.
The company shipped 12.3 million tons of coal in the first quarter, which is a decline of 1.7 million tons over the first quarter of 2017.
In a statement on the earnings, the company attributed the 12 percent decline to lower shipments at the Antelope and Cordero Rojo mines, which were partially offset by increased sales at Spring Creek due to higher export demand.
Natural gas, which is holding well below $3 per million British Thermal Units, continues to be a heavy competitor against the coal industry. Coal-fired power plants drew down PRB coal inventories to approximately 66 million tons at the end of March 2018, a decline of 9 million tons from December 2017 levels.
Realized domestic coal prices were down to $35.61 per ton as of March 31, 2018, which is down nearly $11 per ton from a year ago. Realized prices for Asian exports, meanwhile, were up over $7.00 per ton.