Times are good for the merchants of fossil fuels.
Coal is making a comeback in the U.S., natural gas prices are rising, and Saudis are living like kings off an oil market that is simply heavenly.
Just last year, demand for coal had dropped deeper than a canary lowered down a mine shaft. Prices had been pushed down by the natural gas fracking boom. But The Washington Post reports that demand and prices for coal have rebounded:
According to the latest data from the Energy Information Administration, coal has been reclaiming some — though not all — of its market share in 2013. …
[N]atural gas prices have been creeping up over the past year, thanks to a combination of a colder winter, higher demand for heating fuel, scaled-back drilling, and also new storage facilities that are preventing a glut of gas on the market. The ultra-low gas prices that were devastating the coal industry in 2011 and 2012 weren’t sustainable forever.
Coal company executives and natural gas frackers and retailers aren’t the only fossil-fuel profiteers who are partying right now. OPEC is also feeling pretty good these days. From Bloomberg:
Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, is content with current conditions in the oil market, the kingdom’s petroleum minister said three days before OPEC members meet to assess the group’s output policy.
“This is the best environment for the market,” Ali al-Naimi told reporters today in Vienna when asked about the balance of supply and demand. “Demand is great,” al-Naimi said as he arrived at his hotel.
Tides everywhere are rising in celebration.