US says coal production and use should set record highs this year

Despite the surfeit of oil and gas on the market, US coal production and consumption are projected to reach record high levels in 1984, the United States Department of Energy reports.

The DOE projects 1984 coal production at 892 million tons, up 14 percent from 1983 levels; consumption should hit 793 million tons, up 8 percent from '83.

The forecast, however, says coal output should increase only about 1 percent between next year over '84 as stock levels are reduced; consumption should increase 6 percent during this period.

The DOE cites economic growth - which contributes to increased demand for electricity (particularly for coal-fired generation) - as the main reason for growth in coal use.

The increase in production is due to higher demand for the fuel from utilities and to the possibility, earlier this year, of a strike by the United Mine Workers; the strike never occured.

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