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Peabody files for bankruptcy 

So the world’s largest private coal mining company, Peabody Energy, has filed for bankruptcy amid ever low and falling coal prices. The coal giant found itself unable to service its debt-driven expansion into Australia, according to Reuters.

Here’s our explainer on the background to this: Peabody Energy: The fall of the world’s biggest public coal company.

Peabody’s rival Arch Coal also filed for bankruptcy recently amid challenging market conditions.

Bloomberg reports the coal industry downturn “is a result of tougher environmental policies, a flood of cheap natural gas and a global glut of metallurgical coal that’s dragged prices for steelmaking component to the lowest in more than 10 years.”

“This isn’t a death knell for coal. It’s the pains of a shrinking industry,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Andrew Cosgrove said before the filing.

In the US, coal was used for 28% of electricity in December last year, but US coal production is down about 30% on where it was this time last year. And some towns in the US are still clinging onto coal for dear life.

Oil price increase boosts global stock markets

A jump in oil prices boosted the US, China and UK stock markets on the news Russia and Saudi Arabia have agreed an output freeze.

The price of Brent crude was up about 3.4% and the US crude oil prices rose by about 4.5%. Brent rose to just under $45 a barrel, hitting a four month high.

Oil and mining company shares also increased following the news.

Energy giant clash over carbon pricing

Shell’s CEO Ben van Beurden has called for the global carbon price, again. In the past we have examined what some oil majors might be meaning when they ask for this.

Meanwhile, Chevron’s CEO pushed back on this and said a carbon price could spell bad news for energy poverty. However, analysis from the CTI has found that renewables – rather than coal – are a better solution for energy poverty.

Ben van Beurden also mentioned the possible sell-off of some of Shell’s North Sea assets to balance its portfolio.

In other news

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Technology: US researcher breakthrough furthers development of bacteria-powered energy