Oct 29, 2019

Coal heavyweight Murray Energy files for bankruptcy

Ben Geman, author of Generate

Robert Murray, the 77-year-old founder and CEO of Murray Energy Corporation. Photo: Andreas Hoenig/picture alliance via Getty Images

Murray Energy, the country's largest privately held coal company and third largest U.S. coal producer, announced Tuesday that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Why it matters: The filing, the latest in a string of coal sector bankruptcies, underscores how power markets are moving away from coal in favor of natural gas and renewables.

Context: Coal, which once provided well over half of U.S. electricity, is at around 25% of the power mix today and it's slated to be 22% next year, per Energy Department data.

  • The industry's woes also signal how Trump administration plans to prop up coal-fired power plants have yet to come to fruition.

Where it stands: Via Bloomberg, the filing is aimed at restructuring more than $2.7 billion worth of debt, and the bankruptcy court filing shows that it has reached a "support agreement with a group of lenders that provides a new $350 million loan to keep operations going during the reorganization."

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