IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 1, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Universal Bioenergy Inc., (OTCMarkets:UBRG), a publicly traded independent diversified energy company that markets natural gas, propane, and produces petroleum and coal, announced today it is in negotiations with several commodities traders and brokers to sell them thermal steam coal, in a transaction valued at an estimated $64.8 million over the next 18 months.
The commodities traders and brokers are seeking to purchase an estimated 60,000 tons of high grade thermal steam coal for foreign export. One trader is seeking to buy an estimated 50,000 tons per month to export to China. A second buyer is seeking an estimated 10,000 tons per month to export to a country in West Africa.
Thermal/Steam non-coking coal is used as a primary source of energy for coal fired power plant electric generation. Universal's Whitesburg Friday Branch Mine produces thermal steam coal in eastern Kentucky. The Whitesburg mining operations are the surface and high wall mining type, also known as opencast or open-cut mining, which is very economical when the coal seam is near the surface. This method recovers a higher proportion of the coal deposit than underground mining as all coal seams are exploited and 90% or more of the coal can be recovered.Domestic and global demand for coal are projected to grow. According to the American Coal Foundation, 9 out of every 10 tons of coal mined in the United States today is used to generate electricity, and more than half of the electricity used in this country is coal generated electricity. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says coal as a fuel source for electricity generation will increase 25% by 2035 in the United States. Overall, the EIA predicts that coal will remain the dominate fuel source for electricity generation, growing to about 11,000 terawatt hours from its current level of about 8,000.