WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Platts, one of the world's foremost providers of energy and metals information and price references, today announced it will expand its offering of physical market price assessments for U.S. steam coal bound for export. Steam coal, also known as thermal coal, is used to generate electricity. "The declining use of coal in U.S. power generation and the increased focus on exports make pricing at North American ports increasingly important," said Regina Johnson, managing editor of Platts Coal Trader. "Not only will the new assessments bring greater transparency to the U.S. price picture, but they will bring greater clarity to U.S. coal's competitiveness in the global market." The new price assessments ( http://bit.ly/TNLviB) will begin October 1 to help meet the price information needs of coal producers, coal traders, and other buyers and sellers of thermal coal in the United States and worldwide. The assessments will be as follows: Platts Daily FOB U.S. East Coast Thermal Coal AssessmentPlatts Daily FOB U.S. Gulf Coast Eastern Thermal Coal AssessmentPlatts Daily FOB U.S. Gulf Coast Western Thermal Coal AssessmentPlatts Daily FOB Canada/U.S. West Coast Thermal Coal Assessment Each assessment will be quoted on a loading, free-on-board (FOB) export basis at U.S. ports in the East Coast, Gulf and West Coasts, reflecting prices for 14 to 45 days forward from the date of publication. The new U.S. thermal coal export assessments expand Platts' suite of international price assessments for major coal export and import markets, including Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America and North America. They complement Platts' well-established benchmarks for U.S. domestic coal markets. These include Central Appalachian, CSX and Powder River Basin coal assessments, against which futures contracts on two exchanges are settled. Assessments are based on all-day market monitoring and data collection of transactions, bids, offers and other information from market participants and reflect values at the close of the physical trading day at 4 pm ET. All prices are quoted as U.S. dollars per metric ton (mt). The methodology for Platts' new U.S. thermal coal export assessments was developed in consultation with a cross-section of key industry players, draws on Platts century-plus experience in benchmark price reporting in energy, and is underpinned by well-defined, published quality guidelines.