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Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) Q3 2021 Earnings Call Transcript | The Motley Fool

Alliance Resource Partners (NASDAQ:ARLP)
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Oct 25, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Greetings, and welcome to the Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. third-quarter 2021 earnings conference call. [Operator instructions] It is now my pleasure to introduce Brian Cantrell, senior vice president and chief financial officer. Thank you.

You may begin. 

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Darryl, and welcome, everyone. Earlier this morning, Alliance Resource Partners released its third-quarter 2021 financial and operating results and will now discuss these results, as well as our perspective on market conditions and outlook. Following our prepared remarks, we’ll open the call to your questions. Before beginning, a reminder that some of our remarks today may include forward-looking statements, subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties, and assumptions that are contained in our filings from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission and are also reflected in this morning’s press release.

While these forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to us, if one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if our underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those we projected or expected. In providing these remarks, the partnership has no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, unless required by law to do so. Finally, we’ll also be discussing certain non-GAAP financial measures. Definitions and reconciliations of the differences between these non-GAAP financial measures and the most directly comparable gap financial measures are contained at the end of ARLP’s press release, which has been posted on our website and furnished to the SEC on Form 8-K.

With the required preliminaries out of the way. I’ll begin with a review of our results for the quarter and then turn the call over to Joe Craft, our chairman, president, and chief executive officer, for his comments. The exceptional performance delivered by Alliance through the first half of the year continued into the 2021 quarter. As we reported earlier this morning, ARLP again posted sequential increases to total revenues, net income, EBITDA, and free cash flow.

Strong performance from both our coal operations and our royalty segments led total revenues higher by $53 million to $414.4 million, with net increase — income increasing $13.5 million to $57.5 million or $0.44 per unit and EBITDA climbing $17.3 million to $135.9 million. Free cash flow also rose during the 2021 quarter, increasing $40.3 million to $119.7 million. ARLP’s strong cash flow performance during the 2021 quarter allowed us to return $12.7 million to unitholders through the quarterly distribution we paid in August and further improved our balance sheet, as total leverage fell to 0.95 times, a 12% reduction from the sequential quarter. And liquidity increased $102.1 million to $602.6 million.

ARLP’s financial and operating results for the 2021 quarter and the first nine months of 2021 were also much improved compared to the 2020 quarter-end period. Compared to the 2020 quarter, total revenues increased 16.8% as a result of higher coal sales volumes and significantly higher oil and gas prices, while net income jumped 111.4% and EBITDA climbed 14.4%. Compared to the 2020 period, coal sales volumes increased 15% during the 2021 period, driving total revenues higher by 14% to $1.1 billion. Coal production volumes also increased during the 2021 period, jumping 20.1% to 23.5 million tons compared to 20.1 million tons during the 2020 period.

Increased coal production and the benefits of ongoing cost control and efficiency initiatives at our mining operations drove segment-adjusted EBITDA expense per ton sold lower by 11.1% to $28.82 per ton during the 2021 period compared to $32.43 per ton for the 2020 period. Net income increased $290.5 million to $126.3 million, reflecting higher revenues and lower depreciation in the 2021 period and $157 million of non cash impairment charges in the 2020 period. Excluding these impairment charges, net income of $126.3 million for the 2021 period compares to an adjusted net loss of $7.2 million for the pandemic-impacted 2020 period. EBITDA for the 2021 period increased 31.5% to $348.9 million compared to adjusted EBITDA of $265.3 million in the 2020 period.

Turning from our consolidated results, let’s now take a closer look at the performance of ARLP’s business segments. Reflecting strong coal demand, which led to higher sales tons and price realizations at our coal operations, coal sales revenues rose 11.1% to $362.3 million during the 2021 quarter compared to the sequential quarter. Segment-adjusted EBITDA expense increased modestly to $28.95 per ton sold as inflationary pressures are beginning to impact our coal operations. Increased revenues more than offset higher per-ton operating expenses, driving segment-adjusted EBITDA for our coal operations up by 10.9% to $126.3 million.

ARLP’s royalty businesses also performed well during the 2021 quarter. For our oil and gas royalties, segment-adjusted EBITDA during the 2021 quarter rose 24.1% to $19.1 million as sales volumes and price realizations improved compared to the sequential quarter. Benefitting from increased revenues and royalty tons sold during the 2021 quarter, ARLP’s coal business — coal royalties business delivered $9.2 million of segment-adjusted EBITDA, an increase of 35.6% compared to the sequential quarter. The strong performance of both of these businesses resulted in ARLP’s total royalty segment posting a record $28.3 million of segment-adjusted EBITDA during the 2021 quarter.

And with that, I’ll now turn the call over to Joe for his comments. Joe?

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Brian, and welcome, everyone. Since our last earnings call, fossil fuel prices have increased dramatically around the world as supply has fallen woefully short of demand. Since the beginning of this year, worldwide LNG prices have escalated fourfold in Asia and Europe. The API 2 index for thermal coal prices has more than doubled as weather-impacted, unreliable, renewable power generation did not show up at expected levels.

And utilities increasingly turn to coal in response to high natural gas prices. In the United States, natural gas prices had nearly doubled, causing coal-fired generation and ARLP’s primary markets to jump 23% year over year. Coal generation could have been even higher. However, supply has been limited due to numerous issues, almost none of which should be attributed to the producers of America’s most abundant low-cost fuel, coal.

Looking forward, the Biden administration’s domestic energy policy agenda, combined with ESG obsessions in Europe and the United States, will most likely continue to restrict growth in fossil fuel production. Absent any significant global demand destruction, we expect fossil fuel prices will remain at elevated levels through next year and into 2023. We have benefited from the market uplift this year, as reflected in our updated full-year 2021 coal sales guidance. Assuming no delivery delays through the end of this year, coal sales volumes will be 15% higher than the pandemic-impacted 2020 levels.

As natural gas prices are projected to remain favorable for coal generation next year, and coal stocks for our customers are at critically low levels, we are currently targeting a 6% to 12% increase in coal sales volumes in 2022 over 2021 levels to help meet the needs of the marketplace. ARLP has responded to rising coal demand. Our employees are working extra hours to increase current production, and our mining operations are focused on retaining ARLP’s exceptional workforce and attracting new employees to further increase coal production. ARLP’s customers are rewarding us for our efforts to meet their needs during this critical time, providing new commitments during the 2021 quarter for the delivery of 2.1 million tons over the balance of this year.

ARLP is now sold out for 2021. And as a result of recent contract pricing, we are increasing our estimated full-year coal price realization by $1.10 per ton sold for this year. During the 2021 quarter, we also strengthened our long-term coal contract book, entering into new contracts for the delivery of another 13.2 million tons over the 2022 through 2024 time frame, and since the end of the 2021 quarter, securing new agreements for the delivery of an additional 10.7 million tons over the same three-year period. As of today, we have 29.9 million tons committed and priced for 2022, of which 2.4 million tons are committed to the thermal export market for delivery next year.

ARLP has secured commitments for approximately 4 million tons of export sales in 2021, including 440,000 tons of metallurgical coal. We expect strong international demand for both thermal and metallurgical coal will continue into 2022, providing ARLP with the opportunity to place similar volumes, if not more, in the equity markets at attractive prices next year. In 2023, we have price commitments for 15.8 million tons, all in the domestic market. Market fundamentals for ARLP’s royalty segment are also favorable.

For our oil and gas royalties business, commodity prices have increased significantly since the beginning of the year, and the forward price curve for oil, natural gas, and gas liquids remains very favorable. Production from our existing acreage continues to improve from pandemic lows. We expect that trend to continue as E&P operators modestly increase drilling and completion activity. And we anticipate the contribution from oil and gas royalties to ARLP’s consolidated results will also increase as a result of our recent acquisition of approximately 1,500 net royalty acres in the Delaware portion of the Permian Basin.

With the active development already underway and a significant inventory of wells to be ultimately compete — completed on the acquired acreage, this transaction should provide a long-term uplift to the performance of our oil and gas royalties business. We also anticipate steady growth from our coal royalties business as increased coal sales volumes and prices from ARLP’s mining operations should benefit this part of our business as well. As a result, we expect the contribution of our total royalty segment to ARLP’s consolidated results will continue to increase in the future. In closing, I want to address our thoughts on setting unitholder distributions.

After suspending unitholder distributions in response to the challenges and uncertainties created by the pandemic, ARLP’s performance and outlook had improved to the point that we were pleased to reinstate unitholder distributions earlier this year, targeting an annualized distribution level at approximately 30% of anticipated full-year free cash flow at the time. ARLP’s performance since then has obviously been exceptional, well above our expectations. And the positive future outlook for energy market fundamentals contributed to the board’s decision this quarter to double the distribution to our unitholders compared to the sequential quarter. As I just mentioned, coal, oil, and natural gas market fundamentals appear to be extremely favorable for the next several years.

And with our long-life, low-cost, strategically located assets, ARLP is well-positioned to deliver solid results for the foreseeable future. We continue to believe we are well-positioned to provide attractive cash returns to our unitholders and provide ARLP with the flexibility to pursue long-term growth opportunities while maintaining a conservative balance sheet. While ARLP is aggressively pursuing opportunities to benefit from current market conditions, we are also aware that significant uncertainties remain. The same market environment that is so favorable to ARLP business today should also serve as a wake-up call to politicians, regulators, financial institutions, utilities, and customers or consumers as they contemplate the future.

Policies favoring a rapid movement away from reliable baseload-generating capacity to an ever-increasing premature reliance on intermittent power sources have already resulted in power disruptions in the United States, an energy crisis in Europe, and power shortages in China and India. We are hopeful that as the energy transition continues to devolve, it will do so in a way that not only continues to push new technologies and innovation but also with an honest recognition of the pace at which this can be deployed. This requires an acknowledgment by these policymakers of the importance of coal-fired power generation in order to maintain access to low-cost, reliable power until the transition is completed sometime over the next several decades. As the future of energy continues to evolve, ARLP intends to be there for our customers, providing the fuel essentials to meeting their needs today and profitably investing in opportunities that will help them keep the lights on in the future.

That concludes our prepared comments, and I’ll now ask the operator to open the call for questions. 

Questions & Answers:

Operator

[Operator instructions] Our first questions come from the line of Nathan Martin with The Benchmark Company. Please proceed with your questions.

Nathan MartinThe Benchmark Company — Analyst

Thank you. Good morning, Joe, Brian. Congrats on the quarter. 

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Nate. Appreciate it. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Nathan MartinThe Benchmark Company — Analyst

Coal production, I’d say, came in a little lighter than expected. I’m guessing that’s driven the decrease in full-year shipment guidance, you know, given the strong market we’re seeing, as you guys pointed out, you most probably weren’t expecting a downward revision. Obviously, even the revised guidance looks like it would imply a very strong fourth quarter on both the production and shipment side. Could you guys maybe talk about the factors leading to that change? Is labor a factor at all there? You also mentioned some issues, maybe with delivery delays affecting that, maybe a little color there.

And then, kind of looking ahead to 2022, I think I caught you guys said that the shipments should be up about 6% to 12% year over year. Can you give us an idea how you plan to increase tons there? Thank you.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Yes, we have had — you know, shipments were definitely impacted by some supply chain issues from the transportation sector to where we had sev — you know, we had some plant shipments that did not occur because of the unavailability of transportation equipment. You know, we continue to see that as a challenge going forward. We do expect to hit our guidance with fourth quarter shipments assuming that transportation shows up.

You know, at this time, we have commitments that that will happen, but you know, we’ll have to wait and see on that. As far as our production, COVID still has impacted our operations. So we did have quite a few employees that were off this past quarter that impacted production somewhat. Not significantly, but it did account for some of that shortfall.

You know, we’re working extra time this quarter to try to make sure that we can achieve our objectives for the year. So we are working out extra days on the weekends to try to meet that objective. In addition, starting next week, we’ve added a unit of production at our NC mining operation in Appalachia that will be fully staffed and producing some additional tons in the fourth quarter going into next year. So we are looking at adding some production next year that will be driven primarily by again working extra hours and extra days, as well as maybe adding a few units so that 6% to 12% will be largely dependent on labor force and supply chain.

You know, we feel good about having the equipment based on what we have within our operations. That’s going to be an availability issue for most people but not for us. As far as the equipment availability I’m just speaking of, labor — we’re feeling good about our ability to attract labor since we have commitments that are starting to grow over the next three years and strong support from our domestic customers that have given us sufficient signals to provide the confidence to try to bring on a unit or two. That growth right now is probably two-thirds.

Mostly in the Illinois Basin is basically where the growth is, except for the NC mining that I spoke of earlier. I think that answers your questions unless there’s a follow-up —

Nathan MartinThe Benchmark Company — Analyst

Yes. Yes, Joe. No, I appreciate the color there. Absolutely.

If I may, kind of shifting over to the pricing side of the equation, it looks like here in this year, in ’21, you guys are nearly a million tons. Pretty strong pricing levels. Obviously, your full-year guidance moved up by — looks like about $1.60 at the midpoint. You know, if you look at 2022, it looks like you basically doubled your committed and priced tons there.

Obviously, you guys had such a significant portion of 2022 locked in. Can you give us any idea how pricing looks like for ’22? 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Well, given the [Inaudible] we have, it’s hard to give you a price target. I’d say that there’s still uncertainties there. The prices are continued to be strong. We are booking some at very attractive prices relative to what the this year’s prices are.

At the same time, there was quite a bit of tonnage that we booked that was earlier in the cycle, so we didn’t — we haven’t been able to time everything at the top of the market. But it’s safe to say that we expect revenues, you know, to be higher next year. I can’t give you a precise number right now. But you know, we feel like next year of 2022 is going to be a very attractive year relative to what we’ve seen in the last two or three years.

Nathan MartinThe Benchmark Company — Analyst

Got it. All right. I appreciate that, Joe. And then just maybe one final question.

I know I asked you last quarter of your thoughts on free cash flow allocation. I think you said you’d, you know, be better positioned to answer that on the next call. Obviously, you guys felt strongly enough about what you’re seeing in the markets to increase double the distribution, really. You also added some acreage on the oil and gas side.

I understand there’s some uncertainty out there still, as you mentioned in your prepared remarks, but maybe any other color you can provide on what your priorities are from a capital allocation standpoint or with the potential step-up and free cash that you guys could see next year? Thanks.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Nate, one of the uncertainties or headwind that we’re looking at is just what the Biden administration’s going to do. They promoted these infrastructure bills, which, on the one hand, tries to encourage workers with what we call true infrastructure. And then they’ve got a social infrastructure bill that intends to ask peoples not — people not to work. I don’t know what’s going to happen there.

It’s just amazing to me that for two or three months, they stick with one particular type bill, and then all of a sudden, everything’s changing, and nobody really knows what is going to be in the bill or what the impact is going to be. I think the positive news for the people in the coal business, it looks like, Senator Manchin’s been successful in keeping out some of the draconian measures that were in the earlier bills. But we really need to see what in the world comes out of the Biden administration this quarter heading into next year, and what their reaction is going to be relative to whether it be legislation incentivizing alternatives, more importantly, what position are they going to take toward our financial institutions and access to capital. Because there have been signs recently that the Federal Reserve has been encouraging the banks not to lend the coal industry.

So we need to really assess how the Biden administration handles the rest of the year as we think about, you know, how we allocate capital going into 2022 and beyond. I think the fundamentals are very strong. We’re seeing a lot of opportunities in the oil and gas sector. We’re continuing to evaluate things in the transition.

Most of those things appear to have a little longer lead time instead of immediate-type acquisitions that we’re continuing to spend quite a bit of time looking in that area. So our challenges, like most people now, are supply chain shortages, transportation shortages, weather, the economy, Biden regulations. Inflation is a big one. So — and COVID.

I mean, what’s the pandemic going to do? Is it going to subside, or are we going to see another wave? So there are just a lot of different issues in front of us. But we feel like we’re well-positioned to manage those going forward. And I wish had better clarity. But like I said, the insistence on trying to pass this legislation at a time when there’s already a worker shortage, I don’t know how that’s going to shake out.

Nathan MartinThe Benchmark Company — Analyst

Got it, Joe. I appreciate those comments and also the variables there. Just real quick, just a follow-on on the labor side of things and then the inflation that you just pointed out as well as you guys are seeing. Any thoughts on what that might add on the cost side going into next year?

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we’re hoping that our productivity improvements will offset those increases, but there’s definitely inflationary pressure with steel prices, natural gas prices, oil prices. You know, labor component is small relative to some of the others that are double digit in prices. But we think our margins will expand next year based on the benefit of higher revenues that will more than offset any cost increases.

Nathan MartinThe Benchmark Company — Analyst

Perfect. I think that’s all I have for now. Thank you, guys, as always for the time. And best of luck in the fourth quarter. 

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Appreciate it, Nate.

Operator

Thank you. Our next questions come from the line of Lin Shen with HITE. Please proceed with your questions.

Lin ShenHITE Hedge Asset Management LLC — Analyst

Hey, good morning. Thanks for taking my call. That’s a great quarter. And I’m just wondering, you know, some of the peers talk about that they set a target to reduce their direct operating greenhouse gas emission target.

And I’m just wondering, for Alliance, is there such a approach? Or is there anything you’re kind of working on? Are you seeing some low-hanging fruit you can do for maybe improve your ESG? 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Not sure, it didn’t come very clear to me what your question — could you repeat your question?

Lin ShenHITE Hedge Asset Management LLC — Analyst

Just like some company — co-company talked about they can — they’re working on to reduce their greenhouse gas emission for their operations. I’m just sort of wondering is Alliance also working on some approach to reduce your greenhouse gas emission for your operations, or some other, like, work like that.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

We’re constantly looking at efficiency opportunities. We’ve also made some small investments in some offsets, carbon offsets, on methane emissions from closed operations, which we’re continuing to look at. We’re looking at other credits also potentially in the forest areas, timber area. So that will be my response to that.

Brian, do you anything more?

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No, not yet. 

Lin ShenHITE Hedge Asset Management LLC — Analyst

So you don’t see any near-term big opportunity for you to invest, something like carbon capture [Inaudible]. You don’t foresee any near-term opportunities being there.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

The carbon capture would be more on the consumption side. Not on the operating side. 

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

At the utility level.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Which I don’t really see anything in the near term on that from our existing customer base.

Lin ShenHITE Hedge Asset Management LLC — Analyst

Got it. And I also want to follow up. When you look at 2022, do you think about you probably will export more than 2021? Or what do you think about export market in 2022?

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

We do believe the export market is going to be constructive. It’s going to be robust. It will be there for us. I think what we have to balance is what are the demands for our domestic customers.

And you know, so it’s going to be a matter of communication and commitment. You know, we, long time — for the longest time, really rely on our domestic base. And I think if we’re asking our customers that — for new commitments to commit for three years. And if they would commit for three years, I think our preference would be to serve that market as opposed to be in the export market on a short-term basis.

If — on the other hand, we’ve got some export customers that are willing to contract or commit multiple years also. So we’re looking for long-term supply so that we can support bringing on the additional people to meet those needs. 

Lin ShenHITE Hedge Asset Management LLC — Analyst

OK, great. Thank you very much. Appreciate it. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

It could be higher, it could be lower depending on what the domestic market brings.

Lin ShenHITE Hedge Asset Management LLC — Analyst

Great. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next questions come from the line of Shelly McNulty with Loomis. Please proceed with your questions.

Shelly McNultyLoomis, Sayles & Company — Analyst

Hi. Thanks. Yeah. I just wanted to go back to your comments about kind of waiting on Biden administration and kind of concerning comments from the Fed in regards to, you know, advising banks not to lend to coal.

Is that kind of, at this point, prohibiting you from being able to come to refinance your bonds that are callable? Is that — would you characterize it as stopping you from doing it at this point? Or you know, if you wanted to refi tomorrow, you have banks that would be willing to act as your agents? 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

We think the markets are open today. It’s not a today issue. It’s, you know, trying to think through what our access to capital be, you know, from the banks in particular when our revolver renews in a couple of years. So that’s the primary concern right now.

I think the bonds where interest rates are and where the strength of our balance sheet is, we’ve got some favorable responses currently. But there’s just an uncertainty there that just puts a premium on us to have a strong balance sheet. We just feel like that there’s — it’s hard to know three years from now where the markets are going to be, given how fast they’ve gone up. You know, will there be a balance or not? I mean, I’m a believer that we’re going to have this supply chain disruption for a while.

I just don’t see anything changing that, especially if the Biden administration passes this second slug of $2 trillion that puts money in people’s pockets and encourages them not to work. So if people don’t show up to drive trucks at the ports or anywhere throughout the supply chain of our economy, I’m just very concerned that we’re going to continue to have a lot of disruption in the supply side of the business. And it could go to anything and everything. I mean, that’s an area that we’re not immune to having just products coming to the coal mine, as an example.

It affects everything throughout the economic food chain here. So I think the policies really need to be focused on what’s good for the economy as opposed to the 2022 election, which, in my opinion, is what’s driving their urgency to try to get something passed. It has nothing to do with what’s right for America, in my opinion. But we just have to wait and see.

I can’t — yeah. 

Shelly McNultyLoomis, Sayles & Company — Analyst

OK, got it. And then, for your exported tons, what is the major market that you’re exporting to at this point?

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

So we have markets to India, and some to Europe, and some to the Middle East, a little bit to the Far East, not a lot. 

Shelly McNultyLoomis, Sayles & Company — Analyst

And what’s the kind of breakeven that you need to see to make the margin more attractive on the export side? Get a better return on — 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Well, the price is there — I mean, the price markers are there. It’s just a matter of whether we should be selling into the export market or the domestic market. And we’re further challenged by the fact that we really have no supply to sell for the next two quarters and maybe three. So when we’re looking at what participation we would have in the export market, unless we can bring on these additional tons, you know, we’re looking at second half of next year.

And a lot can happen in that price curve compared to where we are today, but I still believe that there’s definitely going to be opportunity from a price standpoint for us to sell into that market. It’s really just a matter where the domestic customers — would they prefer to have the tons stay in America, or are they not willing to commit a longer term. And if they don’t, then we’ll probably end up turning to the export market.

Shelly McNultyLoomis, Sayles & Company — Analyst

But on the shipments that got impacted by logistical, you know, issues, that I would assume mostly just impacted the domestic shipments, not your exported shipments. So if you can’t move the tons because of the domestic freight or whatnot, can you kind of move them into the export market quickly on a spot basis just to kind of get those tons out? Or — how does that work?

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, the transportation is going to be impacting both domestic and export at the same time. 

Shelly McNultyLoomis, Sayles & Company — Analyst

OK. OK.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

So it’s not — you know, there’s either — there’s only so many train crews. There have been employee, you know, work issues also, trying to fill their seats on their train. So most of it’s a labor issue for the railroads. You’ve got the, you know, the vessels on the seas that, you know, just — it’s a logistics timing issue.

So again, our challenge in America is most producers are all sold out.

Shelly McNultyLoomis, Sayles & Company — Analyst

Yes.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

So it’s hard to take full advantage of these high prices that you see in the near term. 

Shelly McNultyLoomis, Sayles & Company — Analyst

OK. And the ability to restock inventory for next year is kind of limited in the sense that some of that capacity that closed during the pandemic, is it able to quickly, you know, restart? Or is there then too much domestic coal capacity permanently shut because of the rhetoric of we don’t want the coal anymore? How do you — is it ever gonna be possible for the utility to restock inventory level to a point where we have a good cushion? And I know it’s dependent on that. I know that is dependent on the policy, too. But are they wanting to restock? Or are they comfortable with operating at these levels of inventory? Have they had —

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Utilities would love to be restocking right now. But they’re more focused on just maintaining their con — you know, getting the coal that they’ve got under contract so that they’re prepared for the winter without having to run out coal. I mean they’re very low, the lowest I’ve seen in a long time. And so everybody is focused on trying to make sure we meet the commitments that they’ve made.

I think as far as restocking, from a producer standpoint, yes, the pandemic did impact coal production by 20%. And once you close that out — those operations it is tough to bring them back. I think that thinking of new operations, I know there’s a couple of people out there trying to do it, but most of what we see of new production is all metallurgical coal. There’s just been an abandonment by most producers of the thermal business.

I mean, we’re one of the very few that’s committed to the thermal business for the life of the power plants through 2035, 2040, 2045. So it’s hard for people to get financing to open new thermal mines. I just don’t see it happening. But there is excess capacity because of the pandemic for people like us to where we don’t have to make large investments.

We just have to hire people to get the full capacity. And I think that’s what most other people would be doing. Most other people that are in the thermal business are doing it the way we’re doing it. And that’s really just working extra hours and trying to increase their production that way as opposed to thinking about making capital investments that would bring on supply that would have an overhang in the future.

Operator

Thank you. Our next questions come from the line of Matthew Fields with Bank of America. Please —

Matthew FieldsBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Hi. I just wanted to ask about kind of the strong balance sheet that you sort of, you know, highlighted that that’s sort of a continuing priority for you. You know, pre-pandemic, you had always kind of talked about one turn of leverage as that kind of comfortable level. And now as we get sort of, you know, into a more favorable environment for you and you’re starting to increase, you know, the distribution, we’re kind of at that one turn of leverage.

And it’s just — you know, I wanted to get a sense of where you are at this inflection point of, you know, balancing the balance sheet versus shareholder interests and kind of where you want to see the balance sheet maintained as you kind of try to address shareholders that haven’t had their distribution in a while.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

I think the objective is the same. I think our — you know, next year probably because EBITDA is going to be higher, you’re going to see that drop below that. Our concern is 2023. There’s a lot of plants that are scheduled to close in the coal space.

We need to see, again, what the Biden policies do, not only legislatively but from a regulatory standpoint, as to whether or not these coal plants will stay up longer or whether they’ll close faster. And so when we are trying to think about, you know, the transition, we need to be able to continue to make acquisitions so that our EBITDA will grow from things other than coal. So that as we look to 2030, 2035 that our company has strong growth for the long term instead of trying to think that the coal business is going to be around for the next 50 years, which would allow us to return to coverage ratios like we’ve had when we had more security that we had a longer runway. So that — you know, I think both the access to capital and the future demand for our product are two major issues that influence what our reserves have to be so that we can have the ability to have a strong balance sheet so that we can survive and no matter what environment is presented to us, but at the same time still be able to return a sufficient amount of cash to the shareholders, which I support strongly as a major shareholder.

But we had to be prudent in looking not only for the short term but for the intermediate term and the challenges our industry faces. And I’m hopeful that — as I said in my prepared remarks, I’m hopeful that our policymakers would accept the fact that you can’t replace fossil fuels overnight. And I don’t know why they — why the financial community thinks that we can. I don’t know why they can’t see the need to finance fossil fuels through the transition as opposed to saying, “Well, I know the transition is going to occur until 2035, 2040, but I’m not — I’m going to stop lending to you tomorrow.” That just doesn’t make sense to me.

But unfortunately, there are banks out there that are taking that position, and so it influences how we can think about our balance sheet, and therefore, we can’t use leverage like most other industries can. So when you look at our balance sheet, it is conservative relative to others because we do have lenders that are shying away from the coal world unfortunately. 

Matthew FieldsBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

So not — you know, at the risk of oversimplifying, it sounds like, you know, trying to play some offense and defense with offense being the, you know, the royalty business and then defense being kind of your strong balance sheet to — in the absence of information on what the regulatory and legislative policy is going to be. And you know, maybe that one turn of leverage, which was a pretty pre-pandemic level, is — are you saying is that — I don’t want to put words in your mouth. So is —

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I mean it — 

Matthew FieldsBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

You know, 450 million of debt too much right now, or —

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

No. No, we think that that’s very doable and we could even take on some more. 

Matthew FieldsBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

OK.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

But what I’m trying to say is we look at different scenarios, and we feel very good about the next four or five years. If markets were working, we would be having a totally different conversation. But unfortunately, we’ve gotten government interference in markets, and it goes through everything we do, whether it’s FERC, whether it’s the Fed, whether it’s the regulatory, I mean, there’s constantly — whether it’s the legislative giving, when and so are all these tax credits when they don’t need them. I mean, they say they don’t need them, and yet the government keeps throwing — they want to throw $300 billion at them, according to the last thing I read.

And some people tell me that it’s really going up to 600 over 20 years. I mean, when it was a year, a year, a year, now all of a sudden, they think they need to do it for 10 years. What’s that all about? So yeah — so we feel like, you know, we can sustain, you know, $500 million or $600 million of debt, but at the same time we need to see how these policies impact other people’s behavior toward — it’s not what we can support, it’s what we can borrow at a reasonable price. 

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

What the financial institutions will allow us to do.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. If that makes — yeah.

Matthew FieldsBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

So practically speaking, does that mean that, you know, you’re gonna have to hold more cash on your balance sheet and depend less on a revolver, which may or may not be as available to you after 2023?

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Or we’re in the process of looking at alternative markets. And there are some. There are people out there that see the strong credit and realize that we’re going to be there for the next 20 years and that we’re a solid credit. So there are alternatives that we’re looking at.

We just don’t have good idea what the pricing is going to be two years from now as opposed to the pricing today. I mean, it’s attractive today, but we don’t need the money today. We need it a couple of years from now when our revolver —

Matthew FieldsBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Are you talking about going into the private debt market or a sort of a private revolver or with a nonbank institution? 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, the latter.

Matthew FieldsBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

OK. That’s very interesting. You know, I appreciate it, and good luck this — the rest of this year and next. Thank you. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. Our next questions come from the line of Scott Ferguson with Pacific Value. Please proceed with your questions.

Scott FergusonPacific Value — Analyst

Hi guys.

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good morning, Scott.

Scott FergusonPacific Value — Analyst

Just a couple questions. I’ll just rattle them off and let you go. But I know you guys touched on this in an earlier question, but just ballpark, the amount of tonnage you guys have booked for next year, how much was booked before this recent price run-up? And then secondly, you guys in the past have mentioned investments that you guys were close to pulling the trigger or were looking at that we’re outside of oil and gas. Are those still on the table, and potential timing? So thanks, guys.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, as far as the booking of business, I’d say that most of this was really pretty ratable ever since our last call. So we booked some in August, September, October. I’d say it’s probably a third, a third, a third. I don’t know, maybe it’s a little — maybe it’s something in that neighborhood would be what I would guess.

I haven’t really looked at it that way, but I would say that it’s probably in that zip code of a third, a third, a third, maybe — yeah, I don’t know. Brian, I’ll defer to you.

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No, that’s about right. I mean, I think if you look at our committed tons at the end of the second quarter — third quarter compared to the end of the second quarter, we about doubled it this quarter. And then, as we mentioned in the call, since the end of the third quarter, we booked another 10.7 million tons of volumes. So tough to time the market, obviously.

I think Joe’s characterization of we are constantly in the market, we’re constantly booking agreements at pricing that’s attractive at that time. So we’ve definitely caught some of the uplift. I mean, the fact that we were able to increase our full-year sales price realizations by $1.10 in one quarter speaks to that. But it has been occurring on a more ratable basis. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

And we increased last quarter.

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Also, in anticipation of some of that. So we’ve got — I mean, our revenue is up. We’re $150 million, I think, for the year. So we were able to capture some of that before the July call, and then we add some after.

As far as the acquisitions, you know, non fossil, what we’re — we’ve looked at in some of the transition-type investments. We’re seeing significant inflation in some of the fundamental elements to go into different aspects of the various different alternatives that we’ve been looking at. We still have — most of the products are actually supplied from overseas, from China. So there’s still been some issues on what the tariffs are going to be and not be.

So as we see the economics of what has driven the growth in some of those renewable spaces, looking forward, it appears to us that the costs are going to be higher, but we haven’t seen a desire on PPA, as an example, of adjusting to that. We’ve also sort of formed a view that if there’s going to be a fast acceleration toward wind solar batteries, then we think that the prices are going to be better a little later than they are today. And it may be prudent to wait a while before jumping into that space, especially if there’s 10-year tax credits instead of one-year tax credits. So much of what was driving a one-year deal was we’re trying to do something sooner than later.

It was because tax credits were expiring. It sounds like they’re going to get extended, so to me, that takes some of the urgency off and allows for participation at a better entry point than trying to do something sooner compared to later. 

Operator

Thank you. Our next questions come from the line of Arthur Calavritinos with ANC Capital. Please proceed with your questions.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Thank you very much, guys. Hi, it’s great to see these numbers in black and white, so good for you and good for us. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Question I had, Joe, I’m reading all this stuff in India, three days’ worth of supply. Spain is a disaster. England had to turn on a coal plant, which is basically going to blow up, but they’ve realized the wind doesn’t blow, and all this other stuff. And I was wondering if those guys have to — they have to take their inventories worldwide.

They’re realizing it now. What does that mean, I mean, for you? Because you made a statement earlier, which caught my attention when you said you’d rather keep the coal domestically because you want three-year contracts, and I get that. And at some point, I got to think that guys in India, you know, pick a country are going to be like we’re going to play and we’re going to do the three-year contracts or something like that. And I’m sure you’re probably getting phone calls from those guys.

So how does this play out? Because I just got to think your phone is going to be ringing off the hook with guys that are finally saying, “OK, I’m not going to do a one-year or less-than-year contract. I want to go longer for a certain price.” Because if you run out of electricity in like India, I mean, the guy running utility is going to get killed, right? I mean, in all these countries. I mean, I don’t think the guys — people get what’s going on out there. So just if you could just expand on that.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So a couple of things. We, as I mentioned earlier, we are having conversation with some export customers that are willing to commit longer term. Back to your point.

Second — 

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Is that news? Is that news to them? Is that like — did they finally acquiesce and OK, that’s the new paradigm?

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we — yeah, this year, we actually had a customer that committed for a full year. You know, normally they’re quarter to quarter, vessel by vessel is what we participated in. So this year, we’ve had actually two customers that have committed for longer term within a year. Now, we’re talking about even longer.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

OK.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

I think when you look at Europe, one of the — you know, you’re exactly right. I mean, it’s sort of — should be a wake-up call. But what we are seeing is now we’ve got oil being — replacing natural gas even. These guys are trying to scramble around to try to make sure that people have enough gas for the winter.

So it’s — I’ve never seen anything like this is all I can say. And —

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

OK, what — go ahead. I’m sorry, go ahead. I’m sorry, go ahead.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. But we’re very focused on trying to take, you know, full benefit of what the markets give us, but you know, we feel that our best policy is to really think longer term and short term. 

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

OK, and —

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Given the headwind and spacing our coal industry come in politically like I’ve mentioned before.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Oh, no. Look, I mean, I don’t know what the industry would have been like if you took the pro forma closures for ’23 and you had them this year, right? 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Correct.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

And then those electrons get substituted by nat gas. I mean, I’m in Boston, nat gas in Maine is like at the — terminus there is like 20 bucks, right? We’re at 550 on a cushion. And guys still don’t get this because they look at gasoline in terms of what energy costs are rather than electricity until it hits, which is going to start hitting in about two or three months. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Can you get work — I’ve talked to guys — energy guys, and one of the things that has come back from some utility guys, well, they worry about is the ability you guys being able to get workers an extra shift, we start to mine. Because I’m sure, there’s a lot of guys that, even though the pay would be greater, probably wouldn’t want to go back because they’re like, “I can make more money for a year. But then the administration, all the talk this coal is going away, other than make less money and have more certainty in what I’m doing, then just go to a coal — I mean, mine coal for a year.” Just wondering how tough it is, you know —

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, that’s why it’s important to get long-term contracts so that we can not only talk about it, but reinforce it with commitment. There’s potential that we have some even longer-term contracts that we’re in conversations with right now. But one of the things — I may have mentioned this — I don’t know. I’ve had so many calls.

I don’t know which call or whether it’s last quarter or not. But we have one customer that actually came to our coal mines and talked to our men, saying we need you, we need you for 15 years. That’s how long, at a minimum, that’s how long our plants are going to run. So we appreciate what you do.

And even though we can’t commit for 15 years contractually because of company policy, but we’re here to tell you that we need you. And that was very impactful. And so what we’ve seen is with the fortunes that have turned, and with the price signals that we have, and the opportunity to reposition our pay policies without in a way to make it more attractive, people had a taste of going to a manufacturing job that is the same thing every day. Whereas when they come to coal mine, it’s different every day.

Every day they work, they’re working in a different place. And so we’ve had great success. We’ve hired over 150 people in the last quarter that had left us earlier in a year.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Wow. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Because they see the opportunity over the next several years. 

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

OK. Good to hear.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

And as I mentioned, we were just able to recruit two shifts in Eastern Kentucky, which is amazing, given the fact that we’re competing against metallurgical coal guys. They’re trying to hire the same folks. So we’ve got great benefits, we got great culture, we got great people. We feel if anybody can hire employees, it’s us.

So we feel that — I’m sure there’s other of our competitors who feel the same way, but I mean, we’ve — like I said, we’ve been able to hire that many people just in the last quarter, given the strength of these three-year contracts that we’ve been able to secure during that time. So we’re — yeah. At the same time, if Biden comes out and says pay people more money to stay at home —

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Yeah, not everybody became a computer coder. Like, you know, the two administrations ago said all the coal miners were going to become computer programmers. So yeah. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yes.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Yeah. Let me ask you one other thing, you said something to [Inaudible]. Utilities, if they mothball a coal plant and to restart it, it doesn’t happen overnight. You made a statement like that earlier on the remarks.

I mean —

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

That was a coal — those were coal mines. Not the util — I think one’s the —

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Coal mines.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Not the on — not the — OK, got it. It was the mines.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Not the utilities. I think once the coal plant is offline, it’s very, very — it’s very unlikely that it’ll start back up now. Having said that, there is a plant in the UK that they went back and brought out of the 

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Out of mothball, yeah.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. But it’s unlikely that you’ll see any coal plant that’s been closed brought back into service until the policies change, unless the Federal —

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

And one — I’m sorry.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Unless by — unless the government says we need you. Like they did in 1970s when we had an energy crisis here.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Do you think — last one and I’ll take it with you guys offline. I got to think there’s got to be a price on nat gas electricity eventually that gets people to get off your back and realize what’s going on. And plus, like, I think with Yuri superstorm, the cold storm in — the event in Texas, in Houston, I mean, to me, that would have been the wake-up call, but it seems like we’ve forgotten about it. As you think — as I think about it and you think about it, is there like a price where people via electricity bills — like I said, they haven’t been reset yet for the rates.

They’re starting to but they haven’t fully, and plus we’re in a seasonal low. That that’s the wake-up call. I mean, because I think eventually price drives all regulations.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

You think so? Yeah, yeah. When you look at fossil fuels, mostly oil and some natural gas, what it does and permeates through any and all products. This morning, I think it was Wall Street Journal had a deal on baby diapers. 

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Right. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

And showing the increasing cost of baby diapers and traced it back to lumber and oil. And that’s true with so many products that we use. I think that’s the one thing that most people in America don’t understand is all the byproducts that we use day to day that are derivative oil. But back to your question, I think it’s going to take more than price.

I think it’s going to take blackouts before the politicians start to say, “Wow, I didn’t know my policies were going to impact people’s lives like they did in Texas where you had over 50 people die.” I’m afraid that that’s what’s going to take to get the policymakers and the CEOs of banks and the BlackRocks of the world —

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Yeah, I agree with you.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Will realize that the policies we’re advocating here, and they’re going to China and they’re investing over there but they won’t say a word. China’s 70% coal-fired generation. They got more power plants being built today than we have in existence. And they say nothing. 

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Yeah, no, no, I think — 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

You think that would wake up America, but…

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Yeah, no, yeah, you’re right. Unfortunately, I agree with you. It’s going to take like — it’s going to have to take blackouts like, I mean, in the Boston area, like in January or February when it’s cold. And you know — or you shut down electricity and manufacturing plants.

When I was a kid in the 70s, that’s — I think that’s what happened. They just shut stuff down, you know. And even if FERC sent a notice out to the grid operators in this region, and they just said, you got to store more nat gas. And it’s like, thanks for the warning, but people don’t get it yet.

You’re going to need a black — you’re going to need blackouts and in the wintertime, you know, or something like — unfortunately, something like that. OK. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, unfortunately.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Unfortunately. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

All right, thank you very much. And I’ll be back offline with you, guys.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

You bet.

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Or I’ll call you guys. Thank you.

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks.

Operator

Thank you. Our next questions come from the line of Andrew Cosgrove with Bloomberg. Please proceed with your questions.

Andrew CosgroveBloomberg Intelligence — Analyst

Hey, gentlemen, thanks for taking my questions. Just one, if you could just give us an idea on where current IOB prices are today. And then, I guess along the same lines would be assuming — you know, if you could expand if it’s like the new kind of range for gas. Obviously, hot month is five.

But if we were to settle somewhere closer to 350, what do you think the right price for IOB coal is in that environment?

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I think most of the publications you see out there are showing prices in the $80 to $90 range for Illinois Basin pricing today. I think that anything above $4 can support prices that high if you’re just looking at coal versus gas competition. At the same time, if you start thinking about coal on coal, it would drop the price down to some other price level, which we just don’t see happening in 2022. It may happen toward the end of the year, it may not.

I just feel like that, you know, it’s really difficult to bring on enough volume to meet the demand. I mean, as I said in my prepared remarks, if there had been enough coal supply, you know, we would have seen more coal consumed in the fourth quarter than what we’re going to see. And so right now, as far as trying to get coal — now, they can get Powder River Basin in the market easier, and you can — the underground mines in the East. And then you’re also facing the competition of the export market like an earlier caller talked about that there are some folks that are looking more to just sell on the export market in the short term, but I can’t give you an exact price on the 350.

We don’t see it going to 350. It’s possible, it could, but we will be definitely booked up in 2022 before that happens.

Andrew CosgroveBloomberg Intelligence — Analyst

All right, OK, I mean I think the caller, as far as what you just said, with anything over $4 supporting somewhere near spot is pretty telling in and of itself, so I appreciate that. I guess the other one would be if you could maybe expand on, you know, any inflation on the rail side or the bar side. And maybe if you could just refresh my memory as far as how you guys move coal down to the Gulf Coast, and then anything as far as what that cost today versus where it was and where it might be going. Because I know, on the net side, for rail specifically, I guess the rules prior to what’s coming up next year was around 20 bucks a ton.

And obviously, I know we’re talking about different geographies, but that’s going to double next year. So I was just curious, you know, what that looks like in you guys’ neck of the woods.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

I think on the transportation side, I don’t consider it really inflation as a cost push to their pricing. 

Andrew CosgroveBloomberg Intelligence — Analyst

Right.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

I think it’s more just — it’s all really supply and demand as the who can pay the — who’s going to pay what price and what movement.

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

And we will commit. 

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So on the domestic side, on the rail side, that’s usually determined by our customers, and then they usually have long-term contract, they have pricing associated with that. So when we think about pricing for domestic shipments, in large part, the customers are able to maintain those prices that may be back to your inflationary-type levels. Then when you get into the spot market, it’s just based on total supply and demand at the time you are shipping.

And earlier — right now, last six — 60 days, both rail and large shipment pricing was up quite a bit to get their fair share, as they would say, of the economic grant of the higher prices. But going forward, you know, I think that we factored all those in as to how we look at what our cash flows would be. And you know, we’re going to have a very strong 2022 unless the bottom falls out of the economy.

Andrew CosgroveBloomberg Intelligence — Analyst

OK. And then just the last one would just be around — can you just remind me where the bookings were for 2023 before 3Q? So, where you exit 2Q at in 2023. And I think you said you’re at 15.8 million tons right now?

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

All right. 

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, give me just a second.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Brian is looking that up. If you got another question or if anybody else has one?

Andrew CosgroveBloomberg Intelligence — Analyst

Yeah, I guess the other one I think you kind of answered before but the willingness from utilities is going to keep more coal on the ground from an inventory standpoint. I guess you guys kind of said that they’re just really just trying to focus on what they’ve contract out so far and what — they’re just focusing on those deliveries versus building up so much strategic stockpiles, right?

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Right, yeah, that’s what I think.

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, and since the second quarter, we’ve booked about 8.2 million tons into 2023.

Andrew CosgroveBloomberg Intelligence — Analyst

OK. All right, that’s all I had. And thank you, gentlemen, I really appreciate it, and good luck for the rest of the year.

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Thank you. There are no further questions at this time. I’d like to turn the call back over to Brian Cantrell for any closing remarks.

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Darryl. Good discussion this morning and we appreciate everybody’s time, as well as your continued support and interest in Alliance. Our next call to discuss our fourth quarter and full-year 2021 financial and operating results is currently expected to occur in late January, and we hope you will all join us again at that time. This concludes our call for today.

Thanks to everyone for your participation and continued support of ARLP.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 72 minutes

Call participants:

Brian CantrellSenior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Joe CraftChairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Nathan MartinThe Benchmark Company — Analyst

Lin ShenHITE Hedge Asset Management LLC — Analyst

Shelly McNultyLoomis, Sayles & Company — Analyst

Matthew FieldsBank of America Merrill Lynch — Analyst

Scott FergusonPacific Value — Analyst

Arthur CalavritinosANC Capital — Analyst

Andrew CosgroveBloomberg Intelligence — Analyst

More ARLP analysis

All earnings call transcripts

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.


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