Most natural gas producers and ALL coal miners are losing money at the current price of natural gas and coal (thermal and met). Gas wells must be capped and coal mines must be closed until prices improve. Probably won't happen in 2013 and a few more companies will go under.
On the positive side, keep in mind the gas issue is only in the US - 43% of BTU sales were outside the US last year probably higher this year.
For an interesting read, see the NYTimes online article "In New England, a Natural Gas Trap":
Electricity prices in New England have been four to eight times higher than normal in the last few weeks, as the region’s extreme reliance on natural gas for power supplies has collided with a surge in demand for heating.
Did read this, history. The high natural gas fluctuations only occur in the New England area. Spot price for natural gas seems to be headed below $3 Very good discussion on the NRP message board. Good reason to keep coal around but Obama is trying to kill it.
I think you make a good point with the natural gas.
Having lower natural gas prices doesn't seem to help the price of coal very much.
Natural gas rigs are down from last year.
If we draw down on gas reserves and throw in some colder weather maybe natural gas will go
higher and help the price of coal