Noble result for Consol

IT REMAINS a major player in the US coal sector but oil and gas is fast becoming a major part of its business.

Noel Dyson

This was made clear by Consol Energy’s announcement yesterday of the results from its much anticipated three-well NBL 19 pad in northern Noble County Ohio, which had initial production rates exceeding 23 million cubic feet equivalent per day, per lateral, with controlled pressure drawdown.

The three wells were turned into production last week and are adjacent to Consol’s NBL 16 pad. That pad contains two wells: NBL 16A and NBL 16B.

NBL 16A has a lateral length of about 4900 feet and tested at 12MMcf per day plus 768 barrels of oil per day.

NBL 16B has a lateral length of 3400 feet and is undergoing completion.

Both NBL 16 wells are expected to be in production by September.

Next to the NBL 16 pad is the five-well NBL 18 pad with average lateral lengths of about 5400 feet.

The five NBL 18 wells are getting fracced and are expected to be in production in October.

Nearby is the three well NBL 30 pad with average lateral lengths of about 4800 feet.

The NBL 30 pad is undergoing completion activity and is expected to be turned into production in September.

Consol exploration and production division produced 51.9 billion cubic feet equivalent for the 2014 second quarter. That is up 34% on the 38.6Bcfe produced in the 2013 second quarter.

Gas production was in line with the second quarter guidance of 50-52Bcfe.

Second quarter production included 542MMcf per day of natural gas, 1209bpd of oil and condensates and 3514bpd of natural gas liquids.

On the drilling front, Consol set a record in the Marcellus Shale for the longest lateral drilled. That was on the NV34G well in Washington County, Pennsylvania, at a measured depth and drilled lateral length of 18,770 feet and 10,970 feet respectively.

Consol also managed to drill four laterals with one drill rig in May on the NV58 well.

Meanwhile, Consol’s coal division produced 8.3 million short tons for the 2014 second quarter, including 1Mt of low volatility coking coal from the Buchanan Mine.

This result is also in line with second quarter guidance of 8.1-8.5Mt, including 850,000-950,000t of low volatility coal.

Geological issues at the Enlow Fork Mine and equipment issues at Harvey Mine impacted costs. These were partially offset though by outperformance at the Bailey Mine.

The Bailey Mine had record production of 2.6Mt in April.

The Enlow Fork Mine sealing project, which involved sealing 11 airshafts and eliminating about 11km of underground belt and track haulage, was finished on time on June 30.

The sealing project was made possible by the overland belts and slope commissioned in the first quarter of 2014.

Consol expects to get more than $US3 ($A3.2) million in annual power savings. Maintenance costs and potential risks to employees working in those older areas of the mine will be eliminated. The mine is about 70% sealed.

Of the 7Mt of thermal coal produced in the quarter, 6.5Mt were from northern Appalachia and 500,000t were from central Appalachia.

Looking forward, Consol expects its net third quarter gas production to be 59-61Bcfe. Using the midpoint of the range that would be a 30% increase compared to the 46.1Bcfe produced in the 2013 third quarter.

The company expects the Marcellus and Utica shale programs to be back-end weighted with about 70% of the combined wells coming on line during the second half of the year.

Annual 2014 total gas production is estimated to be 225-235Bcfe, with the low end of that range up 10Bcfe from earlier guidances.

The 2014 production guidance assumes liquids content between 5% and 8% of the total.

Production guidance for 2015 and 2016 remains the same at annual growth rates of 30%, with liquids content increasing to 10-15% of total production in 2016.

On the coal front Consol expects its third quarter production to be 7.3-7.7Mt, down on the second quarter. The decrease is due to normal miner holiday schedules.

Annual 2014 total coal production guidance remains the same at 31-33Mt.

Buchanan Mine’s third quarter production is expected to be between 750,000t and 850,000t, while annual low volatility coal production is estimated at 3.4-3.8Mt. That is down from the previous 2014 guidance of 3.6-4.2Mt due to continued market weakness. That mine is prepared to return to higher production levels when market pricing and demand rebounds.

Consol will be reporting its financial results for the quarter ending June 30 on July 29.

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