NEW YORK (AP) Consol Energy Inc.'s coal production fell 5 percent in the second quarter after it began trimming operations at some mines because of weak demand.
The Pittsburgh coal and natural gas producer also said Friday that its natural gas production rose 10 percent from the same quarter last year.
The news drove Consol Energy's shares up 3 percent in afternoon trading.
Consol, like other coal producers, has been plagued by weak demand. Utilities have been switching from coal to cheaper natural gas to power electric generators. At the same time, demand has fallen for steel in the slowing global economy.The company said it produced 14.6 million tons of coal during the April-through-June quarter. That compared with 15.4 million tons produced in the second quarter of 2011. Natural gas production totaled 37.3 billion cubic feet, compared with 34 billion cubic feet produced a year ago. Consol has forecast third-quarter production of coal at 14 million tons to 14.5 million tons and natural gas at 40 billion cubic feet to 42 billion cubic feet. Its 2012 outlook for natural gas production was unchanged at net 157 billion cubic feet to 159 billion cubic feet. Earlier this year, Consol began cutting back coal production. In June, it said it would suspend operations at a West Virginia coal mine at the end of August. Shares of Consol rose 94 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $31.63 in afternoon trading. The price has ranged between $26.41 and $55.02 in the past 52 weeks.
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