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CONSOL Energy Announces Operations Update; Gas Division Sets Drilling Record With Rotary Steering Tool; Coal Exports Drive First Quarter Sales Above Guidance

Noble Energy is currently operating three horizontal rigs and expects to add a fourth rig during the second quarter. Noble Energy expects to add two more rigs later in the year to support drilling a total of 85 wells in the Marcellus Shale wet gas area in 2013.

Ohio Utica Shale (CONSOL-operated):

In the Utica Shale joint venture with Hess Corporation, CONSOL Energy drilled the first two of three wells on the NBL 11 pad in Noble County: The Noble 11A and 11B with a lateral length of 6,236 feet and 5,986 feet, respectively. Drilling is ongoing at the Noble 11C well.

During the first quarter, completion work was finished at the MAH 2A well, located in Mahoning County, where the 2,785 foot lateral, with nine frac stages, tested at a 24-hour flow rate of 1.4 MMcf/d and 240 barrels of oil/day after a 60-day shut-in period. Also, the 7,568 foot TUSC 8A well in Tuscarawas County was stimulated with 24 stages and shut-in for 60-days for frac water dissipation. Flowback operations are expected to begin in late April and results will be reported at the end of the second quarter. CONSOL's first multi-well pad in the Utica Shale was recently completed at the two-well MAH 7 pad where the 5,411 foot lateral MAH 7A well and 5,290 foot MAH 7C well were stimulated in 18 and 16 frac stages, respectively. Both wells are currently shut-in for frac water dissipation and flowback is expected to begin late in the second quarter. 

CONSOL currently has two horizontal rigs drilling in the Utica; however, one rig will be released after drilling the third and final well at NBL 11, which is expected to take place within the month. Thereafter, CONSOL will operate one rig in the Utica to drill the three-well NBL 33 pad, followed by the three-well NBL 19 pad, and then the five-well NBL 18 pad, of which the first two wells are expected to be drilled in 2013. CONSOL expects to drill eleven wells, all in Noble County, during 2013.  

Ohio Utica Shale (Hess-operated):

Our joint venture partner, Hess Corporation, drilled one well during the first quarter, the Cadiz A 1H-23 in Harrison County and is currently drilling JV wells at the Oxford A 2H-8 in Guernsey County and the Athens A 2H-24 in Harrison County. 

Stimulation operations were completed at the 15 stage Jeffco 1H-6 well in Harrison County, which tested at 7.4 MMcf/d with flowing tubing pressure of 3,882 psi. The Cadiz A 1H-23 well was completed with 22 stages. Drillout and flowback operations are currently underway prior to a planned 90-day shut-in period for frac water dissipation.                                                              

In the Utica Shale, Hess finished the first quarter with two horizontal rigs operating on JV acreage and plans to drill 16 joint wells during 2013.

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