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CONSOL Energy Announces Operations Update

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) is providing an operations update for the quarter ended September 30, 2013. The company produced and sold more gas and coal during the quarter than expected. CONSOL also signed a definitive agreement for infrastructure build-out in the Utica Shale, in Noble County, Ohio.

CONSOL's Gas Division produced 46.1 Bcfe for the 2013 third quarter, or 17% more than the 39.5 Bcfe produced in the 2012 third quarter. Third quarter production guidance had been 43 − 45 Bcfe. The 2013 third quarter production included 491 MMcf per day of natural gas, 397 barrels per day of oil/condensates, and 1,340 barrels per day of NGLs (all figures are net to CONSOL).  

"Our gas production growth is beginning to accelerate as we and our Marcellus Shale partner expand the rig count. We now have a record 8 rigs drilling in the Marcellus Shale on our JV acreage. For 2014, we and Noble Energy expect to be operating at least this many rigs," commented J. Brett Harvey, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our rebounding rig count and our well results will, we believe, enable us to achieve our 2014 production guidance of 210 – 225 Bcfe, which represents a 22% – 30% growth rate over expected 2013 production."

CONSOL's Coal Division produced 14.5 million tons for the third quarter of 2013, including 1.1 million tons of low-vol coking coal from the company's Buchanan Mine. These figures exceeded third quarter guidance of 13.4 – 13.9 million tons, which included low-vol tons of 0.7 – 0.9 million tons. These production results were achieved despite the operational challenge that was overcome at the company's Pennsylvania Operations.

As of September 30, 2013, CONSOL's total coal inventory increased by 158,000 tons to 1,075,000 tons. Thermal coal inventory increased by 198,000 tons to 971,000 tons, while low-vol coal inventory decreased by 40,000 tons, to 104,000 tons.

CONSOL Energy will formally announce third quarter results on October 31. Currently, the company believes pre-tax income for the quarter could be modestly positive, after adjusting for several discrete items: asset sale gains, pension settlement expense, title defects expense, and consultant fees. However, net income is likely to be a loss for the quarter.

2013 Forecasts

Gas: CONSOL Energy expects fourth quarter 2013 gas production, net to CONSOL, to be between 46 – 48 Bcfe, which, using the midpoint of the range, would be a 12% increase as compared with the 41.8 Bcfe produced in the fourth quarter of 2012. If achieved, this would result in 2013 annual production of approximately 170 – 172 Bcfe, which is within our earlier 2013 guidance of 170 – 175 Bcfe.

Coal: CONSOL Energy expects fourth quarter 2013 coal production to be between 13.6 – 14.0 million tons. If achieved, annual 2013 total coal production will be between 56.7 – 57.1 million tons. Buchanan Mine's fourth quarter production is expected to be between 0.7 – 0.9 million tons; and, if achieved, annual low-vol production will be between 4.3 – 4.5 million tons.

2014 Gas Forecast

CONSOL Energy expects 2014 production guidance to remain unchanged at 210 – 225 Bcfe, which represents a 22% - 30% growth rate over the midpoint of the 2013 forecast. The 2014 production guidance assumes a liquids content of between 7% – 8% of the total.

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