Consol drills first well in Upper Devonian shale

Posted July 15, 2013

CANONSBURG – Consol Energy Inc. said Monday it successfully drilled its first natural gas well in the Upper Devonian Shale play.

Specifically, Consol drilled its Upper Devonian Shale well in the Burkett formation, which is the deepest of numerous Upper Devonian shales. The Burkett is the only Upper Devonian shale which falls within the ownership of the joint venture with Noble Energy.

Consol said in a press release it chose to drill its first well in the Burkett to test the potential interaction with deeper Marcellus Shale wells and to benefit from jointly-owned surface infrastructure. The company, the largest diversified energy producer in the eastern U.S., said its future Upper Devonian Shale wells will include wells drilled in 100 percent Consol-owned strata.

The company said that while all of its acreage in Southwestern Pennsylvania and Northern West Virginia has the potential for the existence of the Upper Devonian Shale formation, its initial geologic estimates show that it controls 300,000 acres with commercial Upper Devonian Shale potential.

The company’s first Upper Devonian Shale well is located in Greene County. The joint venture well was drilled to a total measured depth of 12,490 feet, with a lateral length of 4,889 feet, and was completed in 17 stages. The well was fractured together with five underlying Marcellus Shale wells and has been flowing at a sustained rate of 3 million cubic feet per day.

Overall, Consol said its gas division produced 38.6 billion cubic feet for the 2013 second quarter or 3 percent more than the 37.3 Bcfe produced in the 2012 second quarter.

The 2013 second quarter production included 418 MMcf per day of natural gas, 335 barrels per day of oil/condensates, and 655 barrels per day of natural gas liquids.

Consol’s coal division produced 13.8 million tons for the second quarter of 2013, including 1.2 million tons of low-volume coking coal from the company’s Buchanan Mine. Although second quarter sales at Buchanan were higher than expected, low-vol prices weakened as the quarter progressed.

During the second quarter of 2013, Consol said its total coal inventory decreased by 47,000 tons to 917,000 tons as of June 30, which marks a new 15-year low inventory level. Thermal coal inventory decreased by 102,000 tons to 773,000 tons during the quarter, as customers continued to take all contracted tonnage. Low-vol coal inventory increased during the quarter by 55,000 tons, to 144,000 tons.

For the third quarter, Consol said it expects gas production, to be between 43 and 45 Bcfe, which is an estimated 14 percent increase compared with the 38.6 Bcfe produced in the second quarter.

The Southpointe-based company said it expects third quarter total coal production to be between 13.4 and 13.9 million tons.

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