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Consol Energy Gas production hits record high

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Consol Energy's natural gas production is up.

The Pittsburgh-based company reported producing a record 48.4 Bcfe in the 2014 first quarter, which was within the guidance range of 47 — 49 Bcfe. Gas production was 23 percent higher than the 39.2 Bcfe produced in the same quarter a year-earlier. The growth engine for gas production is the Marcellus Shale, where 2014 first quarter production of 20.7 Bcfe was nearly double the 10.7 Bcfe produced a year earlier.

Consol Energy re-affirmed its annual gas production guidance of 215 — 235 Bcfe.

"Despite operating during the coldest winter in the past thirty years, Consol Energy's gas operations and coal mines again demonstrated strong performance," Consol President Nicholas J. DeIuliis said.

Meanwhile in coal, Consol's coal mines produced 8.1 million tons in the first quarter of 2014, including 1.1 million tons of low-vol coking coal at Buchanan Mine. Coal sales approximated production. The company's new BMX Mine began longwall production, as scheduled, in mid-March, and is running normally.

On the demand side, thermal coal demand has been strong, while met coal demand, especially in Asia, has been weak. Consol soon may have to exert some additional production discipline at its Buchanan Mine. In accounting for the difference in market strength between met and thermal coal markets, Consol Energy is raising its annual coal production guidance range from 30.1 — 32.1 million tons to 31 — 33 million tons.

Separately, Consol Energy will be presenting its income statement for the 2014 first quarter in a new format that separates coal expenses from gas expenses. The newly recast income statement is being presented to increase transparency and understanding of the company's businesses. Quarterly historical income statements (pro forma, to reflect the sale of five mines) for 2012 and 2013 in the new format have been posted to the investor relations section of the company's website, at www.consolenergy.com.