Consol earnings for fourth quarter below 2011 level

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Asset sales helped Consol Energy during a year that saw low coal demand and low coal prices, according to earnings released today.

The company reported a fourth-quarter net income of $150 million, or 65 cents per diluted share, down from the $196 million and 85 cents seen the same time one year ago, the Cecil-based energy company said.

Net income for 2012 was $388 million, or $1.70 per diluted share.

That's down from 2011's net income of $632 million and $2.76 per share.

Over the past year, Consol made $350 million from selling non-revenue producing assets such as coal reserves throughout Appalachia and Western Canada. The company said it expects to continue selling assets in 2013.

Still, executives said the company was able to get coal to clients who wanted it.

"Our 100 percent-owned Baltimore Terminal saw near-record shipments, as Consol was able to continue to participate in the growth of world coal markets," said J. Brett Harvey, Consol chairman and CEO. "Consol executed well in a tough macro environment characterized by a tepid economy and unusually warm winter weather."

Fourth-quarter revenue fell by about $200 million from last year, to $1.2 billion, owing to a drop in coal sales and lower coal prices. The company's natural gas division saw its revenue stay flat in the fourth quarter at $9.4 million.

Consol continues to lease land in Ohio's Utica Shale gas formation, telling investors it plans to drill 27 wells there in 2013 as part of a joint venture with Hess Energy.

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Erich Schwartzel: eschwartzel@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1455.


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