Consol Energy wants investors to start viewing it as more of a gas company than a gas and coal conglomerate, and is prepared to sell assets to finance more drilling in the gas fields of Appalachia, company Chief Executive Officer J. Brett Harvey said this morning.
Consol's growing presence in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale and Ohio's Utica Shale will be funded in part through the selling or restructuring of other elements of its portfolio, such as its barge or pipeline businesses.
A master-limited partnership of sale-leaseback of the assets are possible avenues expected to be pursued this year, he said. Consol is also negotiating with firms to export natural gas from Atlantic ports to overseas markets, though Mr. Harvey declined to say which continents the company is targeting.
The Cecil-based energy firm is a bit of an anomaly in the local energy market, with substantial coal and natural gas operations that force the company to be a bit "schizophrenic," said Mr. Harvey.
Investors interested in coal companies tend to focus on quarterly earnings, whereas gas investors are more focused on the long-term, he said.
Mr. Harvey spoke with reporters following the company's annual shareholder meeting at the Pittsburgh's Hyatt hotel. The company took the unusual step of barring media from attending the meeting, which Mr. Harvey said attracted about five shareholders.
Mr. Harvey also announced Wednesday that the company had successfully sealed off a portion of its Blacksville No. 2 coal mine in Greene County, where a fire broke out in March and idled operations. Consol is working with the Mine Safety and Health Administration on a timetable to re-establish operations.
"We think tomorrow's good," Mr. Harvey joked.
Erich Schwartzel: email@example.com or 412-263-1455. First Published May 8, 2013 12:15 AM