CONSOL Energy consoles its customers with the warming benefits of coal and natural gas. CONSOL is one of the US's largest coal mining companies, along with Peabody Energy and Arch Coal. In 2013 the company had some 3 billion tons of proved and probable reserves, mainly in northern and central Appalachia. CONSOL primarily mines high BTU coal, which burns cleaner than lower grades. Customers include electric utilities and steel mills. CONSOL delivers coal using its own railroad cars, terminals, and barges. The company also engages in natural gas exploration and production through CNX Gas.
CONSOL has operations in the US (Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia) and Canada.
The company mines primarily bituminous coal at 12 mining complexes in the US. In 2013, 94% of CONSOL's coal production came from underground mines and 6% from surface mines.
It is also engaged in natural gas (primarily coalbed methane) production in Appalachia through CNX Gas. In 2013 it controlled 5.7 trillion cu. ft. of net proved natural gas reserves of gas, and operated more than 13,000 net wells.
In addition to its coal and gas businesses, CONSOL distributes mining and industrial supplies through its Fairmont Supply unit. In 2013 37% of Fairmont's business was with its parent company.
Sales and Marketing
The company sells coal through agents and to brokers and unaffiliated trading companies. Coal is transported from CONSOL Energy's mining complexes to customers by railroad cars and trucks.
CONSOL's revenues have been restated due to divestiture of the Consolidation Coal subsidiary (which included all five of its longwall coal mines in West Virginia) to a subsidiary of Murray Energy. In 2013 the company’s revenues declined by 39% to $3.3 billion due to the decrease in coal revenues due to lower thermal and metallurgical coals prices as a result of weakening in the global coal market.
However, CONSOL's net income increased by 70% due to adecline in the operating costs and higher income from discontinued operations.
Cash inflow in 2013 decreased to $658.8 million (compared to $728.1 million in 2012) thanks to an increase in the net income, income from discontinued operations, and changes in the gain on the sale of assets.
With the coal markets under a lot of political pressure in the US, CONSOL is looking to hedge its bets through diversification. It is seeking to grow its existing gas assets and make selective acquisition of gas and liquids acreage leases within its footprint, while continuing to maintain and grow its profitable thermal and metallurgical coal segments.
In 2014 it signed a deal with Ineos Europe AG, part of the Ineos Group, to export ethane via Sunoco Logistics' Mariner East infrastructure and the Marcus Hook Delaware River port for use in Ineos' European cracker complexes. The agreement builds on plans to transport high-value propane and ethane by pipeline from Western Pennsylvania to Marcus Hook, where the materials will be processed and shipped by sea to domestic and export markets. (This is the company's second recent ethane transaction; the first was with Royal Dutch Shell to supply ethane to its planned cracker facility in Beaver County, Pennsylvania).
Facing declining demand and high debt, the company is also selling noncore assets to generate cash.
In 2013 CONSOL sold Consolidation Coal and certain subsidiaries to a unit of Murray Energy. These coal mines produced 26.7 million tons of thermal coal in 2013 and had 1.1 billion tons of coal reserves. After the Murray Energy transaction, CONSOL's coal division focuses on the extraction and processing of coal primarily in Pennsylvania and Virginia.
That year CONSOL also sold its 50% interest in the CONSOL/ Devon Energy joint venture in Alberta, Canada (coal leases related to Grassy Mountain, Bellevue, Adanac, and Lynx Creek) for $24.7 million.
In 2013 it also sold its Potomac coal reserves in Grant and Tucker Counties in West Virginia for $25 million.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2013 CONSOL acquired the gas drilling rights to 90,000 contiguous acres from Dominion Transmission, a unit of Dominion Resources. The acreage, which is associated with Dominion’s Fink-Kennedy, Lost Creek, and Racket Newberne gas storage fields in West Virginia, lies in the northern portion of Lewis County and the southern portion of Harrison County. CONSOL anticipates that over one-half of the acres will have wet gas. It also acquired the gas rights to both the Marcellus Shale and the Upper Devonian formations in the storage fields.
BlackRock, Southeastern Asset Management, Wellington Management Company, and T. Rowe Price Associates own 13%, 11%, 10%, and 10% of the company, respectively.