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Consolidated CEO: Too Soon To Call Bottom In Coal, Nat Gas Markets

--Slump may not be over for natural gas, power-plant coal prices, Consol chief says --Nymex natural gas futures down 53% in the last year; coal off 21% --Consol's 1Q profit fell 49% from a year earlier, to $97.2 million By Matt Day Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- It's too soon to say the slumping prices of power-plant coal and natural gas have hit their lows for the year, the chief executive of coal and gas producer Consol Energy Inc. (CNX) said on Thursday. A supply glut of natural gas in the United States has pushed prices of the heating and power-plant fuel to a series of decade lows this spring. That's dragged coal prices lower, as U.S. utilities favored burning cheaper natural gas. "Energy markets have always been very volatile," J. Brett Harvey said on a conference call to discuss Consol's first-quarter results, adding that he was "not ready" to call a bottom in the browbeaten markets. Benchmark natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 53% in the year ended Wednesday, to $2.068 a million British thermal units. Coal futures on Nymex, which track prices for the type of coal mined in Central Appalachia, fell 21% during the same period, to $66.65 a ton. Prices of both have rebounded slightly from this spring's lows. An unusually warm winter saw U.S. power plants run at a slower rate than normal, and stockpiles of both coal and natural gas ballooned. Some of Consol's utility customers have deferred delivery of previously-purchased coal, forcing the company to export some of its planned coal shipments to customers abroad. Harvey said industrywide production cuts in both coal and natural gas will eventually balance supply with low demand, leading to a recovery in prices. Pennsylvania-based Consol, historically a coal producer, entered the gas business in 2010 with a $3.47 billion deal for Dominion Resources Inc.'s (D) Appalachian natural gas exploration and production operations. The company has since partnered with Hess Corp. (HES) and Noble Energy Inc. (NBL) to develop some of its gas holdings. Harvey said consol was focusing its gas-drilling program on areas expected to yield higher-priced crude oil and natural gas liquids such as propane and butane to limit the company's exposure to low prices for so-called dry natural gas. The company, Harvey said, is prepared to further trim its spending programs should coal or gas demand weaken. Consol on Thursday said it posted a profit of $97.2 million, or 42 cents a share, during the three months ended March 31, down from $192.1 million, or 84 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 2.6% to $1.43 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share profit of 58 cents, on $1.38 billion in revenue. -By Matt Day, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-4986; matt.day@dowjones.com --Kristin Jones contributed to this article. Order free Annual Report for CONSOL Energy, Inc. Visit http://djnweurope.ar.wilink.com/?ticker=US20854P1093 or call +44 (0)208 391 6028 Order free Annual Report for Hess Corp. Visit http://djnweurope.ar.wilink.com/?ticker=US42809H1077 or call +44 (0)208 391 6028 Order free Annual Report for Noble Energy, Inc. Visit http://djnweurope.ar.wilink.com/?ticker=US6550441058 or call +44 (0)208 391 6028

Stock News for Noble (NBL)
DateTimeHeadline
06/29/201508:54:04Securities Registration: Business Combination (s-4)
06/29/201507:16:36Current Report Filing (8-k)
06/19/201509:06:00/C O R R E C T I O N -- CONE Midstream Partners LP/
06/19/201508:20:00CONE Midstream To Participate In Credit Suisse MLP & Energy Logistics...
06/17/201516:11:19Annual Report of Employee Stock Plans (11-k)
06/17/201506:01:41Notice of Effectiveness (effect)
06/16/201517:10:40Prospectus Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(3) (424b3)
06/16/201506:07:38Registration Statement for Securities to Be Issued in Business...
06/15/201503:10:25Falkland Oil & Gas Says Drilling Starts at Humpback Exploration...
06/01/201506:04:30Securities Registration: Business Combination (s-4)
05/21/201516:43:00ROSETTA SHAREHOLDER NOTICE: Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP Announces the...
05/20/201512:15:10What Is the S&P 500 Index?
05/19/201508:55:00CONE Midstream To Participate In NAPTP MLP Investor Conference
05/16/201511:00:20Here's Why These 3 Energy Stocks Moved 20% This Week
05/15/201512:04:02Top 10 Prime Oil Stock Takeover Candidates
05/15/201511:40:00Noble Energy To Present At UBS Oil And Gas Conference
05/15/201510:36:24Perpetual Petroleum: How Buyouts Can Be the Way Out
05/13/201515:06:00Harwood Feffer LLP Announces Investigation of Rosetta Resources...
05/11/201517:33:14Current Report Filing (8-k)
05/11/201517:05:07Noble Energy Buying Rosetta Resources May Help Spur Future Deals

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