Consol Energy Inc. again cut its budget for spending on natural gas exploration and production because of continued low prices, though it won’t rule out drilling a few new wells in 2016.
The Cecil-based gas and coal producer early Wednesday announced a new capital budget plan and annual production estimates ahead of a two-day financial conference in Miami. The budget of between $205 million and $325 million is about $185 million less than what it previously said it planned to spend, and well short of the $1.3 billion budget from 2014.
Most major Marcellus and Utica shale gas producers have slashed spending over the past year. Natural gas prices tumbled through 2015 and recently hit 15-year lows because of a glut in supplies, inadequate pipelines to carry it to better markets and tepid demand. Consol last year laid off workers and halted its drilling program to focus on fracking and completing already-drilled wells.
The company said it could still increase gas production by 15 percent this year while spending less because it has become more efficient at bringing wells online. Wells tapping the Utica shale beneath the Marcellus are producing huge amounts of gas at lower costs, and Consol officials said they might drill some Utica wells from existing pads. The company recently got clearance to drill a Utica well from one of its Marcellus well pads at Pittsburgh International Airport.
Consol also slightly lowered its coal production outlook because of continued low demand.
This article was written by DAVID CONTI from The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.