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Consol Energy acquires gas drilling rights for nearly 90K acres in WV

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Consol Energy announced Dec. 10 it had acquired the gas drilling rights to nearly 90,000 contiguous acres in West Virginia from Dominion Transmission in Lewis and Harrison counties.

Dominion Transmission is a unit of Dominion Resources, and most of the acreage is associated with Dominion's Fink-Kennedy, Lost Creek and Racket Newberne gas storage fields. Consol expects more than half the acres to have wet gas.

Consol has acquired the gas rights to both the Marcellus Shale and the Upper Devonian formations in the storage fields, and a total gross consideration of as much as $190 million will be paid in two installments, according to the company, with about 50 percent having been paid at closing last week and the rest coming as the acres are drilled.

"This transaction reinforces Consol Energy's commitment to being a leading natural gas producer in the Appalachian Basin," Consol Chairman and CEO J. Brett Harvey said in a news release. "These parcels represent what could be the largest untapped contiguous acreage in the southern core of the Marcellus Shale.

"They complement our already significant acreage position in Northern West Virginia."

Harvey said the transaction could provide Consol with more than 350 "risked long lateral Marcellus Shale drilling locations."

Consol's joint venture partner in Marcellus Shale, Noble Energy, will participate at a 50 percent level in the transaction.

Consol also announced its first Barbour County pad, the six-well Philippi 13 pad, recently was completed using short stage lengths and reduced cluster spacing, which produced "positive early results."

"While Consol Energy has experimented with various components of enhanced completion and production techniques over the past 18 months, these wells represent the first large-scale application," Harvey said. "These results are a splendid example of one of our core values — continuous improvement — that we strive for in all areas."

Consol also provided an update on several of its drilling pads in Washington County, Pa. The 11 wells on three pads had an average lateral length of 5,300 feet and initial production from them averaged 10.7 MMcfe per day, then ranged from 5.3 MMcfe to 18.4 MMcfe per day.