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Consol Added 1.63 Tcfe to Proved Reserves in 2013

Consol Energy Inc. added 1.63 Tcfe to its proved reserves through extensions and discoveries in 2013, which the company said on Thursday marks the fifth consecutive year that drillbit finding and development costs were less than 50 cents per Mcfe.

The Pittsburgh-based company said total proved reserves stood at a record 5.73 Tcfe at the end of 2013, a 44% increase over the 3.99 Tcfe recorded at the end of 2012. Total proved reserves for the most recent year included 146 Bcfe (2.5% of the overall total) of oil, condensate and liquids, of which 141 Bcfe, or 97%, lie within the Marcellus Shale.

Consol said drilling and completion costs directly attributed to the extensions and discoveries totaled $679.7 million. When divided by the natural resources found, drillbit finding and development costs came to 42 cents per Mcfe. The company also said it had, in essence, replaced 948% of its 2013 natural gas production (172 Bcfe net to Consol) through the extensions and discoveries.

"The company believes this is among the lowest in the industry," Consol said of the costs. "Much of the increase in reserves, through the category extensions and discoveries, was due to the company's highly successful Marcellus Shale program."

Consol said its assets in the Marcellus Shale held 3.37 Tcfe of proved reserves at the end of 2013, an 87% increase from the 1.81 Tcfe recorded at the end of 2012. Proved developed reserves also climbed from 427 to 725 Bcfe, a 70% increase, during the same time period.

The company said that in 2013 it turned 52 operated wells targeting the Marcellus in line, with an average lateral length of 5,483 feet and expected ultimate recovery averaging 7.1 Bcfe per well. Consol attributed 24-hour initial production (IP) rates as high as 18.4 MMcf/d to enhanced completion techniques, reduced cluster spacing and short stage lengths. Last December it cited similar reasons for success with 12 wells targeting the Marcellus (see Shale Daily, Dec. 10, 2013).

"Wells completed in this manner have shown IP rates improving by as much as 40%, which the company believes could translate into potential increases to well EURs of 15-20%," Consol said. The company added that its current proved undeveloped bookings "do not reflect this potential incremental uplift to EURs and the pre-tax discounted (10%) present value [PV10] of the company's proved reserves."

Consol said total net revisions increased reserves by 277 Bcfe in 2013, including 172 Bcfe from performance revisions and 105 Bcfe from price revisions and plan changes. Price adjustments for were based on a price of $3.67/MMBtu for the year-end 2013, compared to $2.76/MMBtu at the end of 2012.

"With higher gas prices, the company continued a shift towards higher internal rate of return projects, which led to continued increased focus in the Marcellus," Consol said.

Of Consol's 5.73 Tcfe of total proved reserves at the end of 2013, 56% (3.22 Tcfe) were classified as proved undeveloped (PUD). By comparison, PUD made up 46% of total proved reserves at the end of 2012. "This reflects the booking of additional PUD reserves in 2013 as a result of continued Marcellus Shale success," the company said. "The 2,649 Bcfe of Marcellus Shale PUDs represent only 54% (based on count) of the total expected to be drilled in the coming five years."

Proved developed reserves totaled 2.51 Tcfe. According to Consol, 45% of that total (1.13 Tcfe) was from coalbed methane, while 725 Bcfe was from the Marcellus, 583 Bcfe was from conventional sources, 30 Bcfe was from the Utica and 47 Bcfe was from other shale plays, which includes the Upper Devonian.

Consol said drilling and production results from the Utica Shale "[continues] to be encouraging." The company said Utica PUD totaled 106 Bcfe at the end of 2013, while proved developed was 30 Bcfe.

The company said its total proved, probable and possible (3P) reserves totaled 33.0 Tcfe at the end of 2013, a 49% increase from the 22.2 Tcfe of 3P reserves reported at the end of 2012.

Last month, the company said it had recorded a profit of $738.2 million during 4Q2013 (see Shale Daily, Jan. 31). Consol also said its gas division achieved record quarterly production of 48.5 Bcfe in the quarter, thanks mostly to an increase in Marcellus production.

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