PITTSBURGH, March 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (CNX) has received approval from MSHA, state, and UMWA officials of its plan to re-enter the Blacksville No. 2 Mine, which was evacuated on March 12 when smoke was detected exiting the Orndoff shaft.
Since that date, CONSOL Energy, working closely with federal and state authorities, pumped a sufficient amount of water into the mine to complete the water seal and remotely pumped eight isolation walls from the surface to seal off the fire area. This process was completed on Sunday, March 24 at 7:00 a.m. Analysis of the continuous mine atmosphere readings that the team has been taking indicates that gas levels remain steady and oxygen levels continue to decrease. As result, CONSOL Energy believes the fire has been successfully extinguished.
CONSOL Energy Senior Vice President Chuck Shaynak said, "I am extremely proud of the successful collaborative effort from federal and state agencies, the UMWA, contractors/vendors and our employees on site who worked around-the-clock to remotely extinguish a fire in less than twelve days. Without their efforts, we would not be where we are today. Most importantly, we accomplished all of the work without an injury."
CONSOL Energy and state and federal agencies will continue monitoring the mine atmosphere prior to re-entry, which is scheduled to begin at approximately 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, if all atmospheric monitoring continues to indicate that it is safe to enter.
Blacksville No. 2 Mine produces approximately 400,000 tons of coal per month under normal operations.
About CONSOL Energy
CONSOL Energy Inc. (CNX) is a Pittsburgh-based producer of coal and natural gas. It has 12 bituminous coal mining complexes in four states and reports proven and probable coal reserves of 4.2 billion tons. The company's premium Appalachian coals are sold worldwide to electricity generators and steelmakers. In natural gas, CONSOL Energy has transformed itself from a pure-play coalbed methane producer to a full-fledged exploration and production company. The company is a leading producer in the Marcellus Shale and is transitioning its active exploration program into development mode in the Utica Shale. CONSOL Energy has proved natural gas reserves of 4.0 trillion cubic feet. Operational safety is the company's top core value and CONSOL Energy boasts a record of almost two times better than the industry average for underground bituminous coal mines. CONSOL Energy is a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 Equity Index and the Fortune 500. Additional information about CONSOL Energy can be found at its Web site: www.consolenergy.com.
Various statements in this release, including those that express a belief, expectation or intention, may be considered forward-looking statements (as defined in Section 21E of the Exchange Act) that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from projected results. Accordingly, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results. The forward-looking statements may include projections and estimates concerning the timing and success of specific projects and our future production, revenues, income and capital spending. When we use the words "believe," "intend," "expect," "may," "should," "anticipate," "could," "estimate," "plan," "predict," "project," or their negatives, or other similar expressions, the statements which include those words are usually forward-looking statements. When we describe strategy that involves risks or uncertainties, we are making forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this press release, if any, speak only as of the date of this press release; we disclaim any obligation to update these statements. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations and assumptions about future events. While our management considers these expectations and assumptions to be reasonable, they are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, regulatory and other risks, contingencies and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. These risks, contingencies and uncertainties relate to, among other matters, the following: deterioration in global economic conditions in any of the industries in which our customers operate, or sustained uncertainty in financial markets cause conditions we cannot predict; an extended decline in demand for or in the prices we receive for our coal and gas affecting our operating results and cash flows; our customers extending existing contracts or entering into new long-term contracts for coal; the expiration or failure to extend existing long-term contracts; our reliance on major customers; our inability to collect payments from customers if their creditworthiness declines; the disruption of rail, barge, gathering, processing and transportation facilities and other systems that deliver our coal and gas to market; a loss of our competitive position because of the competitive nature of the coal and gas industries, or a loss of our competitive position because of overcapacity in these industries impairing our profitability; our failure to maintain satisfactory labor relations; coal users switching to other fuels in order to comply with various environmental standards related to coal combustion emissions; the impact of potential, as well as any adopted regulations relating to greenhouse gas emissions on the demand for coal and natural gas, as well as the impact of any adopted regulations on our coal mining operations due to the venting of coalbed methane which occurs during mining; foreign currency fluctuations could adversely affect the competitiveness of our coal abroad; the risks inherent in coal and gas operations being subject to unexpected disruptions, including geological conditions, equipment failure, timing of completion of significant construction or repair of equipment, fires, explosions, accidents and weather conditions which could impact financial results; our focus on new gas development projects and exploration for gas in areas where we have little or no proven gas reserves; decreases in the availability of, or increases in, the price of commodities and services used in our mining and gas operations, as well as our exposure under "take or pay" contracts we entered into with well service providers to obtain services of which if not used could impact our cost of production; obtaining, maintaining and renewing governmental permits and approvals for our coal and gas operations; the effects of government regulation on the discharge into the water or air, and the disposal and clean-up of, hazardous substances and wastes generated during our coal and gas operations; the effects of stringent federal and state employee health and safety regulations, including the ability of regulators to shut down a mine or well; the potential for liabilities arising from environmental contamination or alleged environmental contamination in connection with our past or current coal and gas operations; the effects of mine closing, reclamation, gas well closing and certain other liabilities; uncertainties in estimating our economically recoverable coal and gas reserves; defects may exist in our chain of title and we may incur additional costs associated with perfecting title for coal or gas rights on some of our properties or failing to acquire these additional rights we may have to reduce our estimated reserves; the outcomes of various legal proceedings, which are more fully described in our reports filed under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; the impacts of various asbestos litigation claims; increased exposure to employee related long-term liabilities; increased exposure to multi-employer pension plan liabilities; minimum funding requirements by the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (the Pension Act) coupled with the significant investment and plan asset losses suffered during the recent economic decline has exposed us to making additional required cash contributions to fund the pension benefit plans which we sponsor and the multi-employer pension benefit plans in which we participate; lump sum payments made to retiring salaried employees pursuant to our defined benefit pension plan exceeding total service and interest cost in a plan year; acquisitions and joint ventures that we recently have completed or entered into or may make in the future including the accuracy of our assessment of the acquired businesses and their risks, achieving any anticipated synergies, integrating the acquisitions and unanticipated changes that could affect assumptions we may have made and divestitures we anticipate may not occur or produce anticipated proceeds including joint venture partners paying anticipated carry obligations; the anti-takeover effects of our rights plan could prevent a change of control; increased exposure on our financial performance due to the degree we are leveraged; replacing our natural gas reserves, which if not replaced, will cause our gas reserves and gas production to decline; our ability to acquire water supplies needed for gas drilling, or our ability to dispose of water used or removed from strata in connection with our gas operations at a reasonable cost and within applicable environmental rules; our hedging activities may prevent us from benefiting from price increases and may expose us to other risks; changes in federal or state income tax laws, particularly in the area of percentage depletion and intangible drilling costs, could cause our financial position and profitability to deteriorate; and other factors discussed in the 2012 Form 10-K under "Risk Factors," as updated by any subsequent Form 10-Qs, which are on file at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The SEC permits oil and gas companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only proved, probable and possible oil and gas reserves that a company anticipates as of a given date to be economically and legally producible and deliverable by application of development projects to known accumulations. We may use certain terms in this press release, such as EUR (estimated ultimate recovery), unproved reserves and total resource potential, that the SEC's rules strictly prohibit us from including in filings with the SEC. These measures are by their nature more speculative than estimates of reserves prepared in accordance with SEC definitions and guidelines and accordingly are less certain. We also note that the SEC strictly prohibits us from aggregating proved, probable and possible reserves in filings with the SEC due to the different levels of certainty associated with each reserve category.
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