CONSOL Hits a Few Snags, Lowers Production Estimates for 2017

As part of a general announcement issued yesterday, CONSOL Energy provided an update on their best guesstimate (called “guidance” in the business) of how much natural gas production the company will achieve in 2017. The latest guidance reveals that production will be LOWER than previously thought. Earlier in the year CONSOL said they should see on the order of 420-440 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) of natural gas production this year. The number will be more like 405-415 Bcfe. Why the drop? Ceramic beads. When completing a well, a driller fracks the well with small charges, creating cracks (fractures) in the rock. Into those cracks the driller flows water with sand–or alternatively ceramic beads instead of sand. When the water washes out (or gets absorbed into the rock), the sand or ceramic beads stay in place, keeping the rock propped open so gas and oil can escape out into the well. That’s why sand and ceramic beads are called “proppant.” CONSOL, at least for some of its wells, uses ceramic beads. And according to yesterday’s announcement, completion designs using the beads is taking longer than they thought, slowing down progress on completing and bringing wells online. Hence the lower overall output for this year…

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