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Consol Plans Asset Sales to Help Boost Natural Gas Output

Jan. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Consol Energy Inc., the third-largest U.S. coal miner by sales, plans to sell assets for $127 million to $312 million in 2013 as it ramps up production of natural gas.

Asset sales will help finance 2013 capital spending of $1.29 billion to $1.5 billion, most of of it on gas production, Consol, based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania said today in a statement. Gas output will rise 8 percent to 15 percent above last year’s 156.3 billion cubic feet equivalent, it forecast.

The company sold $350 million of assets in 2012, according to the statement. The company forecast spending for 2012 at $1.5 billion on Oct. 25.

Consol plans to spend $835 million to $935 million to expand gas production this year, depending on prices for the heating and power plant fuel and liquids derived from it, according to the statement. Spending of about $190 million would be needed to maintain production.

Capital spending on coal mines will be $410 million to $520 million, according to the statement.

Consol fell 0.9 percent to $29.91 at the close in New York. The shares have declined 13 percent in the past 12 months.

Peabody Energy Corp., based in St. Louis, is the largest U.S. coal producer by sales, followed by Alpha Natural Resources Inc., based in Bristol, Virginia.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sonja Elmquist in New York at selmquist1@bloomberg.net; Jim Polson in New York at jpolson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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