by: Anya Litvak
Some of the changes you might see at Consol Energy Inc. in the next year or two will probably stem from the company’s sense that it’s not getting all the credit it deserves.
Consol (NYSE: CNX) thinks it’s only being valued for a part of what it does — the coal mining and gas extracting part. But there’s more to its assets, said Chairman and CEO Brett Harvey.
There are the barges that make up 80 percent of the system on the Ohio River, he said. There are the pipelines Consol is building out for its gas.
So the company is looking at possibly spinning out some of these businesses, or selling them, or forming master limited partnerships (ala EQT), or selling and then leasing them back.
“Whatever works for the company,” Harvey said. “We’re working very feverishly to get added value.”
There are a bunch of other deals in the works as well.
For example, Consol is negotiating contracts with foreign buyers to export its natural gas through Dominion’s Cove Point terminal.
That’s been the idea for years, Harvey said. Back when Consol bought Dominion’s gas assets in 2010 for $3.4 billion, the two envisioned an export market.
“It was kind of the concept that they’d move the gas and we’d produce it,” he said.
Consol is also in discussions with investors interested in bringing liquid natural gas infrastructure to this region for transportation use. Harvey said the company is shopping its gas, land, and even water, for such ventures.
“We believe the railroads are going to move to natural gas,” he said. “Barges, over time, will probably do that. Consol will do that too.” Eventually.
“This is a rapidly evolving thing,” Harvey said. “I knew it was coming, but I’m really surprised how (quickly it’s moving).”