PITTSBURGH, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) and Green Holdings Enlow, Inc., a greenhouse gas abatement company, have entered into an agreement to develop the largest ventilation air methane (VAM) emission abatement project in the United States at CONSOL's Enlow Fork Mine in southwestern Pennsylvania. The VAM abatement equipment to be installed at the mine will capture and destroy methane released during the mining process that would otherwise escape to the atmosphere through the mine's ventilation system.
CONSOL Energy's Enlow Fork Mine is an active underground coal mine that produces approximately 10 million tons of coal a year. The project is designed to reduce the mine's VAM emissions by the equivalent of 190,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (tCO2e) a year and is estimated to be operational in the second half of 2010. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more effective at trapping heat than CO2. Globally, VAM emissions from coal mines amount to approximately 300 million tCO2e each year.
"If the United States intends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it will have to be addressed on a broad front dealing with many different sources of GHGs," said Steven Winberg, vice president, research and development, for CONSOL Energy. "We already have a large coal bed methane production business that removes methane from coal seams before mining, producing a valuable fuel. With this agreement, we will deal with methane that is released from a coal seam during the mining process." Winberg said the project will allow CONSOL to move from its current small scale ventilation air methane capture program to a commercial scale effort that, if successful, can be applied at many of the company's existing underground mines.
In addition to the capture of methane from coal seams and from mine ventilation, the company has a number of other projects in which it is currently involved, including the capture of CO2 from high pressure coal combustion equipment, the evaluation of CO2 storage in unmineable coal seams or in other deep geological formations.
The project at Enlow Fork Mine is the first of a number of VAM abatement undertakings that Green Holdings Corporation expects to take in the United States in anticipation of a strong, growing market for carbon offsets to be generated by the projects. Green Holdings Corporation has a focused, high growth strategy with significant projects under development in the United States and the People's Republic of China -- the two largest sources of VAM emissions in the world.
"We are pleased to be working with CONSOL Energy, the largest underground coal mine owner and operator in the United States, on this important project," stated Jerry Gureghian, Green Holdings Corporation chief executive officer.
Green Holdings will supply the capital, will operate the unit and will be responsible for selling the emissions reduction credits. CONSOL will provide the ventilation air fan, site and technical support.
About Green Holdings Corporation and Green Holdings Enlow Inc.
Green Holdings Corporation is a vertically integrated greenhouse gas emission abatement company utilizing proven technologies to implement projects under various greenhouse gas initiatives. Currently, the Company is focused on developing projects that reduce or abate ventilation air methane (VAM) emissions from underground coal mines, resulting in significant carbon offsets that will be monetized on a growing international market. Green Holdings Enlow, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Green Holdings Corporation and is developing the largest coal mine methane abatement project in the United States for CONSOL Energy. For more information visit www.greenholdings.com
About CONSOL Energy Inc.
CONSOL Energy Inc., a high-Btu bituminous coal and natural gas company, is a member of the Standard & Poor's 500 Equity Index and the Fortune 500. It has 15 bituminous coal mining complexes in six states and reports proven and probable coal reserves of 4.5 billion tons. It is also a majority owner of CNX Gas Corporation, a leading Appalachian gas producer, with proved reserves of more than 1.4 trillion cubic feet. Additional information about CONSOL Energy can be found at its web site: www.consolenergy.com.
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The forward-looking statements in this document speak only as of the date of this document; we disclaim any obligation to update these statements unless required by securities law, and we caution you not to rely on them unduly. 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, uncertainties and contingencies include, but are not limited to: the deteriorating economic conditions; an extended decline in prices we receive for our coal and gas affecting our operating results and cash flows; reliance on customers honoring existing contracts, extending existing contracts or entering into new long-term contracts for coal; reliance on major customers; our inability to collect payments from customers if their creditworthiness declines; the disruption of rail, barge and other systems that deliver our coal; a loss of our competitive position because of the competitive nature of the coal industry and the gas industry, or a loss of our competitive position because of overcapacity in these industries impairing our profitability; our inability to hire qualified people to meet replacement or expansion needs; coal users switching to other fuels in order to comply with various environmental standards related to coal combustion; the inability to produce a sufficient amount of coal to fulfill our customers' requirements which could result in our customers initiating claims against us; foreign currency fluctuations could adversely affect the competitiveness of our coal abroad; the risks inherent in coal mining being subject to unexpected disruptions, including geological conditions, equipment failure, timing of completion of significant construction or repair of equipment, fires, accidents and weather conditions which could impact financial results; increases in the price of commodities used in our mining operations could impact our cost of production; obtaining, maintaining, and renewing governmental permits and approvals for our operations; the effects of proposals to regulate greenhouse gas emissions; the effects of government regulation; the effects of stringent federal and state employee health and safety regulations; the effects of mine closing, reclamation and certain other liabilities; the effects of subsidence from longwall mining operations on surface structures, water supplies, streams and surface land; uncertainties in estimating our economically recoverable coal and gas reserves; the outcomes of various legal proceedings, which proceedings are more fully described in our reports filed under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; increased exposure to employee related long-term 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 current 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; our ability to comply with laws or regulations requiring that we obtain surety bonds for workers' compensation and other statutory requirements; acquisitions that we recently have made 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; the anti-takeover effects of our rights plan could prevent a change of control; risks in exploring for and producing gas; new gas development projects and exploration for gas in areas where we have little or no proven gas reserves; the disruption of pipeline systems which deliver our gas; the availability of field services, equipment and personnel for drilling and producing gas; replacing our natural gas reserves which if not replaced will cause our gas reserves and gas production to decline; costs associated with perfecting title for gas rights in some of our properties; location of a vast majority of our gas producing properties in three counties in southwestern Virginia, making us vulnerable to risks associated with having our gas production concentrated in one area; other persons could have ownership rights in our advanced gas extraction techniques which could force us to cease using those techniques or pay royalties; our ability to acquire water supplies needed for drilling, or our ability to dispose of water used or removed from strata at a reasonable cost and within applicable environmental rules; the coalbeds and other strata from which we produce methane gas frequently contain impurities that may hamper production; the enactment of Pennsylvania severance tax on natural gas may impact results of existing operations and impact the economic viability of exploiting new gas drilling and production opportunities in Pennsylvania; our hedging activities may prevent us from benefiting from price increases and may expose us to other risks; and other factors discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008 under "Risk Factors," as updated by any subsequent Form 10-Qs, which are on file at the Securities and Exchange Commission.
SOURCE CONSOL Energy Inc.