April 12 (Reuters) - Coal and natural gas producer Consol Energy Inc’s coal output exceeded its estimates for the first quarter due to stronger-than-expected export demand and cold weather that prompted power utilities to take all contracted volumes.
Coal production in the quarter was 14.8 million tons, above the company’s expectations of 13.7-14.1 million tons, while inventory fell to the lowest in 15 years, the company said.
Consol, however, said its production is likely to dip to 13.25-13.75 million tons in the second quarter.
The EIA expects U.S. coal exports to fall this year due to continuing economic weakness in Europe, falling prices and increasing production in rival coal-exporting countries.
Consol said it was still unknown when production would restart at its Blacksville No. 2 Mine in West Virginia, idled due to a fire that started on March 12. The fire was extinguished on March 24.
The mine has been producing about 400,000 tons of coal per month.
Second-quarter gas production, net to Consol, is expected to be about 38-40 billion cubic feet equivalent (bcfe), compared with the 39.2 bcfe produced in the first quarter.
The company will report first-quarter financial results on April 25.
Consol shares, which have risen more than 5 percent this year, closed at $33.87 on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.