Authors: By KEVIN BEGOS
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Consol Energy Inc. says it's sold Utica Shale gas exploration and development rights in Ohio to Hess Corp. for $593 million.
The deal, announced Wednesday, will give Hess 50 percent of Consol's mineral rights to about 200,000 acres.
Consol, based in Canonsburg, Pa., said in a statement that Hess brings strong technical and operational expertise to the joint venture.
Hess will pay Consol $59 million when the deal closes in October and will invest another $534 million in the operation over the next five years.
As part of its investment, Hess will operate 80,000 acres in Jefferson, Harrison, Guernsey and Belmont counties, while Consol will operate the remaining areas including its acreage in Portage, Tuscarawas, Mahoning and Noble counties.
Exploratory drilling operations are expected to begin in the fourth quarter.