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Cabot Oil, Gas report third quarter earnings, results

By Bob Downing Published: October 25, 2013

From Cabot Oil and Gas on Thursday:

HOUSTON, Oct. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE: COG) today reported its financial and operating results for the third quarter of 2013. Highlights for the quarter include:

  • Production of 107.1 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe), an increase of 61 percent over last year's comparable quarter.
  • Cash flow from operations of $276.7 million and discretionary cash flow of $282.3 million.
  • Net income of $69.9 million, or $0.17 per share.
  • Net income excluding selected items of $74.6 million, or $0.18 per share.
  • Total per unit costs (including financing) of $2.97 per thousand cubic feet equivalent (Mcfe), a 15 percent decline over last year's comparable quarter.

Third Quarter 2013 Financial Results

Production in the third quarter of 2013 was 107.1 Bcfe, consisting of 101.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas and 898,000 barrels of liquids. These figures represent increases of 61 percent, 62 percent, and 43 percent, respectively, compared to the third quarter of 2012. "Despite recent concerns over pricing in the Marcellus and the potential impact on Cabot's production growth, the Company grew equivalent production 13 percent sequentially compared to the second quarter of this year," said Dan O. Dinges, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.

Cash flow from operations in the third quarter of 2013 was $276.7 million, compared to $164.0 million in the third quarter of 2012. Discretionary cash flow in the third quarter of 2013 was $282.3 million, compared to $175.7 million in the third quarter of 2012. Higher equivalent production and, to a lesser extent, higher realized oil prices drove the quarter's overall improvement, partially offset by lower realized natural gas prices and increased operating expenses associated with higher production.

Net income in the third quarter of 2013 was $69.9 million, or $0.17 per share, compared to $36.6 million, or $0.09 per share, in the third quarter of 2012. Excluding the effect of selected items (detailed in the table below), net income was $74.6 million, or $0.18 per share, in the third quarter of 2013, compared to $43.1 million, or $0.11 per share, in the third quarter of 2012.

Natural gas price realizations, including the effect of hedges, were $3.36 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) in the third quarter of 2013, down 9 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012.  "Our third quarter natural gas price realizations came in on the high-end of our expectations based on the guidance range we provided in early September," stated Dinges. "It is our belief that a combination of seasonal demand increases during the winter months and new pipeline takeaway capacity additions in Northeast Pennsylvania will positively impact Marcellus basis differentials over the coming months." Oil price realizations, including the effect of hedges, were $103.76 per barrel (Bbl), up 2 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012.

Total per unit costs (including financing) decreased to $2.97 per Mcfe in the third quarter of 2013, down 15 percent from $3.50 per Mcfe in the third quarter of 2012. All operating expense categories decreased on a per unit basis relative to last year's comparable quarter except for transportation and gathering expense, which increased from $0.52 per Mcfe in the third quarter of 2012 to $0.57 per Mcfe in the third quarter of 2013, primarily as a result of increased Marcellus production volumes, slightly higher transportation rates and new transportation agreements in the Marcellus.

Year-to-Date 2013 Financial Results

Production during the nine-month period ended September 30, 2013 was 291.7 Bcfe, consisting of 277.5 Bcf of natural gas and 2.4 million barrels of liquids. These figures represent increases of 54 percent, 56 percent, and 34 percent, respectively, compared to the nine-month period ended September 30, 2012.

For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2013, cash flow from operations was $766.7 million, compared to $455.1 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2012. Discretionary cash flow was $813.7 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2013, compared to $456.3 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2012. Higher equivalent production and, to a lesser extent, higher realized natural gas and oil prices drove the period's overall improvement, partially offset by increased operating expenses associated with higher production.

For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2013, net income was $201.8 million, or $0.48 per share, compared to $90.9 million, or $0.22 per share, for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2012.  Excluding the effect of selected items (detailed in the table below), net income was $223.8 million, or $0.53 per share, compared to $81.8 million, or $0.20 per share, for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2012.

Operational Highlights

Marcellus Shale

Cabot's Marcellus Shale position in the core of the dry gas window in Susquehanna County continues to produce peer-leading well results as evidenced by the recent noteworthy wells included below:

  • A four-well pad completed with 109 fracture stimulation (frac) stages with an initial production (IP) rate of 110 Mmcf per day and a 30-day production rate of 90 Mmcf per day.
  • A three-well pad completed with 68 frac stages with an IP rate of 98 Mmcf per day (still within the 30-day window).
  • A three-well pad completed with 50 frac stages with an IP rate of 59 Mmcf per day and a 30-day production rate of 57 Mmcf per day.
  • A three-well pad completed with 45 frac stages with an IP rate of 56 Mmcf per day and a 30-day production rate of 52 Mmcf per day.

"To date, our 2013 program has averaged three to four additional frac stages per well compared to our 2012 program due to longer lateral lengths and tighter frac stage spacing, resulting in higher production rates and higher estimated ultimate recoveries (EURs)," explained Dinges. "Our Marcellus wells continue to provide peer-leading production rates and EURs per 1,000' of lateral. We continue to see improvements in our rate-of-return profile as a result of our increased well performance, even if one assumes wider basis differentials to reflect the recent short-term softness in Marcellus pricing."

While certain Marcellus volumes were held back for a brief period of time during the end of the third quarter due to a combination of softness in Marcellus spot market pricing and scheduled infrastructure maintenance projects, the Company's gross Marcellus production volumes have since surpassed previous highs and recently achieved a record gross production rate of 1,295 Mmcf per day.

Eagle Ford Shale

During the third quarter, Cabot's Eagle Ford program experienced strong sequential growth with liquids production volumes increasing by approximately 28 percent over the second quarter. This was on the strength of new wells from Cabot's operated and non-operated positions. The Company's first four-well pad in the Eagle Ford was drilled during the third quarter in 58 days (spud to rig release) with a combined measured depth of approximately 58,000'. Completion is scheduled to begin at the end of October with lateral lengths ranging from 5,200' to 8,000'. The Company is currently drilling a six-well pad with a planned average lateral length of 9,000' per well.  Estimated cost savings from the use of a walking rig in the Company's multi-well pad drilling operations is $500,000 to $600,000 per well. In addition to the cost savings from its drilling operations, Cabot continues to see significant reductions in its stimulation costs per stage, further enhancing the return profile of its Eagle Ford wells. "We are in the process of further refining our well design in the Eagle Ford including drilling longer laterals, decreasing the spacing between frac stages and increasing the amount of proppant per stage," commented Dinges.  "Based on our work to date, we anticipate a significant uptick in returns as we begin implementing these new initiatives across the program."

- See more at: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=116492&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1868172&highlight=#sthash.CW2rLnei.dpuf

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