Perpetual Energy Inc. releases fourth quarter and year-end 2013 financial and operating results

CALGARY, March 5, 2014 /CNW/ - (TSX:PMT) - Perpetual Energy Inc. ("Perpetual" or the "Corporation") is pleased to report its fourth quarter and year end 2013 financial and operating results. Overall results show significant gains from 2012, highlighting positive operational and financial momentum in our key diversifying strategies at Mannville for heavy oil and in the Greater Edson area for liquids-rich natural gas. A complete copy of Perpetual's audited consolidated financial statements and related Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") for the year ended December 31, 2013 can be obtained through the Corporation's website at www.perpetualenergyinc.com and SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Perpetual will be hosting a conference call and webcast to review this information at 8:30 a.m., Mountain Time, Thursday, March 6, 2014. See "Conference Call and Webcast" at the end of this press release for participation details.

FOURTH QUARTER 2013 HIGHLIGHTS

Capital Spending

  • Capital expenditures of $24.5 million during the fourth quarter remained focused on commodity diversification with five (5.0 net) wells drilled at Mannville for heavy oil and four (2.0 net) wells drilled at West Edson for liquids-rich natural gas.

  • A waterflood pilot was initiated at Mannville in a portion of the Mannville I2I pool for pressure maintenance to reduce the Sparky pool's decline rate and enhance recoverable oil reserves. Two wells were converted to injectors and water injection commenced late in the fourth quarter. Planning is underway to expand the waterflood in the pilot pool in the third quarter of 2014.

  • Perpetual entered into a farm-out agreement on 6,240 acres of Duvernay rights in the Waskahigan area. In early December a horizontal Duvernay test well was spud which is currently awaiting completion. Once the earning terms have been fulfilled, Perpetual will retain a 35 percent working interest in 3,840 gross acres and 100 percent working interest in what remains. Results of this well are expected early in the third quarter of 2014.

Production

  • Oil and natural gas liquids ("NGL" or "liquids") production of 3,509 bbl/d in the fourth quarter was consistent with the prior year (3,536 bbl/d) with additions from the Company's 2013 drilling program offsetting dispositions and natural declines. The deferral of drilling at Mannville until late in the fourth quarter due to the allocation of capital to Edson for facility enhancements led to natural declines in heavy oil production relative to the third quarter of 2013. Further, with the plant modification at West Edson which started up October 1, 2013, reported NGL production decreased in volume on a barrel per MMcf basis. A portion of previously recoverable liquids is now included in higher heat content gas sales while only high grade condensate liquids (C5+) are recovered through the new plant and reported as NGL production.

  • Natural gas production of 90.3 MMcf/d was up six percent from the preceding third quarter and up two percent from the fourth quarter of 2012, reflecting production from new wells drilled at West Edson in 2013, which more than offset asset dispositions and natural declines.

  • Total production for the fourth quarter was 18,559 boe/d, up two percent from 18,250 boe/d in the fourth quarter of 2012 and two percent higher than the preceding third quarter of 2013. Total actual and deemed production for the fourth quarter was 21,809 boe/d (Q4 2012 - 22,440 boe/d), down three percent from the prior year giving effect to the annual 10 percent reduction in deemed production.

Financial

  • Perpetual's average natural gas price, before derivatives, for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $3.37/Mcf, up 13 percent from $2.99/Mcf in the fourth quarter of 2012, which was consistent with the increase in AECO market prices year over year. Inclusive of $2.1 million in realized hedging gains related to natural gas contracts, Perpetual's realized gas price, including derivatives, for the fourth quarter was $3.62/Mcf, two percent higher than the prior year's fourth quarter.

  • Perpetual's oil and NGL price, before derivatives, of $65.35/bbl was five percent higher than the prior year's fourth quarter ($62.02/bbl). The average realized price, including derivatives, of $65.88/bbl was eight percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2012 ($71.29/bbl). Risk management strategies to protect oil and NGL-related revenues resulted in lower hedging gains which reduced the realized oil and NGL price.

  • Funds flow of $13.0 million ($0.09 per share) increased 16 percent from the prior year (Q4 2012 - $11.2 million), reflecting higher production and natural gas prices in addition to an increase in dividends received from Warwick Gas Storage LP ("WGS LP").

  • A net loss of $13.7 million ($0.09 per share) was recorded for the fourth quarter of 2013.

2013 ANNUAL HIGHLIGHTS

Capital Spending

  • Exploration and development spending of $96.7 million remained focused on two key plays:  Mannville heavy oil and Edson liquids-rich gas. A total of 43 (38.7 net) wells were drilled; 37 (35.7 net) targeting heavy oil at Mannville and six (3.0 net) in the deep basin for liquids-rich gas.

  • Capital spending included $15 million of expenditures related to facilities enhancements at West Edson, which included installation of refrigeration and liquids handling equipment. At the same time, a 15.5 km sales pipeline and operated meter station were constructed to tie-in to the Alliance pipeline system. Start-up of the gas plant and sales pipeline commenced on October 1, 2013 ensuring available transportation capacity for Perpetual's West Edson production.

Production

  • Oil and NGL production of 3,860 bbl/d was 12 percent higher than in 2012, reflecting Perpetual's focus on commodity diversification.

  • Natural gas production of 88.9 MMcf/d was down 11 percent from 2012, as a result of asset dispositions and natural declines in Perpetual's shallow gas assets where limited capital was invested to add production. The decline was offset by a 24 percent gas production increase in West Central Alberta related to capital investment and strong performance in the Greater Edson area. Compared to 2012, shallow gas production decreased 20 percent to 63.7 MMcf/d due to asset dispositions and natural declines, as capital investment and operational focus were strategically shifted almost entirely to oil and liquids-rich, resource-style gas assets.

  • Heavy oil and deep basin production increased 17 percent from 2012 to 8,060 boe/d through successful execution of the asset base transformation strategy. Production from these assets represented 43 percent of total production and 36 percent of actual plus deemed production, up from 34 percent and 28 percent respectively in 2012.

  • Gas and associated liquids production from the deep basin resource-style assets in West Central Alberta of 4,861 boe/d represented 26 percent of total production in 2013, up from 21 percent in 2012. High netback Mannville heavy oil production of 3,178 boe/d comprised 17 percent of total production.

  • Total production decreased seven percent to 18,696 boe/d from 20,142 boe/d in 2012, due to the full year effect of non-core dispositions completed in 2012 combined with natural declines. These reductions were offset by 14 percent growth in gas and NGL production in the Greater Edson area and 24 percent growth in Mannville heavy oil production, due to successful capital investment in these areas. Total actual and deemed production decreased nine percent to 22,479 boe/d from 24,592 boe/d in 2012 as a result of the above factors as well as the annual 10 percent reduction on deemed production.

Financial

  • Production-related operating costs decreased five percent to $75.4 million as compared to $79.7 million in 2012, reflecting the impact of Perpetual's cost saving measures applied to the production of its shallow gas assets and the new operating cost structure at West Edson associated with the new plant which commenced operations on October 1, 2013. Cost savings were partially offset by higher operating costs associated with increased heavy oil production. On a boe basis, operating costs increased from $10.81/boe in 2012 to $11.05/boe in 2013. This is a reflection of the high percentage of fixed costs associated with the Company's declining shallow gas assets, largely related to property taxes.

  • Realized natural gas prices, including derivatives, increased six percent to $3.53/Mcf from $3.34/Mcf in 2012, reflecting hedging gains and the increase in AECO Index prices year over year.

  • Oil and NGL prices, including derivatives, of $66.48/bbl increased four percent in 2013 despite a slight reduction in Western Canadian Select heavy oil pricing. Price improvements were realized through the delivery of higher grade heavy oil at sales points including rail delivery arrangements, as well as the sale of more condensate-rich NGL volumes in the fourth quarter related to the change in processing at West Edson.

  • Royalty expenses increased 50 percent to $19.0 million from $12.6 million in 2012. Annual Crown royalty adjustments of $2.6 million recorded in the second quarter of 2013, related to 2012 capital cost allowance, custom processing and operating costs adjustments, contributed materially to the increase in Crown royalties for 2013. In addition, certain Mannville heavy oil wells transitioned to higher royalty rates after reaching maximum volume recoveries under initial low royalty rate incentive periods. Increased Crown royalty rates associated with higher Alberta gas reference prices also contributed to the higher royalties.

  • Operating netbacks improved 10 percent from 2012, to $15.23/boe, reflecting higher commodity prices and the increased percentage of higher priced oil and NGL in the production mix.

  • Interest expense decreased 11 percent from $36.4 million during 2012 to $32.5 million, primarily due to the repayment of $74.9 million convertible debentures which matured in June 2012, with further decreases associated with lower bank debt as a result of property dispositions.

  • Cash general and administrative ("G&A") expense decreased 10 percent to $24.5 million as compared to $27.1 million in 2012, primarily due to increased overhead recovery rates under new joint operating agreements combined with an increase in capital spending. Further reductions were attributable to reduced staffing levels and lower consulting fees.

  • Funds flow of $58.5 million ($0.39 per share) increased 19 percent from $49.1 million ($0.33 per share) in 2012, as a result of stronger natural gas prices, increased production from superior netback oil and liquids-rich natural gas properties and higher dividends from WGS LP combined with the reductions in operating costs, G&A and interest expense in 2013.

  • The Corporation recorded net income of $7.6 million ($0.05 per share) as compared to a net loss of $76.0 million ($0.52 per share) in 2012.

  • Total net debt, including net bank debt ($67.2 million), convertible debentures and Senior Notes, was $377.0 million at year end 2013, a decrease of $10.8 million from year end 2012. The ratio of net debt to trailing 12 months funds flow at December 31, 2013 improved by 19 percent from year end 2012 to a ratio of 6.4 to 1.

  • During preparation of the consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2013, Perpetual determined that the gas over bitumen obligation as at January 1 and December 31, 2012 was overstated based on the present value of expected repayments of gas over bitumen royalty adjustments received. Gas over bitumen revenue was also determined to be understated for prior years. This has resulted in the restatement of the Corporation's financial position at year end 2011 as well as adjustments to the 2012 financial statements as detailed in notes 2 and 13 to the Corporation's consolidated financial statements dated December 31, 2013.

2014 OUTLOOK

Perpetual continues to target capital spending in 2014 to be fully funded by 2014 funds flow. The Corporation's Board of Directors has approved a $70 to $80 million capital budget for full calendar year 2014. First quarter spending is on track to be $35 million. The table below summarizes planned drilling activities in accordance with Perpetual's 2014 strategic priorities.

2014 Capital Budget
($ millions, except as noted)
Q1 # Wells Q2 - Q4 # Wells
West Central liquids-rich gas 18 3 (2.0 net) 21 - 26 up to 7 (3.5 net)
Mannville heavy oil 13 11 (9.7 net) 11 - 14 up to 12 (8.3 net)
Shallow gas 4 - 3 - 5 -
Total 35 14 (11.7 net) 35 - 45 19 (11.8 net)
   

In addition to drilling activities, Perpetual plans to allocate a portion of its 2014 budget to install additional plant and compression equipment at its West Edson facility in order to increase plant capacity to accommodate expected incremental production associated with the West Central drilling program. The capital budget also includes activities focused on maximizing value and mitigating production declines on the Corporation's legacy shallow gas assets through facility optimization projects, workovers and uphole recompletions.

Perpetual estimates that 2014 funds flow will total $80 to $90 million based on current forward commodity prices, with oil and liquids production averaging 3,400 - 3,500 bbl/d and natural gas sales averaging 90 to 95 MMcf/d. The enhanced heat content of Perpetual's liquids-rich gas in West Central Alberta results in premium pricing to AECO market prices.

Sensitivities

Below is a table that shows sensitivities of Perpetual's 2014 forecasted funds flow to operational changes and changes in the business environment:

 Funds Flow Sensitivities
($ millions, except as noted) (1)
Change in remainder of 2014
(March to December)

Estimated impact
on 2014 funds flow
Business Environment      
Natural gas price at AECO (2) (3) $0.25/Mcf 2.5
Oil price at WTI (2) (3) $US5.00/bbl 0.7  
WTI - WCS differential (2) $US5.00/bbl 3.0
Interest rate on bank debt 1% (0.7)
Operational      
Natural gas production 5 MMcf/d 6.2  
Oil and NGL production 100 bbl/d 1.9  
Operating expenses $0.50/boe (3.0)  
       
(1)  Base funds flow estimate assumes average March through December forward market prices of: WTI $US 97.63/bbl; WTI-WCS differential $US 22.43/bbl; and AECO $4.68/GJ.
(2)  Giving effect to commodity price risk management contracts in place at March 5, 2014.
(3)
Reflects positive change in price; a $US 5.00 decrease in WTI would result in a decrease of $1.8 million in funds flow.
             
             
Financial and Operating Highlights THREE MONTHS
Ended December 31
YEAR ENDED
December 31, 2013
($Cdn thousands except volume and per share amounts) 2013 2012 Change 2013 2012 Change
Financial            
Oil and natural gas revenue 49,075 44,468 10% 201,294 176,137 14%
Funds flow (1) 12,998 11,158 16% 58,468 49,087 19%
  Per share (1) (2) 0.09 0.08 13% 0.39 0.33 18%
Net earnings (loss) (13,745) (56,400) (76%) 7,620 (75,986) 110%
  Per share (2) (0.09) (0.38) (76%) 0.05 (0.52) 110%
Total assets 742,288 729,888 2% 742,288 729,888 2%
Net bank debt outstanding (1) 67,201 77,827 (14%) 67,201 77,827 (14%)
Senior notes, at principal amount 150,000 150,000 - 150,000 150,000 -
Convertible debentures, at principal amount 159,779 159,972 - 159,779 159,972 -
Total net debt (1) 376,980 387,799 (3%) 376,980 387,799 (3%)
Capital expenditures            
  Exploration and development (3) 24,518 21,185 16% 96,684 79,724 21%
  Dispositions, net of Acquisitions (483) (6,923) (93%) (70,840) (164,763) (57%)
  Interest in Warwick Gas Storage - - - 19,129 - -
  Other 2 23 (91%) 120 271 (56%)
  Net capital expenditures 24,037 14,285 68% 45,093 (84,768) (153%)
Common shares outstanding (thousands)            
End of period 148,490 147,455 1% 148,490 147,455 1%
Weighted average 148,144 147,085 1% 148,144 147,085 1%
Operating            
Average production            
  Natural gas (MMcf/d) (4) 90.3 88.3 2% 88.9 100.2 (11%)
  Oil and NGL (bbl/d) (4) 3,509 3,536 (1%) 3,860 3,448 12%
  Total (boe/d) (5) 18,559 18,250 2% 18,696 20,142 (7%)
  Gas over bitumen deemed production (MMcf/d) (5) 19.5 25.1 (22%) 22.7 26.7 (15%)
  Average daily (actual and deemed - boe/d) (4) (5) 21,809 22,240 (2%) 22,479 24,592 (9%)
Average prices            
  Natural gas, before derivatives ($/Mcf) 3.37 2.99 13% 3.26 2.48 31%
  Natural gas, including derivatives ($/Mcf) 3.62 3.56 2% 3.53 3.34 6%
  Oil and NGL, before derivatives ($/bbl) 65.35 62.02 5% 67.65 64.26 5%
  Oil and NGL, including derivatives ($/bbl) 65.88 71.29 (8%) 66.48 64.13 4%
  Barrel of oil equivalent, including derivatives ($/boe) 30.09 31.05 (3%) 30.56 27.59 11%
Drilling (wells drilled gross/net)            
  Gas 4/2.0 3/1.5   6/3.0 8/5.5  
  Oil 5/5.0 2/2.0   37/35.7 36/34.6  
  Total 9/7.0 5/3.5   43/38.7 44/40.1  
  Success rate (%) 100/100 100/100   100/100 100/100  
   
(1) These are non-GAAP measures. Please refer to "Non-GAAP Measures" below.
(2) Based on weighted average basic or diluted common shares outstanding for the period.
(3) Exploration and development costs include geological and geophysical expenditures.
(4) Production amounts are based on the Corporation's interest before royalty expense.
(5) The deemed production volume describes all gas shut-in or denied production pursuant to a decision report, corresponding order or general bulletin of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board ("AEUB"), or through correspondence in relation to an AEUB ID 99-1 application. This deemed production volume is not actual gas sales but represents shut-in gas that is the basis of the gas over bitumen financial solution which is received monthly from the Alberta Crown as a reduction against other royalties payable.

Forward-Looking Information

Certain information regarding Perpetual in this news release including management's assessment of future plans and operations and including the information contained under the heading "Outlook" may constitute forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws. The forward-looking information includes, without limitation, statements regarding capital expenditure levels for 2014, prospective drilling activities; forecast production, production type, operations, funds flows, and timing thereof; forecast and realized commodity prices; expected funding, allocation and timing of capital expenditures; projected use of funds flow and anticipated funds flow; planned drilling and development and the results thereof; expected dispositions, anticipated proceeds therefrom and the use of proceeds therefrom; and commodity prices. Various assumptions were used in drawing the conclusions or making the forecasts and projections contained in the forward-looking information contained in this press release, which assumptions are based on management analysis of historical trends, experience, current conditions, and expected future developments pertaining to Perpetual and the industry in which it operates as well as certain assumptions regarding the matters outlined above. Forward-looking information is based on current expectations, estimates and projections that involve a number of risks, which could cause actual results to vary and in some instances to differ materially from those anticipated by Perpetual and described in the forward looking information contained in this press release. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of performance and is subject to a number of risks or uncertainties, including without limitation those described under "Risk Factors" in Perpetual's Annual Information Form and MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2013 and those included in other reports on file with Canadian securities regulatory authorities which may be accessed through the SEDAR website (www.sedar.com) and at Perpetual's website (www.perpetualenergyinc.com). Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of risk factors is not exhaustive. Forward-looking information is based on the estimates and opinions of Perpetual's management at the time the information is released and Perpetual disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly any such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as expressly required by applicable securities laws.

Volume Conversions

Barrel of oil equivalent ("boe") may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. In accordance with National Instrument 51-101 ("NI 51-101"), a conversion ratio for natural gas of 6 Mcf:1bbl has been used, which is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. In addition, utilizing a conversion on a 6 Mcf:1 bbl basis may be misleading as an indicator of value as the value ratio between natural gas and crude oil, based on the current prices of natural gas and crude oil, differ significantly from the energy equivalency of 6 Mcf:1 bbl.

Non-GAAP Measures

This news release contains financial measures that may not be calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in Canada ("GAAP"). Readers are referred to advisories and further discussion on non-GAAP measures contained in the "Significant Accounting Policies and non-GAAP Measures" section of management's discussion and analysis.

Conference Call and Webcast

Perpetual will be hosting a conference call and webcast at 8:30 a.m., Mountain Time, Thursday, March 6, 2013 to review this information. Interested parties are invited to take part in the conference call by dialing one of the following telephone numbers 10 minutes before the start time: Toronto and area 647.427.7450; outside Toronto 888.231.8191. For a replay of this call please dial: 1.855.859.2056, passcode: 6182210 until 8:59 MT, March 13, 2014.

To participate in the live webcast please visit www.perpetualenergyinc.com or http://event.on24.com/r.htm?e=760381&s=1&k=F36C3B5F43B1C617F3D613E36FB7742A. The webcast will be archived and the webcast presentation will be posted on Perpetual's website shortly following the presentation. The Toronto Stock Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the information contained herein.

About Perpetual

Perpetual Energy Inc. is a Canadian energy company with a spectrum of resource-style opportunities spanning heavy oil, NGL and bitumen along with a large base of shallow gas assets. Perpetual's shares and convertible debentures are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "PMT", "PMT.DB.D" and "PMT.DB.E", respectively. Further information with respect to Perpetual can be found at its website at www.perpetualenergyinc.com.

The Toronto Stock Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the information contained herein.

 

SOURCE Perpetual Energy Inc.

For further information:

Perpetual Energy Inc.
Suite 3200, 605 - 5 Avenue SW Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 3H5
Telephone: 403 269-4400    Fax: 403 269-4444     Email:  info@perpetualenergyinc.com

Susan L. Riddell Rose 
President and Chief Executive Officer

Cameron R. Sebastian 
Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer