Vero Energy Inc. announces financial and operating results for the third
quarter of 2009 and current activities update


CALGARY, Nov. 4 /CNW/ - Vero Energy Inc. ("Vero" or the "Company") (TSX-VRO) today announces its third quarter, 2009 financial and operating results. Copies of the financial statements and management discussion and analysis in respect thereof for the quarter ended September 30, 2009 will be available, in due course, through or by visiting Vero's website at

    Third Quarter 2009 Highlights

      -  Increased average daily production 6% to 6,610 boe/d (80% natural
         gas) in 2009 from 6,236 boe/d in the third quarter of 2008. For the
         year to date production increased 16% to 6,998 boe/d.

      -  Cash flow from operations was $4.0 million equating to $0.09 per
         share (basic and diluted).

      -  Capital spending was $ 5.0 million including the drilling of
         1 (1.0 net) horizontal well. Another horizontal well started
         drilling before the end of the quarter.

    Current Activities Update

      -  On November 3, 2009 closed a bought-deal financing for 2.2 million
         flow-through common shares at $5.65 per share for gross proceeds of
         $12.6 million.

      -  Entered into two definitive agreements for the sale of 350 boe/d of
         producing assets for proceeds of $15.2 million before adjustments.
         Both deals are expected to close in the fourth quarter.

      -  Current production based on field estimates is back over 7,000 boe/d
         (81% natural gas)

      -  Currently have two operated drilling rigs with a third to start
         drilling on November 7. All three rigs will be drilling horizontal

    Financial and operating highlights for the third quarter of 2009 with
comparisons to the third quarter of 2008 are as follows:

                             Three Months ended         Nine months ended
                                 September 30,             September 30,
    Financial ($000's
    except per share
    amounts)                  2009     2008     %       2009      2008     %
    Production revenue      15,897   33,495   (56)    55,644   108,103   (49)
    Funds flow from
     operations (1)          4,044   16,584   (76)    18,013    61,232   (71)
      Per basic share         0.09     0.50   (82)      0.46      1.93   (76)
      Per diluted share       0.09     0.50   (82)      0.46      1.92   (76)
    Net (loss) earnings     (3,682)  10,421  (135)   (19,125)   22,944  (183)
      Per basic share        (0.08)    0.32  (125)     (0.49)     0.72  (168)
      Per diluted share      (0.08)    0.31  (126)     (0.49)     0.72  (168)
    Capital expenditures,
     net                     4,973   48,234   (90)    34,869    84,533   (59)
    Net debt (2)           106,936   67,725    58    106,936    67,725    58

    Share Capital (000's)
    Basic, weighted
     average                40,952   32,955    24     38,887    31,680    23
    Basic, end of period    40,952   33,433    22     40,952    33,433    22
    Fully diluted           44,111   36,416    21     44,111    36,416    21

    Daily Production
    Natural gas
     volumes (mcf/d)        31,850   30,059     6     33,912    28,172    20
    Light oil (boe/d)          288      515   (44)       342       582   (41)
    Liquids (boe/d)          1,014      711    43      1,003       755    33
    Corporate (boe/d)        6,610    6,236     6      6,998     6,032    16

    Average Realized Prices
    Natural gas ($/mcf)       3.23     7.81   (59)      4.14      9.11   (55)
    Light Oil ($/bbl)        64.35   112.72   (43)     55.00    107.75   (49)
    Liquids ($/bbl)          50.76   100.07   (49)     44.53     99.67   (55)
    Corporate ($/boe)        24.64    55.78   (56)     28.41     63.79   (55)

    Netbacks ($/boe)(4)
    Operating                12.54    32.17   (61)     14.06     40.07   (65)
    Funds flow from
     operations               6.65    28.91   (77)      9.43     37.04   (75)

    Wells drilled
    Gross                        1        8   (88)         8        22   (64)
    Net                        1.0      5.3   (81)       7.4      15.2   (51)

    (1) Funds flow from operations is calculated as cash provided by
        operating activities from the statement of cash flows, adding change
        in non-cash working capital and asset retirement expenditures. Funds
        flow from operations is used to analyze the Company's operating
        performance and leverage. Funds flow from operations does not have a
        standardized measure prescribed by Canadian Generally Accepted
        Accounting Principles and therefore may not be comparable with the
        calculations of similar measures for other companies.
    (2) Net debt represents current assets less current liabilities and bank
        debt (but excludes the potential future liability related to the mar-
        to-market measurement of hedges). It does not have a standardized
        meaning prescribed by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and it
        is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented
        by other companies.
    (3) All barrels of oil equivalent conversions use 6 mcf to 1 barrel of
    (4) Operating netback equals total revenue less royalties, transportation
        and operating costs calculated on a per boe basis. Operating netback
        and funds flow from operations netback do not have a standardized
        measure prescribed by Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting
        Principles and therefore may not be comparable with the calculations
        of similar measures for other companies.


The outlook for Vero Energy has improved significantly with major initiatives taken by the Company. In fact we believe that the Company is now in an excellent position to quickly and profitably grow production. Commodity prices have improved into the fourth quarter and the Company has resumed spending on a measured and prudent capital program.

During five months of limited capital spending and no wells being drilled, time was spent developing and executing a solid business plan. We critically reviewed our industry leading low capital cost spending, focusing on further improvement while optimizing our drilling and completions to get maximum return. That focus has paid off as our first two horizontals in the second half of this year are showing very good results in deliverability and more importantly, our expectations are that reserve recovery per well will improve.

The Company also put a plan in place to take advantage of our significant and growing drilling inventory, reductions in the costs of services, and the very appealing drilling incentives currently offered in the Province of Alberta. The plan included the disposition of non-core assets where we were not going to invest capital in the foreseeable future. Good assets are still receiving $40,000 per producing boe whereas Vero believes we can add production per horizontal well at capital efficiencies less than $10,000 per producing boe. The Company's efficient cycle time, and this swap of non-core assets, redeploying the cash into drilling inventory has the potential to translate into four times growth in core areas. We have initiated the execution of this plan by entering into agreements to dispose of approximately 350 boe/d of assets for a price of $15.2 million (with closings expected in the fourth quarter, subject to customary conditions). Couple this with the recent equity financing that closed in early November and Vero now has the flexibility to drill our inventory and add production quickly and efficiently.

Our capital cost efficiencies and our accelerated cycle times, (50-60 days from drill to first sales); give us the confidence that our projects are as competitive as any in North America. Service cost reductions are currently estimated to be approximately twenty percent and drilling incentives from the province of Alberta include credits of $200 per meter drilled, and 5% royalties on the first 500 mmcfe (million cubic feet equivalent) of production on wells drilled prior to April 1, 2011. At a current $4/mmbtu gas price Vero's returns equate to the equivalent of over $7/mmbtu on the costs and crown royalties prior to 2009 (near term $5/mmbtu prices equate to gas prices greater than $8.50/mmbtu in that prior period). Another way to look at it is that roughly every fourth well we drill is free, net of the drilling incentive.

Vero's current production is over 7,000 boe/d with 1,000 boe/d restricted and /or shut-in. Production currently shut-in due to economics is approximately 200 boe/d. Of the restricted production 400 boe/d is self restricted during post clean-up after new well completions and due to low commodity price. The balance requires some facility work to remove restrictions. In order to remove some production restrictions due to bottlenecks, the Company plans to add another gas compression facility that is expected to be operational in mid December. This facility will also allow us to switch production between two different midstream plants in an area where we have recently seen significant downtime. The plans are to drill 6 (5 net) horizontal wells in the fourth quarter. With production coming on from new wells and after dispositions, the Company expects to average 6,800-6,900 boe/d in this quarter and exit 2009 between 7,500-8,000 boe/d with net debt of approximately $87 mm. The Company has the financial flexibility to implement a board approved plan for the first quarter of 2010 that includes spending approximately $30 mm to drill 9-10 (8.5-9.5 net) horizontal wells. As a result, production in the first quarter of 2010 is expected to average 7,800-8,200 boe/d with an exit rate between 9,000-9,500 boe/d. The Company will be drilling horizontal wells in the zones we have historically drilled: Rock Creek, Notikewin, and Bluesky but we will also target new horizons where we currently have no horizontal well reserves booked, specifically the Cardium and Wilrich. In the Cardium, two wells (1 oil, 1 gas) are planned in this quarter and two wells (1 oil, 1 gas) in the first quarter of 2010. Currently the Company has 2 rigs drilling horizontal wells, with a third rig planned to start drilling a horizontal well by November 7th. Plans are for all 3 rigs to be operating until the end of the first quarter. The Company's plan is aggressive but flexible, as we can pull back in the first quarter if economic conditions dictate.

Vero is cautiously optimistic as we enter 2010. We have positioned ourselves well both economically and strategically. We believe natural gas will average between $5 and $7/mmbtu however it may be very volatile, but even in the lower $5 case, we can show very profitable growth as we focus on doing "More for Less" with our capital and operational efficiencies that have the potential to add production at the lowest level ever in the four years of our Company. Please check for our updated presentation expected to be on our website by November 8.


During the third quarter of 2009 the natural gas industry experienced further natural gas price declines to levels that have not been seen since the beginning of this decade. In this low price environment Vero adopted a variety of strategies designed to conserve its resources and reserves. During the third quarter Vero spent $4,973 thousand in capital during the quarter compared with $48,234 thousand in the comparable quarter from last year. Capital was primarily expended on maintenance during the first half of the quarter. In the latter part of the third quarter, Vero returned to the field as it drilled and completed one horizontal well and also commenced the drilling of a second horizontal well. The Company intends to maximize the new Alberta Government drilling incentive credits until the program expires as the economics of drilling these wells with the new credits yield very favorable results for Vero.

In addition to conserving capital, Vero intentionally curtailed production rates during the quarter to preserve value with the expectation prices will start to recover in the near future. The new well drilled in the quarter was choked back to 1.2 mmcfed in accordance with this strategy. High operating cost wells were shut-in during the second quarter and this continued into the third quarter. Despite these intentional reductions, the Company still experienced an increase in production for the third quarter and year to date over the results from 2008. Vero averaged 6,610 boe/d in the third quarter of 2009 versus 6,236 in the same quarter of last year and 6,998 boe/d and 6,032 for the nine month periods ended September 30, 2009 and 2008 respectively.

Funds flow from operations in the third quarter of 2009 was $4,044 thousand or $0.09 per share compared with $16,584 thousand ($0.50 per share) in the third quarter of 2008. This decline was primarily the result of average prices declining 56% from the third quarter of 2008 to the most recent quarter of 2009. Vero's net debt was $106,936 thousand at September 30, 2009, which is consistent with the debt level at the end of the second quarter of this year.


    Edson, Alberta

Vero's largest producing property with average production of 4,818 boe/d (82% natural gas) in the third quarter of 2009 which represents 73% of total corporate production. Approximately 700 boe/d of operated production was shut-in for three weeks as the main gas compressor at a midstream facility had a serious mechanical failure. The Company also had 400 boe/d of self-restricted production in the quarter so as to not sell flush production into a low price environment. Also, approximately 75 boe/d of high operating cost production was shut-in during the quarter. The Company took advantage of the slowdown associated with the low, gas, commodity price environment to do some operated facility maintenance and upgrades.

In the quarter, Vero drilled and completed one horizontal well and started drilling a second horizontal well. Both were 100% working interest wells with the first one being brought on at the end of the quarter. Vero's primary geological targets in Edson are in the Mannville and Rock Creek zones, which range in depth from 2,000 to 2,600 meters and are characterized by gas with a high liquid content, capable of generating liquid volumes of up to 40 bbls/mmcf. Future drilling plans will be focused on defining the emerging resource potential of the Mannville and Cardium zones, and to start drilling the Rock Creek zone again. Vero continues to technically evaluate and optimize its horizontal drilling and completion techniques including drilling lengths, number of fracs and frac sizes. Plans for the fourth quarter of the year will be focused on drilling in the Edson area with 5 (4.0 net) horizontal wells.

Vero's acreage in the area consists of 68,000 gross (38,840 net) developed acres and 67,840 (54,973 net) undeveloped acres. A majority of the acreage in Edson has potential for at least two wells per section and the Company has an ongoing program of making applications to the regulator for down spacing approvals thereby increasing well inventory. Many of the emerging resource zones have the potential for more than two wells per section. Notwithstanding our acreage in Edson is a significant part of Vero's total acreage, we continue to stress that the reserve potential in this area is an even more important part of the area's development plan.

With Vero's relatively low capital and operating costs in Edson, the Company has the flexibility to respond quickly and efficiently to prevailing commodity prices. Coupling facility and operational control to a high quality inventory, characterized by short on-stream cycle time, will allow Vero the opportunity to create significant value as commodity prices recover. The Company is also in a position to prudently take advantage of the Alberta drilling and royalty incentive programs announced in March of this year.


Whitecourt is Vero's second largest producing area. Production averaged 754 boe/d (88% natural gas) in the third quarter. During the quarter approximately 50 boe/d of uneconomic production was shut-in.

The Whitecourt area has a number of tight gas drilling and down-spacing opportunities which are similar to the types of targets that have been successfully exploited with horizontal drilling and multi-fracs in the Edson area. The Company plans to drill one of these opportunities in the fourth quarter of 2009. Our focus during the remainder of the year will be on operating efficiencies and continuing to augment our portfolio with drilling and enhancement projects.

Vero currently controls 40,477 (22,160 net) developed acres and 51,840 (41,577 net) undeveloped acres in this area.

    Other Areas

The other areas contributed approximately 16% to Vero's daily production average in the quarter while averaging 1,038 boe/d (68 % natural gas). Although no wells have been drilled in these areas since January 2008, with the royalty incentives announced in March of this year we are re-evaluating the economics of drilling here. As such we currently have three wells licensed for drilling. During the quarter approximately 125 boe/d of high operating cost production was shut-in. Vero currently controls 68,327 (31,203 net) developed acres and 73,070 (52,658 net) undeveloped acres in these other areas.


Below is selected financial statement information for the three and nine month periods ended September 30, 2009 and 2008. For full disclosure of Vero's financial statements with their accompanying notes and the Management's Discussion and Analysis, please visit our website or SEDAR.


    Consolidated Balance Sheets
    (in thousands of dollars)

                                                 September 30,   December 31,
                                                     2009            2008
                                                  (unaudited)      (audited)
      Accounts receivable                              17,791         29,218
      Prepaid expenses and deposits                     5,794          5,294
      Loans receivable                                  2,751            350
                                                       26,336         34,862

    Property and equipment                            295,857        297,697
    Goodwill                                           19,913         19,913
                                                      342,106        352,472

      Accounts payable and accrued liabilities         30,301         63,354
      Risk management                                   2,073              -
      Bank debt                                       102,971         75,419
                                                      135,345        138,773

    Asset retirement obligations                        5,935          5,570
    Future taxes                                       15,742         17,416
                                                      157,022        161,759

      Share capital                                   169,388        160,103
      Contributed surplus                               8,981          4,759
      Retained Earnings                                 6,715         25,851
                                                      185,084        190,713
                                                      342,106        352,472


    Consolidated Statement of Operations, Comprehensive (Loss) Income and
    Retained Earnings For the three and nine month periods ended September 30
    (in thousands of dollars, except per share data)(unaudited)
                                     Three months ended   Nine months ended
                                         September 30        September 30
                                        2009      2008      2009      2008

      Production revenue               15,897    33,495    55,644    108,103
      Realized loss on risk
       management activities             (912)   (1,490)   (1,374)    (2,666)
                                       14,985    32,005    54,270    105,437
      Royalties                        (1,607)   (8,857)   (9,041)   (27,123)
      Unrealized loss on risk
       management activities            3,271     9,321    (2,073)     1,612
      Interest and other                   20         -        62          -
                                       16,669    32,469    43,218     79,926

      Operating                         5,886     3,903    17,290      9,994
      Transportation                      778       788     2,460      2,083
      General and administrative        1,472     1,263     4,417      3,226
      Stock based compensation            664       816     4,222      1,316
      Interest and bank charges         1,218       611     3,111      1,779
      Depletion, depreciation
       and accretion                   11,973    10,039    37,073     28,591
                                       21,991    17,419    68,573     46,990

    (LOSS) INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES  (5,322)   15,050   (25,356)    32,937

      Future tax (recovery) expense    (1,640)    4,629    (6,230)     9,993
                                       (1,640)    4,629    (6,230)    22,944

     COMPREHENSIVE (LOSS) INCOME       (3,682)   10,421   (19,125)    22,944

     OF PERIOD                         10,397    17,387    25,851      4,864

    Repurchase of shares                    -      (556)      (11)      (556)

    RETAINED EARNINGS, END OF PERIOD    6,715    27,252     6,715     27,252

      Basic                             (0.08)     0.32     (0.49)      0.72
      Diluted                           (0.08)     0.31     (0.49)      0.72


    Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows
    For the three and nine month periods ended September 30
    (in thousands of dollars, except per share data)(unaudited)
                                     Three months ended   Nine months ended
                                         September 30        September 30
                                        2009      2008      2009      2008

      Net (loss) earnings              (3,682)   10,421   (19,125)    22,944
      Adjustments for:
        Unrealized (gain) loss on
         risk management activities    (3,271)   (9,321)    2,073     (1,612)
        Stock based compensation          664       816     4,222      1,316
        Depletion, depreciation and
         accretion                     11,973    10,039    37,073     28,591
        Future tax (recovery)
         expense                       (1,640)    4,629    (6,230)     9,993
                                        4,044    16,584    18,013     61,232
      Changes in non-cash working
       capital                           (919)    2,647   (12,292)    (3,473)
                                        3,125    19,231     5,721     57,759

      Increase (decrease) in
       bank debt                         (998)   21,368    27,552      7,904
      Proceeds from issuance of
       common shares, net of share
       issue costs                         (7)        -    13,916     16,758
      (Increase) decrease in related
       party loans                        105         -    (2,401)         -
      Stock option exercises                -     3,434         -      4,378
      Repurchase of shares                  -    (1,081)      (86)    (1,081)
                                         (900)   23,721    38,981     27,959

      Corporate acquisitions                -         -         -     (2,606)
      Additions to petroleum
       and natural gas properties      (4,973)  (27,893)  (35,006)   (61,568)
      Purchase of producing
       petroleum properties                 -   (20,312)        -    (20,312)
      Proceeds on sale of petroleum
       properties                           -         -       145          -
      Additions to administrative
       assets                               -       (29)       (7)       (47)
      Changes in non-cash working
       capital                          2,748     5,282    (9,834)    (1,185)
                                       (2,225)   42,952   (44,702)    85,718

     EQUIVALENTS                            -         -         -          -

     BEGINNING OF PERIOD                    -         -         -          -

     END OF PERIOD                          -         -         -          -

Vero Energy Inc. is a Calgary based oil and natural gas exploration and development company. Vero's common shares trade on The Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "VRO". Please view the Vero Energy website at for the latest corporate presentation.

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

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy the securities in any jurisdiction. The common shares of Vero will not be and have not been registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and may not be offered or sold in the United States, or to a U.S. person, absent registration or applicable exemption therefrom.


Forward Looking Statements: Certain information regarding the Company in this news release including management's assessment of future plans and operations, production estimates, drilling inventory and wells to be drilled, timing of drilling and tie-in of wells, productive capacity of new wells, capital expenditures and capital efficiencies and the completion of dispositions and the timing thereof, and commodity price projections may constitute forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws and necessarily involve risks including, without limitation, risks associated with oil and gas exploration, development, exploitation, production, marketing and transportation, loss of markets, volatility of commodity prices, currency fluctuations, imprecision of reserve estimates, environmental risks, competition from other producers, inability to retain drilling rigs and other services, the timing and length of plant turnarounds and the impact of such turnarounds and the timing thereof, risks that planned dispositions will not be completed on projected timelines or at all, delays resulting from or inability to obtain required regulatory approvals and ability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources. As a consequence, the Company's actual results, performance or achievements could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements and, accordingly no assurance can be given that any events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will transpire or occur, or, if any of them do so, what benefits the Company will derive therefrom. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Additional information on these and other factors that could effect the Company's operations and financial results are included in reports on file with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and may be accessed through the SEDAR website (, and the Company's website ( Furthermore, the forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as at the date of this news release and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities laws.

BOE Disclosure: Disclosure provided herein in respect of barrels of oil equivalent (boe) may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A boe conversion ratio of 6 Mcf: 1 Bbl is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. Mboe means thousands of barrels of oil equivalent.

Non-GAAP terms: this press release contains the terms "funds flow from operations" and "netbacks" which are not terms recognized under Generally Accepted Accounting Policies ("GAAP"). The Company uses these measures to help evaluate its performance as well as to evaluate acquisitions. The Company considers funds flow from operations a key measure as it demonstrates the Company's ability to generate funds necessary to repay debt and to fund future growth through capital investment. Funds generated from operations should not be considered as an alternative to, or more meaningful than, cash flow from operating activities as determined in accordance with Canadian GAAP as an indicator of Vero's performance. Vero's determination of funds flow from operations may not be comparable to that reported by other companies. The reconciliation between net income and funds flow from operations can be found in the statement of cash flows in the financial statements. Vero also presents funds generated from operations per share whereby per share amounts are calculated using weighted average shares (basic and diluted) outstanding consistent with the calculation of net earnings per share, which per share amounts are calculated under GAAP. The Company considers netbacks as a key measure as it demonstrates its profitability relative to current commodity prices. Operating netbacks are calculated by taking total revenues and subtracting royalties, operating expenses and transportations costs on a per boe basis. Funds flow netbacks are calculated by taking the operating netback and subtracting interest costs, and general and administrative costs on a per boe basis.

%SEDAR: 00022902E

SOURCE Vero Energy Inc.

For further information: For further information: Doug Bartole, President & CEO, at (403) 218-2063; Gerry Gilewicz, Vice-President Finance & CFO, at (403) 693-3170; Scott Koyich, Investor Relations, (403) 215-5979; Internet:

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