Forest Oil Announces Third Quarter 2012 Results

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Forest Oil Announces Third Quarter 2012 Results

Third Quarter 2012 Average Net Sales Volumes of 339 MMcfe/d (34% Liquids compared to 27% Liquids in Third Quarter 2011)

Third Quarter 2012 Average Net Oil Sales Volumes of 8.9 MBbls/d; Organically Increased 29% from Third Quarter 2011 and 7% Sequentially


Extended Hogshooter Fairway with Successful Well at Camp South with an Average 24-Hour Maximum Production Rate of 1,600 Boe/d (71% Oil)

Completed Two Unrestricted Rate Eagle Ford Shale Wells with an Average 24-Hour Maximum Production Rate of 638 Boe/d

Completed Four Restricted Rate Eagle Ford Shale Wells with an Average 24-Hour Maximum Production Rate of 542 Boe/d

Continued Progress on Deleveraging Plan with Agreements to Sell Approximately $277 Million of Assets

Recent $500 Million Senior Notes Offering Increases Financial Flexibility

DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Forest Oil Corporation (NYS: FST) (Forest or the Company) today announced financial and operational results from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2012.

Forest noted the following results for the three months ended September 30, 2012:

  • Average net sales volumes of 339 MMcfe/d organically increased 5% from the third quarter of 2011 and 1% from the second quarter of 2012
  • Average oil net sales volumes of 8.9 MBbls/d organically increased 29% from the third quarter of 2011 and 7% from the second quarter of 2012
  • Adjusted net earnings of $12 million compared to $29 million in the corresponding 2011 period
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $134 million compared to $142 million in the corresponding 2011 period
  • Adjusted discretionary cash flow of $97 million compared to $106 million in the corresponding 2011 period

Due primarily to a non-cash ceiling test write-down of $330 million and an $80 million impairment charge, Forest reported a net loss of $459 million, or $(3.97) per share, for the three months ended September 30, 2012.

Patrick R. McDonald, President and CEO, stated, "During the third quarter Forest made significant progress towards achieving the strategic objectives that we have communicated to our shareholders. Our divestiture program is off to a good start, with approximately $277 million in sales closed or pending. We will continue to focus on other non-core divestitures to improve our financial position and flexibility. We opportunistically took advantage of favorable high-yield market conditions to complete a $500 million Senior Notes offering, with proceeds used to redeem 50% of our outstanding Senior Notes due 2014. Importantly, our capital program is now closely aligned with our expected cash flow. Forest entered the fourth quarter operating five drilling rigs, all targeting oil or liquids-rich opportunities in our three core development areas. These actions have resulted in measurable achievements designed to better position Forest for the long-term.

"Operationally, we continue to execute on our development program by targeting higher-margin oil opportunities within our core Panhandle and Eagle Ford areas. During the third quarter, we opened up a new area of the Hogshooter play with a successful completion in the Camp South Area and we completed our first well targeting the Douglas oil horizon. These results continue to demonstrate the resource potential that exists within the oil zones of the Panhandle. In the Eagle Ford, we have introduced a drilling rig equipped with a "rig-walking" system that will allow for multi-well pad drilling in the central fairway. This should result in more efficient operations, while driving well costs lower and increasing our overall returns. Our focus on oil projects continues to generate positive results, as third quarter oil volumes increased 7% sequentially and 29% as compared to the third quarter of 2011.

"Forest made significant strides on all fronts during the most recent quarter; continued execution is critical in bringing forward the value of our assets. Everyone at Forest is focused on building upon the operational and financial momentum gained during the third quarter for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013."

THIRD QUARTER 2012 RESULTS

For the three months ended September 30, 2012, Forest reported a net loss of $459 million, or $(3.97) per diluted share. This compares to Forest's net earnings from continuing operations of $60 million, or $0.52 per diluted share, in the corresponding 2011 period. The net loss in the third quarter of 2012 was affected by the following items:

  • The effect of a ceiling test write-down of $330 million ($210 million net of tax)
  • An impairment of $80 million primarily related to Forest's South African properties ($51 million net of tax)
  • An increase in the valuation allowance on deferred tax assets (primarily driven by the ceiling test write-down and impairments) of $170 million ($170 million net of tax)
  • Unrealized losses on derivative instruments of $52 million ($33 million net of tax)
  • Legal proceeding costs of $6 million ($4 million net of tax)
  • Rig stacking costs of $3 million ($2 million net of tax)

Without the effect of these items, Forest's adjusted net earnings and earnings per share on a diluted basis for the three months ended September 30, 2012 decreased to $12 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, compared to $29 million, or $0.25 per diluted share, in the corresponding 2011 period. The decrease in adjusted earnings was primarily due to higher depletion expense in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2011. Forest's adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended September 30, 2012 decreased to $134 million compared to $142 million in the corresponding 2011 period. Forest's adjusted discretionary cash flow for the three months ended September 30, 2012 decreased to $97 million compared to $106 million in the corresponding 2011 period.

Average Net Sales Volumes, Average Realized Prices, and Revenues

Forest's average net sales volumes for the three months ended September 30, 2012 increased 5% and 1% from the corresponding 2011 period and from the second quarter of 2012, respectively. The following table details the components of average net sales volumes, average realized prices, and revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2012:

 
Three Months Ended September 30, 2012
Gas Oil NGLs Total
(MMcf/d)(MBbls/d)(MBbls/d)(MMcfe/d)
 
Average Net Sales Volumes224.98.910.1339.1
 
Average Realized PricesGas

($/Mcf)

Oil

($/Bbl)

NGLs

($/Bbl)

Total

($/Mcfe)

 
Average realized prices not including realized derivative gains$2.48$94.34$29.48$5.00
Realized gains on NYMEX derivatives 1.10 2.56 1.59 0.84
Average realized prices including realized derivative gains$3.57$96.90$31.07$5.84
 
Revenues (in thousands)GasOilNGLsTotal
 
Revenues not including realized derivative gains$51,241$77,359$27,414$156,014
Realized gains on NYMEX derivatives 22,664 2,097 1,481 26,242
Revenues including realized derivative gains$73,905$79,456$28,895$182,256
 

Total Cash Costs

Forest's total cash costs for the third quarter of 2012 decreased 38% to $52 million, compared to $84 million in the corresponding 2011 period. Total cash costs per-unit for the third quarter of 2012 decreased 41% to $1.67 per Mcfe, compared to $2.83 per Mcfe in the corresponding 2011 period.

Total cash costs per-unit for the third quarter of 2012, pro forma for the current income tax credit associated with an income tax-carryback for cash taxes paid in 2009, decreased 3% to $2.74 per Mcfe, compared to $2.83 per Mcfe in the corresponding 2011 period.

The following table details the components of total cash costs for the comparative periods:

 Three Months Ended September 30,
2012 Per Mcfe 2011 Per Mcfe
(In thousands, except per-unit amounts)
 
Production expense$39,848$1.28$34,603$1.16
General and administrative expense (excluding stock-based compensation of $3,474 and $8,832, respectively)9,9420.3211,1100.37
Interest expense36,2231.1637,2251.25
Current income tax expense (33,830) (1.08) 1,172 0.04
Total cash costs$52,183 $1.67 $84,110$2.83
Current income tax credit/income tax-carryback 33,327  1.07  - -
Pro forma total cash costs$85,510 $2.74 $84,110$2.83
 

_________________________

Total cash costs is a non-GAAP measure that is used by management to assess the Company's cash operating performance.Forest defines total cash costs as all cash operating costs, including production expense; general and administrative expense (excluding stock-based compensation); interest expense; and current income tax expense.

Depreciation and Depletion Expense

Forest's per-unit depreciation and depletion expense for the three months ended September 30, 2012 increased 30% to $2.37 per Mcfe compared to $1.83 per Mcfe in the corresponding 2011 period. The increase was primarily the result of higher finding and development costs associated with Forest's oil- and liquids-focused capital expenditure program.

Ceiling Test Write-Down, Property Impairments, and Deferred Tax Asset Valuation Allowance

Forest recorded a non-cash ceiling test write-down of $330 million in the third quarter of 2012 pursuant to the ceiling test limitation prescribed by the Securities and Exchange Commission for companies using the full cost method of accounting. The write-down was primarily a result of a $0.32 per Mcf decrease in the natural gas price used and lower natural gas liquids price used in the ceiling test calculation in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the second quarter of 2012.

Forest recorded a $67 million impairment of its unproved properties in South Africa during the third quarter of 2012 as it was determined that the Company would likely not recover the carrying amount of its investment in the South Africa properties. Forest also recorded an impairment of $13 million related to the recently-announced sale of its East Texas natural gas gathering assets which reduced the carrying amount of the assets to the final expected sales price.

Primarily as a result of this quarter's ceiling test write-down and property impairments, Forest recorded a valuation allowance against its deferred tax assets of $170 million.

Total Capital Expenditures

Forest's exploration and development capital expenditures for the three months ended September 30, 2012 were $166 million, compared to $182 million in the corresponding 2011 period. For the second half of 2012, Forest intends to invest between $240 million and $260 million for capital expenditures.

Forest's land and leasehold acquisition costs for the three months ended September 30, 2012 were $7 million, compared to $76 million in the corresponding 2011 period. The land and leasehold acquisitions in 2011 were a result of Forest's decision to expand exposure to prospective oil- and liquids-rich areas.

The following table summarizes total capital expenditures for the comparative periods (in thousands):

 Three Months Ended September 30,
2012 2011
 
Exploration and development$165,885$181,822
Land and leasehold acquisitions 6,977 75,804
172,862257,626
 
Add:
ARO, capitalized interest, and capitalized equity compensation 6,455 11,844
Total capital expenditures$179,317$269,470
 

Asset Divestiture Update

Since embarking on its deleveraging plan in early July, Forest has completed, or has under contract, transactions totaling approximately $277 million. This includes the recently-announced agreement to sell South Louisiana properties for $220 million; the sale of East Texas natural gas gathering assets for $34 million; approximately 5,600 net acres in the Eagle Ford Shale for approximately $15 million; and other miscellaneous properties for approximately $8 million. Forest will continue to focus on non-core asset divestitures to improve the Company's financial flexibility. The following table details the third quarter of 2012 average daily production volumes for the divested properties as well as the proved reserves associated with these properties as of December 31, 2011.

 

Estimated
Proceeds

 

3Q12
Production

 

Proved Reserves at
December 31, 2011

Transaction($MM)(MMcfe/d)(Bcfe)
 
South Louisiana Properties2202045
East Texas Natural Gas Gathering Assets34--
Eagle Ford Shale Acreage15--
Miscellaneous Properties827
   
Total2772252
 

OPERATIONAL PROJECT UPDATE

Panhandle Area

Forest holds approximately 178,000 gross acres (108,000 net) in the Panhandle Area. The Company continues to focus drilling activities on the Missourian Wash (Hogshooter), Cleveland, Tonkawa, and Douglas oil formations. Forest entered the third quarter of 2012 operating five rigs in the Panhandle Area and is currently running a two-rig drilling program.

Highlighting drilling activity since Forest's last earnings release, the productive boundary of the Hogshooter play was successfully extended with a completion in the Camp South Area, which is located north of the Frye Ranch Area. The initial well (100% WI) came online with an average 24-hour maximum production rate of 1,128 Bbls/d of oil, 216 Bbls/d of NGLs, and 1.4 MMcf/d of natural gas, for a total equivalent rate of 1,600 Boe/d (71% oil).

In addition, a Missourian Wash Hogshooter well (98% working interest) was completed in the Frye Ranch Area with an average 24-hour maximum production rate of 1,357 Bbls/d of oil, 442 Bbls/d of NGLs, and 1.4 MMcf/d of natural gas, for a total equivalent rate of 2,030 Boe/d (67% oil). To date, Forest has completed seven Hogshooter wells in the Frye Ranch Area that have had an average 24-hour maximum production rate of 2,600 Boe/d (68% oil).

Forest completed its first well targeting the Douglas interval during the third quarter in Hemphill County, Texas. This well (57% working interest) had an average 24-hour maximum production rate of 715 Boe/d (62% oil). The Douglas interval is one of the shallowest oil zones located in the Panhandle and a development well is expected to cost approximately $4.5 million. Forest has 25 Douglas locations identified, with additional acreage being reviewed for prospectivity.

Eagle Ford Shale

Forest holds approximately 100,000 gross acres (91,000 net) in the oil-bearing section of the Eagle Ford Shale play.

Drilling in the Eagle Ford continues to be focused in the central fairway of Forest's acreage position, where the Company has experienced the most consistent results and has the largest, most contiguous block of acreage. Forest is currently operating a two-rig drilling program and expects to hold approximately 40,000 net acres over the next several years.

Forest continues to make progress on reducing well costs and recently equipped one of its drilling rigs with a "rig-walking" system that will allow for multi-well pad drilling in the central fairway. It is expected that a four-well pad location can be drilled in 65 days as compared to four single-well site locations requiring 84 drill days. As a result of the drilling efficiencies and other synergies, it is expected that the cost to drill an Eagle Ford pad well can be reduced to between $5.5 million and $6.0 million depending on the lateral length, number of fracture stimulation stages, and the amount of sand that is used. This results in per-well savings of approximately 8-15% over a single-well approach and is expected to enhance the economics of Forest's Eagle Ford program.

Since Forest's last earnings release, two Eagle Ford wells were completed within the central fairway that had an average 24-hour maximum production rate of 638 Boe/d (95% oil). In an effort to optimize reserve recovery and well productivity, while lowering wells costs, Forest completed four wells as part of a restricted-rate pilot program that began producing at an average 24-hour maximum production rate of 542 boe/d (95% oil). Early results from the restricted-rate initiative are being evaluated, and the Company will continue to monitor the performance of the pilot wells before making a decision to implement the program more broadly.

Average net sales volumes from the Eagle Ford in the third quarter of 2012 increased 50% to 1,800 Boe/d as compared to second quarter 2012 volumes of 1,200 Boe/d.

East Texas

Forest holds approximately 163,000 gross acres (123,000 net) in the East Texas / North Louisiana area.

Since Forest's last earnings release, one horizontal Cotton Valley well (100% working interest) in East Texas was completed with an average 24-hour maximum production rate of 13 MMcfe/d (39% liquids).

The Company plans to continue a one-rig drilling program targeting the liquids-rich Cotton Valley formation in the fourth quarter.

NATURAL GAS, NATURAL GAS LIQUIDS, AND OIL DERIVATIVES

As of October 29, 2012, Forest had natural gas, natural gas liquids, and oil derivatives in place for the remainder of 2012 through 2014 covering the aggregate average daily volumes and weighted average prices shown below. Since the last earnings release, Forest added 4 MBbls/d of Calendar 2013 oil swaps at $95.53 per barrel and 40 Bbtu/d of Calendar 2014 natural gas swaps at $4.50 per MMBtu.

 Oct - Dec  
201220132014
Natural gas swaps:
Contract volumes (Bbtu/d)155.0160.040.0
Weighted average price (per MMBtu)$4.63$3.98$4.50
 
Natural gas liquids swaps:
Contract volumes (MBbls/d)2.0--
Weighted average price (per Bbl)$45.22$-$-
 
Oil swaps:
Contract volumes (MBbls/d)4.54.0-
Weighted average price (per Bbl)$97.26$95.53$-
 

In connection with several swaps shown in the table above, Forest granted swaption instruments to counterparties in exchange for Forest receiving premium hedged prices on the swaps. The table below sets forth the outstanding swaptions as of October 29, 2012:

 2013 2014 2015
Natural gas swaptions:
Contract volumes (Bbtu/d)40.040.0-
Weighted average price (per MMBtu)$4.02$4.50$-
 
Oil swaptions:
Contract volumes (MBbls/d)2.05.03.0
Weighted average price (per Bbl)$95.00$105.80$100.00
 

NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES

Adjusted Net Earnings

In addition to reporting net earnings (loss) from continuing operations as defined under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), Forest also presents adjusted net earnings from continuing operations (adjusted net earnings), which is a non-GAAP performance measure. Adjusted net earnings consists of net earnings (loss) from continuing operations after adjustment for those items shown in the table below. Adjusted net earnings does not represent, and should not be considered an alternative to, GAAP measurements such as net earnings (loss) from continuing operations (its most comparable GAAP financial measure), and Forest's calculations thereof may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies. By eliminating the items shown below, Forest believes that the measure is useful to investors because similar measures are frequently used by securities analysts, investors, and other interested parties in their evaluation of companies in the oil and gas industry. Forest's management does not view adjusted net earnings in isolation and also uses other measurements, such as net earnings (loss) from continuing operations and revenues to measure operating performance. The following table provides a reconciliation of net earnings (loss) from continuing operations, the most directly comparable GAAP measure, to adjusted net earnings for the periods presented (in thousands):

 

Three Months Ended
September 30,

2012 2011
 
Net earnings (loss) from continuing operations$(458,552)$59,610
 
Ceiling test write-down of oil and natural gas properties, net of tax210,480-
Change in valuation allowance on deferred tax assets170,065-
Impairment of properties, net of tax50,731-
Stock-based compensation expense attributable to the spin-off, net of tax-4,228
Rig stacking, net of tax1,750-
Unrealized losses (gains) on derivative instruments, net of tax33,048(34,831)
Legal proceeding costs, net of tax 4,085  - 
Adjusted net earnings$11,607 $29,007 
 
Earnings attributable to participating securities 274  1,256 
Adjusted net earnings for diluted earnings per share$11,333 $27,751 
 
Weighted average number of diluted shares outstanding 115,417  112,162 
 
Adjusted diluted earnings per diluted share$0.10 $0.25 
 

Adjusted EBITDA

In addition to reporting net earnings (loss) from continuing operations as defined under GAAP, Forest also presents adjusted net earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, depletion, and amortization from continuing operations (adjusted EBITDA), which is a non-GAAP performance measure. Adjusted EBITDA consists of net earnings (loss) from continuing operations after adjustment for those items shown in the table below. Adjusted EBITDA does not represent, and should not be considered an alternative to, GAAP measurements such as net earnings (loss) from continuing operations (its most comparable GAAP financial measure), and Forest's calculations thereof may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies. By eliminating the items shown below, Forest believes the measure is useful in evaluating its fundamental core operating performance. Forest also believes that adjusted EBITDA is useful to investors because similar measures are frequently used by securities analysts, investors, and other interested parties in their evaluation of companies in the oil and gas industry. Forest's management uses adjusted EBITDA to manage its business, including in preparing its annual operating budget and financial projections. Forest's management does not view adjusted EBITDA in isolation and also uses other me

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