Antero Resources Reports Fourth Quarter Results, Announces 2021 Guidance, Proved Reserves and Drilling Partnership
February 17, 2021 at 16:15 PM EST
DENVER, Feb. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Antero Resources Corporation (NYSE: AR) ("Antero Resources", "Antero", or the "Company") today announced its fourth quarter and full year 2020 financial and operational results as well as its 2021 capital budget, guidance and proved reserves as of December 31, 2020. In addition, Antero announced the formation of a drilling partnership. The relevant consolidated financial statements are included in Antero Resource's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020.
Fourth Quarter 2020 Highlights Include:
2021 Guidance and Other Highlights:
Paul Rady, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Antero Resources commented, "Antero's unique position of having market leading exposure to attractive C3+ NGL prices, a premium firm transportation portfolio and extensive premium core drilling inventory creates a highly accretive development program in 2021. In addition, the drilling partnership announced today and the incremental gross production generated thereby is estimated to add incremental free cash flow to Antero of $400 million through 2025, assuming current strip prices. This significant incremental free cash flow results from filling of our premium firm transportation capacity, capturing additional LP gathering incentive fees from Antero Midstream and realizing carry payments from our drilling partner."
Mr. Rady continued, "Our 2021 capital budget reflects our shift to a maintenance level capital plan and the benefit from our well cost savings initiatives that we launched in 2019. We are targeting total well costs of $635 per lateral foot for the second half of 2021, a 35% reduction from $970 in the initial 2019 budget. Our ability to reduce costs and lower capital spending, combined with the benefits of the drilling partnership, puts us in position to generate over $500 million of free cash flow in 2021 and exceed $1.5 billion of cumulative free cash flow through 2025, based on today's commodity strip. We intend to use the free cash flow to reduce debt, which will rapidly decrease our leverage profile from 3.1x at year end 2020 to below 2-times in 2021, at current strip prices."
Glen Warren, President, and Chief Financial Officer of Antero Resources said, "Through a combination of asset sales and discounted debt repurchases, we reduced absolute debt by over $800 million since the start of our deleveraging program. Assuming strip pricing, we are in position to achieve our leverage target of below 2-times this year. Longer term, we will remain focused on maintaining a low leverage profile, while maximizing free cash flow. Finally, as we approach our leverage targets, we can begin to consider further return of capital to our shareholders."
For a discussion of the non-GAAP financial measures including Adjusted EBITDAX and Free Cash Flow please see "Non-GAAP Financial Measures."
Drilling Partnership Announcement
The following tables provide a guidance summary for 2021 and targets for 2022 through 2024 for the prior base case compared to the full commitment by QL under the drilling partnership. The Company's board of directors has not approved any capital budget or development plan beyond 2021. The first incremental wells will be completed in the fourth quarter of 2021, and therefore will have limited impact on the 2021 development plan. Under these assumptions, from 2022 through 2024 there would be minimal impact to production, capital expenditures or wells drilled and completed on a net basis to Antero.
The drilling partnership is forecast to increase Antero's Free Cash Flow by approximately $400 million through 2025 compared to Antero's prior base case plan by accelerating the decline in unutilized firm transportation expense, capturing midstream fee rebates, achieving carry payments from our drilling partner, as well as lower interest costs due to lower total debt. As a result, Antero expects to achieve its absolute debt target of below $2.0 billion in 2023, based on current strip pricing.
Resolution of Washington Gas Light Company Litigation
February Winter Weather Event
2021 Capital Budget and Guidance
The following is a summary of Antero Resources' 2021 production, pricing and cash expense guidance.
Natural Gas and NGL Price Realizations
Cash Production Expense and Net Marketing Expense
Antero forecasts net marketing expense to be in the range of $0.08 to $0.10 per Mcfe. This guidance reflects the impact from the winter weather in February and the current narrow strip for local basis in 2021. However, if local basis widens, as it did in 2020, net marketing expense is expected to be near the low end of the guidance range as more long-haul transportation is utilized.
Well Cost Savings
Antero plans to complete 65 to 70 gross wells in 2021. The average lateral length on completed wells is expected to be 13,150 feet. Antero plans to drill 80 to 85 gross wells with an average lateral length of 13,250 feet. Drilled wells include 70 in the Marcellus and 10 to 15 in the Ohio Utica. The 2021 capital budget assumes an average of 3 drilling rigs and 2 completion crews on a gross basis for the drilling partnership.
Fourth Quarter 2020 Free Cash Flow
Fourth Quarter 2020 Financial Results
Adjusted EBITDAX (non-GAAP measure) for the three months ended December 31, 2020 was $299 million, an increase of 1% versus the prior year period as lower operating costs and increased production offset a decrease in realized prices due to lower realized hedge gains. The $299 million of reported Adjusted EBITDAX includes a non-cash adjustment that increased fuel expense by $19 million or $0.07 per Mcfe during the fourth quarter.
The following table details the components of average net production and average realized prices for the three months ended December 31, 2020:
Net daily natural gas equivalent production in the fourth quarter averaged 3,650 MMcfe/d, including 198,924 Bbl/d of liquids (67% natural gas by volume). Net gas equivalent production increased 15% from the prior year period. Throughput on Antero Midstream's low pressure gathering system exceeded the growth incentive fee threshold of 2,900 MMcf/d during the fourth quarter of 2020, resulting in a $12 million rebate to Antero Resources.
Antero's average realized natural gas price before hedging was $2.63 per Mcf, representing a 5% increase versus the prior year period. Despite a sharp widening in the regional basis differential during the quarter, Antero realized a $0.03 per Mcf discount to the average NYMEX Henry Hub price through the use of its premium firm transportation to NYMEX-based markets. Including hedges, Antero's average realized natural gas price was $2.76 per Mcf, a $0.10 premium to the average NYMEX price.
Antero's average realized C3+ NGL price before hedging was $27.64 per barrel, a 26% sequential improvement and a 7% decrease versus the prior year period. Antero shipped 43% of its total C3+ NGL net production on Mariner East 2 for export and realized an $0.11 per gallon premium to Mont Belvieu pricing on these volumes at Marcus Hook, PA. Antero sold the remaining 57% of C3+ NGL net production at a $0.06 per gallon discount to Mont Belvieu pricing at Hopedale, OH. The resulting blended price on 132,326 Bbl/d of net C3+ NGL production was $27.64 per barrel, which was a $0.02 per gallon premium to Mont Belvieu pricing. Antero expects to sell at least 50% of its C3+ NGL production in 2021 at Marcus Hook for export at a premium to Mont Belvieu.
All-in cash expense, which includes lease operating, gathering, compression, processing and transportation, production and ad valorem taxes was $2.14 per Mcfe in the fourth quarter, a 3% increase compared to $2.08 per Mcfe average during the fourth quarter of 2019. The increase from a year ago was due to an increase in transportation expense as Antero utilized higher tariff long-haul firm transportation to capture higher realized natural gas prices. Lease operating expense was $0.08 per Mcfe in the fourth quarter, an 11% decline from the year ago period driven by a decrease in water handling costs as Antero increased water blending and reuse in completion operations.
G&A expense was $0.08 per Mcfe, a 20% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2019 primarily due to a lower employee headcount and a 15% increase in production.
Per unit net marketing expense declined to $0.08 per Mcfe in the fourth quarter, compared to $0.17 per Mcfe reported in the prior year period. The decline was driven primarily by higher production volumes during the quarter and wide regional basis differentials resulting in less unutilized transportation capacity. This fourth quarter net marketing expense was the lowest since Antero's full firm transportation portfolio was completed in 2018. As basis differentials widened during the fourth quarter of 2020, Antero's firm transportation portfolio allowed for the flow of its production without any shut-ins or curtailments and shielded it from the wide regional basis to NYMEX prices.
Fourth Quarter 2020 Operating Update
These efficiency gains led to average all-in well costs of $690 per lateral foot during the fourth quarter, normalized to a 12,000 foot lateral. This represents a nearly 30% reduction in all-in well cost per lateral foot since the beginning of 2019. The vast majority of the improvement in well costs has been driven by operational efficiency and process changes and are therefore expected to be sustainable.
Fourth Quarter and 2020 Capital Investment
Balance Sheet and Liquidity
Pro forma for the closing of Antero's 8.375% senior notes due in 2026 and 7.625% senior notes due in 2029, the convertible senior note equitization transaction, the redemptions of the remaining senior notes due 2022 and receipt of proceeds from the WGL litigation judgement, all of which occurred subsequent to year end 2020, Antero had $471 outstanding under its credit facility and $1.4 billion of liquidity.
The following table reconciles Antero's pro forma credit facility outstanding with the credit facility amount outstanding as of December, 31st 2020:
Year End Proved Reserves
Estimated proved developed reserves were 11.9 Tcfe, a 1% increase over the prior year. The percentage of estimated proved reserves classified as proved developed increased to 67% at year-end 2020, compared to 62% at year-end 2019. Antero's proved undeveloped locations have an average estimated BTU of 1264, with an average lateral length of approximately 13,261 feet. At year end 2020, Antero's five year development plan included 256 PUD locations compared to 328 at year end 2019. The year over year decrease was driven by the shift to a maintenance capital program, which had a net impact of reducing the year end 2020 five year plan by 72 PUD locations.
Antero's 5.8 Tcfe of estimated proved undeveloped reserves will require an estimated $1.5 billion of future development capital over the next five years, resulting in an estimated average future development cost for proved undeveloped reserves of $0.27 per Mcfe.
The following table presents a summary of changes in estimated proved reserves (in Tcfe).
Commodity Derivative Positions
Please see Antero's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, for more information on all commodity derivative positions, including basis swaps and natural gas calls.
The following tables summarize Antero's hedge position as of December 31, 2020:
Fixed price natural gas positions from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2023 were as follows:
Ethane and oil derivative contract positions from January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 were as follows:
2020 Asset Sales Program Accounting Treatment
Under the VPP transaction entered into during the third quarter of 2020, all production volumes and reserves are treated as a divestiture and not included in the results. Net proceeds are recorded as deferred revenue as of December 31, 2020. Revenue is recognized as volumes and are delivered using the unit-of-production method over the term of the VPP.
For more information, please see Antero's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020.
A simultaneous webcast of the call may be accessed over the internet at www.anteroresources.com. The webcast will be archived for replay on the Company's website until Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 9:00 am MT.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Adjusted Net Loss
Per Share Amounts
The following table reconciles consolidated total debt to Net Debt as used in this release (in thousands):
Free Cash Flow
The Company has not provided projected net cash provided by operating activities or a reconciliation of Free Cash Flow to projected net cash provided by operating activities, the most comparable financial measure calculated in accordance with GAAP. The Company is unable to project net cash provided by operating activities for any future period because this metric includes the impact of changes in operating assets and liabilities related to the timing of cash receipts and disbursements that may not relate to the period in which the operating activities occurred. The Company is unable to project these timing differences with any reasonable degree of accuracy without unreasonable efforts. 2021 Free Cash Flow estimate is based on current strip pricing and assumes aggregate dividends from Antero Midstream of $137 million in 2021, based on Antero Midstream's publicly announced 2021 dividend guidance and net proceeds of $85 million from the WGL litigation settlement. In addition, Free Cash Flow through 2025 assumes annual maintenance level capital spending of $635 million, annual dividends from Antero Midstream of $125 million, based on Antero Midstream's publicly announced 2021 dividend guidance, full participation by QL in the drilling partnership and strip pricing as of February 16, 2021.
Free Cash Flow is a useful indicator of the Company's ability to internally fund its activities and to service or incur additional debt. There are significant limitations to using Free Cash Flow as a measure of performance, including the inability to analyze the effect of certain recurring and non-recurring items that materially affect the Company's net income, the lack of comparability of results of operations of different companies and the different methods of calculating Free Cash Flow reported by different companies. Free Cash Flow does not represent funds available for discretionary use because those funds may be required for debt service, land acquisitions and lease renewals, other capital expenditures, working capital, income taxes, exploration expenses, and other commitments and obligations.
Through March 12, 2019, the financial results of Antero Midstream Partners were included in our consolidated results. Effective March 13, 2019, we no longer consolidate Antero Midstream Partners and account for our interest in Antero Midstream using the equity method of accounting. Adjusted EBITDAX includes distributions received with respect to limited partner interests in Antero Midstream Partners common units through March 12, 2019.
Adjusted EBITDAX as used and defined by us, may not be comparable to similarly titled measures employed by other companies and is not a measure of performance calculated in accordance with GAAP. Adjusted EBITDAX should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for operating income or loss, net income or loss, cash flows provided by operating, investing, and financing activities, or other income or cash flow statement data prepared in accordance with GAAP. Adjusted EBITDAX provides no information regarding our capital structure, borrowings, interest costs, capital expenditures, working capital movement, or tax position. Adjusted EBITDAX does not represent funds available for discretionary use because those funds may be required for debt service, capital expenditures, working capital, income taxes, exploration expenses, and other commitments and obligations. However, our management team believes Adjusted EBITDAX is useful to an investor in evaluating our financial performance because this measure:
There are significant limitations to using Adjusted EBITDAX as a measure of performance, including the inability to analyze the effects of certain recurring and non-recurring items that materially affect our net income or loss, the lack of comparability of results of operations of different companies, and the different methods of calculating Adjusted EBITDAX reported by different companies.
The following table represents a reconciliation of our net income (loss), including noncontrolling interest, to Adjusted EBITDAX and a reconciliation of our Adjusted EBITDAX to net cash provided by operating activities per our consolidated statements of cash flows, in each case, for the three months and years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020. Adjusted EBITDAX also excludes the noncontrolling interests in Martica and these adjustments are disclosed in the table below as Martica related adjustments.
Drilling and Completion Capital Expenditures
Notwithstanding their use for comparative purposes, the Company's non-GAAP financial measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures employed by other companies.
Antero Resources is an independent natural gas and natural gas liquids company engaged in the acquisition, development and production of unconventional properties located in the Appalachian Basin in West Virginia and Ohio. In conjunction with its affiliate, Antero Midstream (NYSE: AM), Antero is one of the most integrated natural gas producers in the U.S. The Company's website is located at www.anteroresources.com.
This release includes "forward-looking statements." Such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are not under Antero Resources' control. All statements, except for statements of historical fact, made in this release regarding activities, events or developments Antero Resources expects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future, such as those regarding expected results, future commodity prices, future production targets, realizing potential future fee rebates or reductions, including those related to certain levels of production, future earnings, leverage targets and debt repayment, future capital spending plans, improved and/or increasing capital efficiency, estimated realized natural gas, NGL and oil prices, expected drilling and development plans, projected well costs and cost savings initiatives, future financial position, the participation level of our drilling partner and the financial and production results to be achieved as a result of that drilling partnership, the other key assumptions underlying our projections, and future marketing opportunities, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release. Although Antero Resources believes that the plans, intentions and expectations reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements are reasonable, there is no assurance that these plans, intentions or expectations will be achieved. Therefore, actual outcomes and results could materially differ from what is expressed, implied or forecast in such statements. Except as required by law, Antero Resources expressly disclaims any obligation to and does not intend to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
Antero Resources cautions you that these forward-looking statements are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties, incident to the exploration for and development, production, gathering and sale of natural gas, NGLs and oil most of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond the Antero Resources' control. These risks include, but are not limited to, commodity price volatility, inflation, lack of availability of drilling and production equipment and services, environmental risks, drilling and other operating risks, regulatory changes, the uncertainty inherent in estimating natural gas and oil reserves and in projecting future rates of production, cash flow and access to capital, the timing of development expenditures, impacts of world health event, including the COVID-19 pandemic and the other risks described under the heading "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in Antero Resources' Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020.
The following table set forth selected operating data for the three months ended December 31, 2019 and 2020
The following table set forth selected operating data for the three months ended December 31, 2019 and 2020:
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SOURCE Antero Resources Corporation