McMoRan Exploration Co. Posts 4th Quarter/12-Month 2012 Results [Professional Services Close - Up]ProQuest Information & Learning
McMoRan Exploration Co. reported a net loss applicable to common stock of $1.2 million, $0.01 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with net income of $28.4 million, $0.16 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2011.
In a release on January 18, the Company noted that fourth quarter 2012 results include $39.7 million in net gains associated with the sale of two traditional Gulf of Mexico (GOM) property packages. For the year 2012, McMoRan reported a net loss attributable to common stock of $145.6 million, $0.90 per share, compared with $58.8 million, $0.37 per share, for the year 2011.
James R. Moffett and Richard Adkerson, McMoRan's Co-Chairmen, said, "The geologic data from our drilling results on seven wells associated with the ultra-deep sub-salt trend indicate significant resource potential on the Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in the Gulf Coast area. These results, combined with advances in proprietary technologies required to develop and produce these large structures, establish a multi-year program to unlock a significant long-term natural gas resource. Through the proposed acquisition transaction, McMoRan shareholders will receive cash compensation for the value potential of this emerging new trend and an ongoing participation through the distribution of royalty trust units."
On December 5, McMoRan entered into an agreement whereby Freeport- McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (FCX) would acquire McMoRan for per- share consideration consisting of $14.75 in cash and 1.15 units of a royalty trust, which will hold a 5 percent overriding royalty interest in future production from McMoRan's existing ultra-deep exploration prospects. In connection with the proposed transaction, Gulf Coast Ultra Deep Royalty Trust, the royalty trust formed, has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission a registration statement on Form S-4 that includes a preliminary proxy statement of McMoRan that also constitutes a prospectus of the royalty trust. In addition to the transaction requiring McMoRan's shareholder approval, U.S. antitrust clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act is also required. On December 26, the Federal Trade Commission granted early termination of the Hart-Scott-Rodino waiting period. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.
Fourth-quarter 2012 production averaged 119 MMcfe/d net to McMoRan, compared with 170 MMcfe/d in the fourth quarter of 2011. Production in the fourth quarter of 2012 was in line with McMoRan's previously reported estimate of 120 MMcfe/d in October 2012. Production is expected to average approximately 100 MMcfe/d in the first quarter of 2013. McMoRan's estimated production rates are dependent on the timing of planned recompletions, production performance, weather and other factors.
Production from the Flatrock field averaged a gross rate of approximately 94 MMcfe/d (39 MMcfe/d net to McMoRan) in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with 147 MMcfe/d (60 MMcfe/d net to McMoRan) in the fourth quarter of 2011. Production from Flatrock is expected to be lower in 2013 compared to 2012 as a result of normal declines in currently producing zones. Following depletion of currently producing zones, McMoRan is planning several recompletions to additional pay zones which are expected to increase production in future years. Cumulative 8/8ths production from Flatrock through December 31, totaled 299 Bcfe and independent reservoir engineers' preliminary estimates at December 31, totaled 195 Bcfe (8/8ths), including 40 Bcfe (16.6 Bcfe net to McMoRan) in positive reserve adjustments during 2012 related to favorable production performance. McMoRan owns a 55.0 percent working interest and a 41.3 percent net revenue interest in the Flatrock field.
Since 2008, McMoRan's drilling activities in the shallow waters of the GOM below the salt weld (i.e. listric fault) have successfully confirmed McMoRan's geologic model and the highly prospective nature of this emerging geologic trend. The data from seven wells drilled to date indicate the presence below the salt weld of geologic formations including Upper/Middle/Lower Miocene, Frio, Vicksburg, Upper Eocene, Sparta carbonate, Wilcox, Tuscaloosa and Cretaceous carbonate, which have been prolific onshore, in the deepwater GOM and in international locations. The results of these activities indicate the potential for a major new geologic trend spanning 200 miles in the shallow waters of the GOM and onshore in the Gulf Coast area. Further drilling and flow testing will be required to determine the ultimate potential of this new trend.
The Lineham Creek exploration prospect, which is located onshore in Cameron Parish, Louisiana is currently drilling below the salt weld at 26,500 feet. As previously reported in November 2012, the well encountered what appears to be hydrocarbon bearing porous sands above 24,000 feet, as identified by wireline logs. The well, which is targeting Eocene and Paleocene objectives below the salt weld, has a proposed total depth of 29,000 feet. Chevron U.S.A. Inc., as operator of the well, holds a 50 percent working interest. McMoRan is participating for a 36.0 percent working interest. Other working interest owners include Energy XXI (9.0 percent) and W. A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr. (5.0 percent). McMoRan's investment in Lineham Creek totaled $53.6 million at December 31.
The Lomond North ultra-deep prospect, which is located in the Highlander area, primarily in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, is currently drilling below 13,500 feet. This exploratory well has a proposed total depth of 30,000 feet and is targeting Eocene, Paleocene and Cretaceous objectives below the salt weld. McMoRan controls rights to approximately 80,000 gross acres in Iberia, St. Martin, Assumption and Iberville Parishes, Louisiana. McMoRan is operator and currently holds a 72.0 percent working interest. Other working interest owners include EXXI (18.0 percent) and W. A. "Tex" Moncrief Jr. (10.0 percent). McMoRan's investment in Lomond North totaled $40.1 million at December 31.
The Blackbeard West No. 2 ultra-deep exploration well on Ship Shoal Block 188 was drilled to a total depth of 25,584 feet in January 2013. As previously reported, McMoRan has set a production liner, which would enable completion, and is preparing to release the rig. Through logs and core data, McMoRan has identified three potential hydrocarbon bearing Miocene sand sections between approximately 20,800 and 24,000 feet. Initial completion efforts are expected to focus on the development of approximately 50 net feet of laminated sands in the Middle Miocene located at approximately 24,000 feet. Additional development opportunities in the well bore include approximately 80 net feet of potential low-resistivity pay at approximately 22,400 feet and an approximate 75 foot gross section at approximately 20,900 feet. Pressure and temperature data indicate that a completion at these depths could utilize conventional equipment and technologies. McMoRan holds a 69.4 percent working interest and a 53.1 percent net revenue interest in Ship Shoal Block 188. Other working interest owners include EXXI (22.9 percent) and Moncrief Offshore (7.7 percent). McMoRan's investment in Blackbeard West No. 2 totaled $90.6 million at December 31.
Operations to flow test the Davy Jones No. 1 well on South Marsh Island Block 230 are ongoing. During January 2013, McMoRan re- perforated the Wilcox zones in the well with electric wireline through tubing perforating guns. Recent operations confirmed that the perforations were open and that the Wilcox formation could accept fluid. McMoRan is currently evaluating plans to pump a hydraulic fracture treatment including proppant to facilitate hydrocarbon movement into the wellbore. McMoRan plans to incorporate potential core and log data from Lineham Creek in evaluating future plans at Davy Jones.
Completion and testing of the Davy Jones offset appraisal well (Davy Jones No. 2) is expected to commence following review of results from Davy Jones No. 1. Davy Jones is located on a 20,000 acre structure that has multiple additional drilling opportunities.
As previously reported, McMoRan has drilled two successful sub- salt wells in the Davy Jones field. The Davy Jones No. 1 well logged 200 net feet of pay in multiple Wilcox sands, which were all full to base. The Davy Jones offset appraisal well (Davy Jones No. 2), which is located two and a half miles southwest of Davy Jones No. 1, confirmed 120 net feet of pay in multiple Wilcox sands, indicating continuity across the major structural features of the Davy Jones prospect, and also encountered 192 net feet of potential hydrocarbons in the Tuscaloosa and Lower Cretaceous carbonate sections.
McMoRan is the operator and holds a 63.4 percent working interest and a 50.2 percent net revenue interest in Davy Jones. Other working interest owners in Davy Jones include: EXXI (15.8 percent), JX Nippon Oil Exploration (Gulf) Limited (12 percent) and Moncrief Offshore (8.8 percent). McMoRan's total investment in Davy Jones, which includes $474.8 million in allocated property acquisition costs, totaled $1,024.0 million at December 31.
Development plans to complete and test the Middle Miocene sands at Blackbeard East on South Timbalier Block 144 and the Jackson/ Yegua sands in the Upper Eocene at Lafitte on Eugene Island Block 223 are pending approval from the BSEE. McMoRan holds a 72.0 percent working interest and a 57.4 percent net revenue interest in Blackbeard East. Other working interest owners in Blackbeard East include EXXI (18.0 percent) and Moncrief Offshore (10.0 percent). McMoRan's total investment in Blackbeard East, which includes $130.5 million in allocated property acquisition costs, totaled $308.8 million at December 31. McMoRan holds a 72.0 percent working interest and a 58.3 percent net revenue interest in Lafitte. Other working interest owners in Lafitte include EXXI (18.0 percent) and Moncrief Offshore (10.0 percent). McMoRan's total investment in Lafitte, which includes $35.8 million in allocated property acquisition costs, totaled $196.8 million at December 31.
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