Stock Update (NYSE:COG): Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation Announces Third Quarter 2015 Financial and Operating Results


Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation (NYSE:COG) reported its financial and operating results for the third quarter of 2015. “Even in the face of persistent headwinds resulting from lower commodity prices, Cabot continues to deliver positive operating results while lowering our cost structure through an improvement in operating efficiencies and a strict focus on capital discipline,” said Dan O. Dinges, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Third Quarter 2015 Financial Results

Equivalent production in the third quarter of 2015 was 142.1 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe), consisting of 133.0 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas and 1.5 million barrels (Mmbbls) of liquids (crude oil/condensate/natural gas liquids). These figures represent increases of 7 percent, 5 percent, and 57 percent, respectively, compared to the third quarter of 2014.

Cash flow from operations in the third quarter of 2015 was $146.4 million, compared to $358.3 million in the third quarter of 2014. Discretionary cash flow in the third quarter of 2015 was $150.4 million, compared to $296.0 million in the third quarter of 2014. Net loss in the third quarter of 2015 was $15.5 million, or $0.04 per share, compared to net income of $100.8 million, or $0.24 per share, in the third quarter of 2014. Excluding the effect of selected items including a $17.6 million after-tax non-cash mark-to-market loss on natural gas derivatives, net loss was $2.2 million, or $0.01 per share, in the third quarter of 2015, compared to net income of $85.0 million, or $0.20 per share, in the third quarter of 2014. EBITDAX in the third quarter of 2015 was $167.6 million, compared to $325.9 million in the third quarter of 2014. Significant reductions in realized prices for both natural gas and oil were the primary drivers for the lower results in the quarter, partially offset by higher equivalent production and lower overall operating expenses. See the supplemental tables at the end of this press release for a reconciliation of non-GAAP measures including discretionary cash flow, net income excluding selected items, EBITDAX and net debt to adjusted capitalization ratio.

Natural gas price realizations, including the effect of hedges, were $2.02 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) in the third quarter of 2015, down 34 percent compared to the third quarter of 2014. Excluding the impact of hedges, natural gas price realizations for the quarter were $1.68 per Mcf, representing a $1.09 discount to NYMEX settlement prices. Oil price realizations were $43.71 per barrel (Bbl), down 54 percent compared to the third quarter of 2014.

Total per unit costs (including financing) decreased to $2.35 per thousand cubic feet equivalent (Mcfe) in the third quarter of 2015, an improvement of 7 percent from $2.53 per Mcfe in the third quarter of 2014.

Cabot drilled or participated in a total of 27 net wells during the third quarter of 2015 and incurred a total of $150.5 million in capital expenditures associated with activity during the third quarter.

Year-To-Date 2015 Financial Results

Production during the nine-month period ended September 30, 2015 was 451.5 Bcfe, consisting of 423.2 Bcf of natural gas and 4.7 Mmbbls of liquids. These figures represent increases of 19 percent, 16 percent, and 81 percent, respectively, compared to the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014.

For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2015, cash flow from operations was $585.0 million, compared to $943.3 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014. Discretionary cash flow was $573.8 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2015, compared to $947.8 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014. For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2015, net loss was $2.8 million, or $0.01 per share, compared to net income of $326.2 million, or $0.78 per share, for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014. Excluding the effect of selected items including a $57.0 million after-tax non-cash mark-to-market loss on natural gas derivatives, net income was $62.5 million, or $0.15 per share, compared to $310.0 million, or $0.74 per share, for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014. EBITDAX for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2015 was $651.0 million, compared to $1,045.7 million for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014.

Natural gas price realizations, including the effect of hedges, were $2.23 per Mcf for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2015, down 35 percent compared to the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014. Oil price realizations were $48.00 per Bbl, down 51 percent compared to the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014.

Total per unit costs (including financing) decreased to $2.39 per Mcfe for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2015, an improvement of 8 percent from $2.59 per Mcfe for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2014.

Cabot drilled or participated in a total of 105 net wells during the nine-month period ended September 30, 2015 and incurred a total of $676.9 million in capital expenditures associated with activity during this period.

Financial Position and Liquidity

As of September 30, 2015, the Company’s net debt to adjusted capitalization ratio was 48.9 percent, compared to 44.7 percent at December 31, 2014 (detailed in the table below). The Company’s total debt was $2,037 million, of which $425 million was outstanding under the Company’s $1.8 billion revolving credit facility.

Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2015 Guidance

The Company has provided fourth quarter net production guidance of 1,475 to 1,600 million cubic feet (Mmcf) per day for natural gas, as it continues to curtail a portion of its Marcellus production, and 14,000 to 15,500 Bbls per day for liquids. The Company expects its natural gas price realizations before the impact of hedges to average between $0.90 and $1.00 below NYMEX settlement prices for the fourth quarter.

Based on the fourth quarter production guidance, the Company has adjusted its full-year 2015 equivalent production growth guidance range to 12 to 14 percent. Additionally, Cabot is reducing its 2015 capital program guidance to $850 million. “The reduction in investment dollars for 2015 is a result of continued improvements in operating efficiencies, further reductions in service costs, and our decision to defer the completion of a portion of our stages in both the Marcellus and Eagle Ford,” highlighted Dinges. “In addition, we plan to release a rig in the Marcellus in early December, bringing the Marcellus rig count down to two rigs by year-end.” For further disclosure on Cabot’s natural gas pricing exposure by index and updated unit cost guidance for the fourth quarter, please see the current Guidance slide in the Investor Relations section of the Company’s website.

Preliminary 2016 Guidance

The Company has initiated its preliminary 2016 production growth guidance range at 2 to 10 percent, for which the low-end takes into account potential price-related production curtailments throughout the year based on current market price expectations and the high-end reflects an uncurtailed program predicated on an improvement in price realizations. This production growth range is based on a capital budget of $615 million. In addition, Cabot anticipates approximately $150 million of contributions to its equity method investments in the Constitution and Atlantic Sunrise pipelines, the exact timing of which will be dependent on the regulatory approval process and the corresponding impact on the timing of construction activities. Drilling, completion and facilities capital will account for approximately 93 percent of the capital budget, with approximately 74 percent allocated to the Marcellus Shale and 26 percent allocated to the Eagle Ford Shale. The Company expects to drill approximately 60 net wells in 2016, including 50 net wells in the Marcellus Shale and 10 net wells in the Eagle Ford Shale. The Company anticipates completing approximately 90 wells in 2016, including 65 net wells in the Marcellus Shale and 25 net wells in the Eagle Ford Shale.

“As has been our primary focus for years, this market-responsive plan is focused on improving our capital efficiency while generating measured growth from a cash flow positive operating program,” stated Dinges. “Based on our budgeted price assumptions, the only anticipated borrowing will relate to the funding of our equity investments in the Constitution and Atlantic Sunrise pipelines.” Dinges added, “Additionally, our 2016 capital program includes a sufficient amount of growth capital, which will allow for an acceleration of production growth in 2017 assuming our new takeaway projects are placed in-service in a timely manner.” (Original Source)

Shares of Cabot Oil & Gas Corp closed yesterday at $22.09. COG has a 1-year high of $35.64 and a 1-year low of $20.86. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $22.98 and its 200-day moving average is $28.67.

On the ratings front, Cabot Oil has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 8, Topeka analyst Gabriele Sorbara reiterated a Buy rating on COG, with a price target of $34, which implies an upside of 53.9% from current levels. Separately, on September 8, Barclays’ Jeffrey Robertson maintained a Buy rating on the stock and has a price target of $27.

According to TipRanks.com, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Gabriele Sorbara and Jeffrey Robertson have a total average return of -9.1% and 3.7% respectively. Sorbara has a success rate of 36.7% and is ranked #3705 out of 3801 analysts, while Robertson has a success rate of 48.1% and is ranked #944.

The street is mostly Bullish on COG stock. Out of 5 analysts who cover the stock, 3 suggest a Buy rating and 2 recommend to Hold the stock. The 12-month average price target assigned to the stock is $27.00, which implies an upside of 22.2% from current levels.

Cabot Oil & Gas Corp is an independent oil and gas company engaged in the development and exploration of oil and gas properties located in North America.