PetroBakken provides operational update
Thursday, Apr 12, 2012PetroBakken Energy Ltd. ("PetroBakken" or the "Company") (TSX:PBN), announces that average production for the first quarter of 2012 (based on field estimates) exceeded 46,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day ("boepd") (87% light oil and NGLs).
Our first quarter average production was comprised of over 20,700 boepd from the Bakken business unit and over 16,400 boepd from the Cardium business unit, with the remainder of production generated by our Saskatchewan Conventional and AB/BC business units. In March, average production was over 44,200 boepd, of which approximately 19,000 boepd was from the Bakken business unit and approximately 16,300 boepd was from the Cardium business unit. The decrease in average production in March is primarily attributable to dispositions of producing assets that were completed in February and mid-March.
We remained active in all business units through the end of the quarter, drilling 21 (15 net) wells and completing 28 (21 net) wells in March, with field activity moderating as we approached spring break-up. First quarter activity totalled 68 (47 net) wells drilled, with 32 (23 net) wells drilled in the Bakken, 24 (17 net) wells drilled in the Cardium and 12 (7 net) wells drilled in our Saskatchewan Conventional business unit. No new wells were drilled in our AB/BC business unit in the first quarter of 2012; however 3 (3 net) wells were completed in this business unit during the quarter. At the end of March, we had an inventory of 22 net wells waiting to be completed or placed on production. Of these wells, 5 were in the Bakken, 12 were in the Cardium and the remaining 5 were in our Saskatchewan Conventional and AB/BC business units. Although we currently do not have any active drilling rigs in our operating areas, due to spring break-up, we have been able to continue completion and tie-in operations, primarily in the Cardium business unit, and we expect to reduce our corporate inventory of wells waiting to be brought on production to 16 net wells by the end of April.
March 2012 production levels reflect the completion of a number of asset dispositions in late 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. At the end of 2011, we sold approximately 450 boepd (75% gas weighted) of non-Cardium central Alberta production for gross proceeds of $16 million. In the first quarter of 2012, we completed four transactions to sell non-core assets that were outside of our key focus areas or were non-operated low working interest assets. The divested assets included our previously announced sales of a minor working interest in the Weyburn unit and certain of our non-core Bakken assets plus, most recently, the sale of our mineral rights in Montana for $7.8 million and a portion of our Duvernay mineral rights in central Alberta for $82.5 million. In total, the four transactions in 2012 provided gross proceeds of $622.5 million and consisted of approximately 3,480 boepd of production and 10,212 Mboe of proved reserves (as evaluated effective December 31, 2011).
We currently have over 190 net sections of land in central Alberta, focused on light-oil resource plays targeting four zones: Nordegg, Montney, Duvernay and Swan Hills. The recent sale of a portion of our Duvernay rights, which excluded the mineral rights in all zones above the base of the Triassic, consisted of 46.5 net sections and two well bores. We continued to evaluate our exploratory acreage in the first quarter and now estimate that we have over 125 drilling locations on these future development opportunities.
PetroBakken's annual dividend is $0.96 per share, paid on a monthly basis, and represented approximately 25% of our 2011 funds flow from operations. In January 2012, we implemented a Dividend Reinvestment Program ("DRIP") which allows investors to elect to receive the monthly dividend in the form of shares in PetroBakken (at a 5% discount to the current market price) rather than cash. Participation in the DRIP program at the end of March is over 63% and, as a result, our monthly cash dividend payment has been reduced to approximately $5.5 million. Annualized, our cash dividend is forecasted to be $60 million, which on a pro forma basis would have represented less than 8% of our 2011 funds flow from operations.
Due in part to the first quarter divestitures, as well as other activity to strengthen our balance sheet, we were able to upwardly revise our 2012 capital program and create liquidity on our balance sheet of over $1.1 billion. We reiterate our revised capital development plan for 2012 of approximately $875 million, primarily focused on horizontal drilling and completions in the Bakken and Cardium light oil plays, and continue to expect that this drilling-focused activity will generate a 2012 exit production rate of between 52,000 and 56,000 boepd.
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