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Cabot Reports Third Quarter 2020 Results

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   |    Friday,October 30,2020

Cabot Oil & Gas reported its third quarter 2020 results.

  • $27 million outspend (Cash from operations - capex)
  • Net loss of $15 million compared to $30.4 million net income in the prior quarter

FY 2021 Gudiance

Cabot has also provided preliminary 2021 production guidance of 2,350 Mmcfe per day from a capital program of $530 to $540 million, representing a seven percent reduction in capital spending year-over-year at the midpoint of the range. "Despite the expectation for higher price realizations and cash flow in 2021, our capital allocation priorities remain focused on maintaining our current production levels, funding our current dividend, retiring our 2021 debt maturities, and opportunistically returning incremental free cash flow to shareholders as we continue to target a minimum return of capital of at least 50 percent of free cash flow annually," stated Dinges. "While we will continue to analyze the natural gas market outlook as we evaluate the potential for disciplined investment in modest levels of growth capital in the future, it is our belief that the natural gas price futures for 2022 and beyond, which are currently in backwardation, do not warrant incremental levels of capital investment above our current maintenance capital requirements at this time."

Q3 2020 Financial Results

Third quarter 2020 daily production was 2,406 million cubic feet equivalent (Mmcfe) per day (100 percent natural gas). During the third quarter of 2020, the Company drilled 13.0 net wells, completed 18.1 net wells, and placed 28.2 net wells on production.

Third quarter 2020 natural gas price realizations, including the impact of derivatives, were $1.57 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), a decrease of 26 percent compared to the prior-year period. Excluding the impact of derivatives, third quarter 2020 natural gas price realizations were $1.51 per Mcf, representing a $0.47 discount to NYMEX settlement prices compared to a $0.34 discount in the prior-year period. Third quarter 2020 operating expenses (including interest expense) were $1.41 per thousand cubic feet equivalent (Mcfe), an improvement of one percent compared to the prior-year period.

Third quarter 2020 net loss was $15.0 million.

CEO Dan O. Dinges said: "2020 has proven to be the most challenging year for natural gas prices in the last 25 years, resulting from a multi-year trend of overcapitalization of both oil and natural gas assets across our industry. However, we are optimistic about the path forward as our industry as a whole has begun to adopt a similar philosophy on disciplined capital allocation that has been paramount to Cabot's strategy for years, which is centered on delivering strong corporate returns, generating free cash flow, returning capital to shareholders, and maintaining a strong balance sheet. We believe this capital discipline, along with rebounding demand largely driven by exports, will continue to move natural gas supply and demand toward a more sustainable balance, allowing Cabot to deliver a significant expansion of free cash flow in 2021 and beyond, while also increasing our return on and of capital."

Financial Position and Liquidity

As of September 30, 2020, Cabot had total debt of $1.2 billion and cash on hand of $0.2 million. The Company's debt-to-total capitalization ratio and debt-to-trailing twelve months EBITDAX ratio (non-GAAP) were 35.4 percent and 1.5x, respectively, compared to 36.2 percent and 0.9x as of December 31, 2019.  As of September 30, 2020, the Company had $28.0 million outstanding under its credit facility, resulting in approximately $1.5 billion of liquidity.

"While our leverage ratio has increased moderately throughout 2020 as a result of reduced EBITDAX due to lower price realizations, we anticipate a significant reduction in our leverage in 2021 through a combination of higher EBITDAX resulting from improved price realizations and lower absolute debt levels as we plan to utilize a portion of our expected free cash flow to retire our 2021 debt maturities," said Dinges.

Upper Marcellus Operations Update

Cabot has placed five Upper Marcellus wells on production during 2020, which have been producing for an average of 140 days. These wells are located across the eastern, western, and northern areas of the Company's acreage position and are offset to currently producing Lower Marcellus wells. Based on the production history to date, on average these wells are currently exceeding the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) of 2.7 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per thousand lateral feet that was reported at year-end for Cabot's 2018 and 2019 Upper Marcellus wells. "We believe these results continue to demonstrate the productivity of this distinct, economic interval across our 173,000 net acre position in the core of the dry gas window in northeast Pennsylvania," noted Dinges. "We plan to continue to allocate a modest amount of capital to the Upper Marcellus annually as we continue to optimize our well design and lateral placement across this interval, with the intent of moving to full development of our Upper Marcellus inventory at the tail end of this decade. We expect to develop the Upper Marcellus at an average lateral length greater than 10,000 feet, which would provide significant well cost savings, further improving the economics of our Upper Marcellus inventory."

Q4 / Full-Year 2020 and Preliminary 2021 Guidance

Cabot has reaffirmed its fourth quarter 2020 production guidance range of 2,300 to 2,350 Mmcfe per day, which includes the impact of previously announced price-related curtailments during the quarter. The Company has also reaffirmed its full-year 2020 production guidance range of 2,325 to 2,340 Mmcfe per day based on a capital program of $575 million.

Cabot has also provided preliminary 2021 production guidance of 2,350 Mmcfe per day from a capital program of $530 to $540 million, representing a seven percent reduction in capital spending year-over-year at the midpoint of the range. "Despite the expectation for higher price realizations and cash flow in 2021, our capital allocation priorities remain focused on maintaining our current production levels, funding our current dividend, retiring our 2021 debt maturities, and opportunistically returning incremental free cash flow to shareholders as we continue to target a minimum return of capital of at least 50 percent of free cash flow annually," stated Dinges. "While we will continue to analyze the natural gas market outlook as we evaluate the potential for disciplined investment in modest levels of growth capital in the future, it is our belief that the natural gas price futures for 2022 and beyond, which are currently in backwardation, do not warrant incremental levels of capital investment above our current maintenance capital requirements at this time."

 


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