National Fuel Gas Company (“National Fuel” or the “Company”) (NYSE:NFG) today announced consolidated earnings for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended September 30, 2012, of $48.8 million, or $0.58 per share, and $220.1 million, or $2.63 per share, respectively.
- Operating results before items impacting comparability (“Operating Results”) for the fourth quarter were $36.0 million or $0.43 per share. This compares to Operating Results of $37.4 million, or $0.45 per share, in the prior year’s fourth quarter. Despite a nearly 28% decrease in the average price Seneca realized on natural gas production during the quarter, Operating Results were only down $0.02 per share due to a 46.1% increase in Seneca’s production and higher transportation revenues in the Pipeline and Storage segment.
- Operating Results for the fiscal year were $211.3 million or $2.53 per share. This compares to Operating Results of $227.0 million, or $2.71 per share, in the prior fiscal year. Current year Operating Results were impacted by 21% lower natural gas prices in the Exploration and Production segment and weather that was over 21% warmer compared to the prior fiscal year in the Utility and Energy Marketing segments. Higher transportation revenues in the Pipeline and Storage segment contributed to a 50% increase in that segment’s Operating Results.
- In the Pipeline and Storage segment, fourth quarter earnings were $25.1 million or $0.30 per share. During the quarter, FERC approved Supply Corporation’s rate case settlement. As part of that settlement, Supply Corporation eliminated a regulatory liability associated with its postretirement benefit plan. This adjustment increased earnings by $12.8 million. Excluding this item, Operating Results in the Pipeline and Storage segment increased $4.8 million, or $0.06 per share, an increase of 67% compared to the prior year’s fourth quarter. The increase is largely driven by the impact of the Line N Expansion and Tioga County Extension projects that were placed in service during the first quarter.
- Seneca’s production of crude oil and natural gas in the current quarter was 24.6 billion cubic feet equivalent (“Bcfe”), a 46.1% increase over the 16.8 Bcfe in the fourth quarter of 2011. Appalachian production increased 62.9% to 19.6 Bcfe, including 18.0 Bcfe of Marcellus production, an increase of 78.2% over the prior year’s fourth quarter. California crude oil production increased 4.3%. Total production for fiscal 2012 increased 23.3% to 83.4 Bcfe, an increase of 15.7 Bcfe.
- Seneca’s total reserves at September 30, 2012, were 1,246 Bcfe, an increase of 311 Bcfe or 33%. Seneca replaced 473% of fiscal 2012 production.
- A conference call is scheduled for Friday, November 2, 2012, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time.
David F. Smith, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of National Fuel Gas Company, stated: “The fourth quarter was a successful conclusion to a fiscal year in which each of our major business segments had significant accomplishments. We continued to execute on our long-term plan to grow the company and were very pleased with our results.