McMoRan Exploration (MMR)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 17, 2012 10:00 am ET


Kathleen L. Quirk - Senior Vice President and Treasurer

Richard C. Adkerson - Co-Chairman

James R. Moffett - Co-Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President


Leon G. Cooperman - Omega Advisors, Inc.

Joseph Bachmann - Howard Weil Incorporated, Research Division

Joan E. Lappin - Gramercy Capital Management Corp.

Joseph D. Allman - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Duane Grubert - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Noel A. Parks - Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., Research Division

Leo P. Mariani - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Richard M. Tullis - Capital One Southcoast, Inc., Research Division



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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the McMoRan Exploration Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to Ms. Kathleen Quirk, Senior Vice President and Treasurer. Please go ahead, ma'am.

Kathleen L. Quirk

Thank you. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the McMoRan Exploration Second Quarter 2012 Conference Call. Our results released earlier this morning and a copy of the press release is available on our website at Our call today is being broadcast live on the Internet, and anyone may listen to the conference call by accessing our website home page and clicking on the webcast link for the conference call.

As usual, we have several slides to supplement our comments this morning, and we'll be referring to the slides during the call. The slides are also accessible on our website. In addition to analysts and investors, the financial press has been invited to listen to today's call, and a replay of the webcast will be available on our website later today.

Before we begin our comments today, we'd like to remind everyone that today's press release and certain of our comments on this call include forward-looking statements. We'd like to refer everyone to the cautionary language included in our press release and presentation materials and to the risk factors described in our SEC filings.

On the call today are McMoRan's Co-Chairman, Jim Bob Moffett and Richard Adkerson. I'll start by briefly summarizing the financial results and then turn the call over to Richard and Jim Bob, who will be reviewing our performance and outlook. As usual, after prepared remarks, we'll open up the call for questions.

Today, McMoRan reported a net loss applicable to common stock of $75.5 million or $0.47 per share for the second quarter of 2012, compared with a net loss of $50.2 million or $0.32 per share for the second quarter of 2011. Our second quarter 2012 results included a charge to exploration expense for noncommercial well costs, primarily associated with the lease expiration of the Boudin well, totaling $56.3 million, $11.2 million in charges for adjustments and asset retirement obligations and a $4.6 million charge for impairments to reduce certain field's net carrying value to fair value.

Our second quarter 2012 production averaged 140 million cubic feet of equivalents per day net to McMoRan as compared to 197 million cubic feet of equivalent in the second quarter of 2011. Our production in the second quarter of 2012 was slightly below our previously reported estimate of 145 million a day in April of 2012, because of some unplanned downtime for repairs to platforms and third-party pipelines and some weather-related shipping delays.

Our second quarter 2012 oil and gas revenues totaled $87.2 million compared to $155 million in the second quarter of 2011. Our realized gas prices in the second quarter of 2012 were $2.44 per Mcf compared with $4.71 in the year-ago period, and our realized prices for oil and condensate averaged $109 per barrel, similar to the year-ago period.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and exploration expenses, or EBITDAX, totaled $48.3 million in the second quarter of 2012, and our operating cash flows totaled $11.7 million. And those were net of $16 million in abandonment expenditures and $9 million in working capital uses. Capital expenditures totaled $147 million in the second quarter of 2012. Our debt totaled $555.9 million at June 30, which includes $255.9 million in convertible securities. And we ended the quarter with $287 million in cash.

McMoRan currently has 162 million common -- shares of common stocks outstanding, and if we assume conversion of our convertible securities would have 224 million shares on a fully converted basis. And now I'd like to turn the conference over to Richard, who'll be referring to the presentation materials.

Richard C. Adkerson

Good morning, everyone. We are pleased to have this opportunity to give you a report on the status of our efforts of following up on this significant geologic success we've identified with the sub-salt trend, vast area spanning 200 miles on the shelf of Gulf of Mexico. And we're increasingly focused onshore in South Louisiana, looking at targets with a very large structures and major potentials, multi-Tcf potential. We also want to talk about the significant investments we've been making in developing proprietary processes and technologies to be able to drill and produce these prospects and what we're learning, where we stand with our current efforts. And success would give us a very significant opportunity to develop low-cost, long-term sources of natural gas.

In the second quarter, we have continued to advance our ultra-deep exploration and development activities. Operations are ongoing at Davy Jones to achieve a measurable flow test. Jim Bob will talk about specifically where we stand with that. We have, in addition to the Davy Jones No. 1 well, we have 2 wells that are currently in progress and drilling, the Blackbeard West No. 2 well and then the Chevron-operated onshore well, just on the coast of Louisiana, the Lineham Creek, onshore prospect. Following the flow test at Davy Jones No. 1, we will then be focusing on completing and testing the Davy Jones No. 2 well. On 2 wells drilled previously, the Blackbeard East and Lafitte prospects, we're working to submit development plans for those prospects in the third quarter.

We have developed a various significant onshore prospect that we expect to spud in the second half of 2012, the Highlander onshore prospect, which would be ultra-deep play, 68,000-acre leased block with a very large structure and again, Jim Bob will be reviewing with that.

We have previously announced in the lease sale that we were a high bidder on 14 leases, 6 were sold bids, 8 we made jointly with our partner, Chevron. And from the successful granting of these bids, and this would really enhance our whole series of our ultra-deep prospects that tie in with the work that we've done, the skills that we've gained and the information that's there.

On Page 5, it's a slide, that's the summary of the data that Kathleen just reviewed with you for your information. Slide 6, just ticks off the activities to date that we have done to advance this technology, as I said, we gathered a lot of information, had a lot of it experience, invested a lot of money, but we have shown that these wells can be drilled and evaluated, each well that we drilled has confirmed the geologic model of these prospects below the salt weld. And that's a very significant accomplishment from where we started. We've seen high-quality reservoir, we've developed this expertise and technology for high-pressure, high-temperature completions that gives us a proprietary position in this field. And we are seeing prospects where we have the opportunity of applying conventional completion activities, which would allow us to produce wells at a lower cost.

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