QEP Resources (QEP)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 26, 2011 11:00 am ET

Executives

Richard J. Doleshek - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Treasurer

Charles B. Stanley - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Analysts

Brian Singer - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

William B. D. Butler - Stephens Inc., Research Division

Drew Venker

Subash Chandra - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

James Yannello

Hsulin Peng - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Brian M. Corales - Howard Weil Incorporated, Research Division

David Heikkinen - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division

Presentation

Operator

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Good morning. My name is David, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the QEP Resources Third Quarter Earnings Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Richard Doleshek. Sir, you may begin your conference.

Richard J. Doleshek

Well, thank you, David, and good morning, everyone. This is Richard Doleshek, QEP Resources' Chief Financial Officer. Thank you for joining us for our thirds quarter 2011 results conference call.

With me today are the usual suspects: Chuck Stanley, President and Chief Executive Officer; Jay Neese, Executive Vice President and Head of our E&P Business; Perry Richards, Senior Vice President and Head of our Midstream business; and Scott Gutberlet, Director, Investor Relations.

The third quarter marked the beginning of our second year of operations as an independent company since the spun off from Questar Corporation on June 30, 2010. We had a number of important accomplishments in the third quarter, including starting up our Blacks Fork II gas processing facility, producing over 3 quarters of $1 billion cubic feet equivalent per day in our E&P company and putting a new 5-year $1.5 billion revolving credit facility in place.

In terms of reporting our third quarter results, we issued a combined operations updated and earnings release yesterday, in which we reported third quarter and 9 months 2011 results, reported third quarter 2011 production of 70.7 Bcfe, 55% of which came from properties in our southern region, and 15% of our equipment production was crude oil and natural gas liquids. We updated operating activities in our core areas. We increased 2011 EBITDA guidance to be in the range of $1.315 billion to $1.35 billion. We increased production guidance to be in the range of 270 Bcfe to 274 Bcfe and modestly increased our capital guidance to about $1.35 billion, still in line with projected EBITDA.

As a reminder, in conjunction with our spin off from Questar last year, we distributed Wexpro Company to Questar. Accordingly, we have recast our historical results and treat Wexpro's results as discontinued operations. In addition, we have recast QEP Field Services results, including revenues, volumes to reflect Questar Gas as an unaffiliated company. Therefore, QEP's reported period-to-period results are comparable to each other. We would be happy to provide additional information about this during Q&A.

In today's conference call, we'll use non-GAAP measure EBITDA, which is defined as reconciled to net income and earnings release. In addition, we'll be making numerous forward-looking statements. And we remind everyone that our actual results could differ from our estimates for a variety of reasons, many of which are beyond our control, and we refer everyone to our more robust forward-looking statements disclaimer in our earnings release.

Turning to our financial results, in comparing the third quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of the year, we started with stronger performance at QEP Energy, our E&P business, and slightly weaker performance at QEP Field Services, our gathering and processing business. QEP Energy reported sequentially higher natural gas, crude oil and NGL production. We reported net realized equivalent prices that were slightly lower quarter to quarter. Field Services results were marginally lower than the previous quarter due to a variety of factors: Startup, shakedown, NGL line pack, et cetera, related to the operations at the Blacks Fork II plant.

Our third quarter EBITDA was $353.7 million, which was $17 million higher than in the second quarter and up 19% from the third quarter 2010. QEP Energy contributed $267 million or 76% of our aggregate third quarter EBITDA, and QEP Field Services contributed $85 million or about 24%. QEP Energy's EBITDA was up $20 million, while Field Services EBITDA was $2 million lower than the respective second quarter levels. For the first 9 months of the year, our EBITDA was just shy of $1 billion, which was $154 million higher than a year ago in spite of net realized gas prices that were 16% lower than 2010.

QEP Energy's contribution was $757 million, which was $73 million or roughly 11% higher than the first 9 months of 2010, and QEP Field Services contributed $233 million, which is about $82 million or 54% higher than first 9 months of 2010 and $29 million more advantaged full year EBITDA in 2010. Factors driving our third quarter EBITDA include QEP Energy's production, which was 70.7 Bcfe in the quarter or 9% higher than the 64.7 Bcfe reported in the second quarter of 2011. The quarter's production was 15% higher than the 61.7 Bcfe produced in the third quarter of 2010. Of note, NGL volumes were 894,000 barrels, up 127% in the second quarter of the year, benefiting from the start up of the Blacks Fork II plan.

QEP Energy's net realized equivalent price, which includes a settlement of all of our commodity derivatives average $4.94 per Mcfe in the quarter, which was 2% lower than the $5.05 per Mcfe realized in the second quarter of 2011 and 3% lower than the $5.10 per Mcfe realized in the third quarter of '10. QEP Energy's commodity derivatives portfolio contributed $45 million of EBITDA in the quarter compared to $37 million in the second quarter of 2011 and $68 million in the third quarter of 2010. The derivatives portfolio added $0.63 per Mcfe to QEP Energy's net realized price in the third quarter compared to $0.57 per Mcfe in the second quarter 2011 and $1.11 per Mcfe in the third quarter of 2010.

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