Delta Petroleum (DPTR)

Q1 2011 Earnings Call

May 11, 2011 12:00 pm ET

Executives

Kevin Nanke - Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer, Chief Financial Officer of DHS Drilling Company, Treasurer of DHS Drilling Company and Director of DHS Drilling Company

Carl Lakey - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Broc Richardson - Vice President of Corporate Development & Investor Relations

Daniel Taylor - Chairman, Member of Audit Committee and Member of Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee

Analysts

Gregg Brody - JP Morgan

Joseph Allman - JP Morgan Chase & Co

Andrew Shapiro - Lawndale

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to the Delta Petroleum First Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Please note this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Broc Richardson. Please go ahead, sir.

Broc Richardson

Thank you, everyone. And thank you for joining us for Delta's first quarter 2011 financial and operating results conference call. Before we begin, I would like to remind you that we are conducting this call under Safe Harbor and that this call will include projections and forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal Securities laws and are intended to be covered by the Safe Harbor protections. In that regard, you are referred to the cautionary statement displayed on Delta’s website, which is incorporated by reference with respect to the information provided for this call. Investors are urged to closely consider the oil and gas disclosures and the risk factors set forth in Delta’s Form 10-K for fiscal year ended December 31, 2010, as updated by subsequent periodic and current reports on Forms 10-Q and 8-K, respectively.

Today's speakers from Delta are Dan Taylor, Chairman of the Board; Carl Lakey, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Kevin Nanke, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer.

I will now turn the conference call over to our Chairman, Dan Taylor.

Daniel Taylor

Thanks, Broc. Good morning, everyone and thank you for joining us. As I'm sure many of you have noted, over the past few months, there has been a renewed and increasing interest in the Piceance Basin driven by increasing recognition of the revenue from natural gas liquids and drilling success occurring in the deeper shale formations.

In a recent report published last week, an analyst stated that the wells drilled by a nearby competitor rival Haynesville wells and provide indications that continued development of the Niobrara may dramatically change the economics of Piceance development. The analyst noted that the Niobrara is located at shallower depths in the Piceance than in the Haynesville and thus, the well cost is less, which combined with similar initial production rates equates to better economics.

As Carl will discuss, the indications of our wells to date support this preliminary conclusion. We have initial production from the 2B well and expect higher rates from the 2C well, which is all of the pay of the 2B well plus an additional 2,800 feet of gross interval to complete.

I believe our strategy to dedicate all our efforts in capital to the Vega Area was a correct one and is being validated with the results, not just from our wells, but from other operators as well. As mentioned in our press release, we have decided to market for sale our non-operated properties in Texas and the DJ Basin in order to raise capital to drill 2 additional wells in the Vega Area targeting the Mancos and Niobrara shales. These 2 additional wells to be drilled are wells that will hold leasehold so they will be accomplishing two objectives: First, to continue to quantify and confirm the reserves and economics of the shale formations; and second, to secure our acreage position in the Vega Area.

It is always easier to have these conference calls on the heels of what I believe are solid financial results from the quarter. While our production increased over the prior quarter, it was slightly lower than expected due to our decision to delay completion dates so that we could focus on the deep shale wells. We anticipated completing all 5 uncompleted wells on our inventory, but only completed 3 of them in the first quarter. However, while we missed our production guidance slightly, it was more than offset by lower-than-expected G&A. Kevin will discuss the first quarter's financial results in more detail.

As I mentioned in the last conference call, I'm expecting a very promising year for Delta and what I've seen to date only heightens my expectations.

With respect to our capital needs, our primary goal is to create value for our shareholders. We believe our assets are tremendously undervalued by the markets today. To be sure, part of the challenge is to provide clarity on how we will recapitalize our balance sheet. But in order to maximize our access to the capital markets, and to provide maximum value to our shareholders, we must also be able to present a clear picture of our resource potential in the deep shales of our acreage in the Piceance. We have much information today and have the time to gather and provide much more information before we will move forward with strategic alternatives for the company. As a result, we will not take questions on today's call regarding our capital raising alternatives. Now I'd like to turn the call over to Carl. Carl?

Carl Lakey

Thank you, Dan. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for participating. Delta did have another strong quarter. The focus on our core assets is being validated in the numbers. The improvement is related to numerous items, which Kevin will share with other financial metrics shortly.

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