Swift Energy's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Swift Energy Co. (SFY)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 03, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Paul Vincent - Director, Finance & IR

Terry Swift - Chairman & CEO

Alton Heckaman - EVP & CFO

Bruce Vincent - President & Secretary

Bob Banks - & COO

Analysts

Neal Dingmann - SunTrust

Gordon Douthat - Wells Fargo

Marcus Talbert - Canaccord

John Abbot - Pritchard Capital Partners

Noel Parks - Ladenburg Thalmann

Andrew Coleman - Raymond James

Presentation

Operator

Good morning. My name is Felecia and I’ll be your conference operator today. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the Swift Energy Company first quarter earnings conference call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions)

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Paul Vincent, Director of Finance and Investor Relations. Please go ahead sir.

Paul Vincent

Good morning. I’m Paul Vincent, Director of Finance and Investor Relations. Welcome to Swift Energy’s first quarter 2012 earnings conference call. On today’s call, Terry Swift, Chairman and CEO, will provide an overview. Alton Heckaman, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will review our financial results for the first quarter. Then Bruce Vincent, President, and Bob Banks, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, will provide an operational update.

Terry Swift will then summarize, before we open up the line for questions. Also present on the call is Jim Mitchell, Senior Vice President, Commercial Transactions and Land.

Before I turn it over to Terry, let me remind everyone that our presentation will contain forward-looking statements based on our current assumptions, estimates, and projections about us, our industry, and the current environment in which we operate. These statements involve risks and uncertainties detailed in our SEC reports to which we refer you along with cautionary statements contained in our press releases, and our actual results could differ materially. We expect our presentation to take approximately 25 to 30 minutes and have allowed additional time for questions.

Terry Swift

Thanks Paul and thank you everyone for joining the call today. The first quarter of 2012 was another strong quarter for Swift Energy Company. With minimal third-party related operational delays or downtime during the quarter, we were able to deliver production volumes at the high end of our expected range. We are on track to have record production in 2012 and expect crude oil and natural gas liquids to comprise approximately 55% of our daily production mix by year-end.

As we discussed in detail during our Analyst Investor Day in March we have already achieved significant cost savings in both our drilling and completion operations in South Texas. We believe we can realize further cost savings and operational efficiencies by deploying drilling and completion techniques that are only really suitable to a full-scale development mode operation.

On the service and midstream front since our Investor Day we have extended our dedicated fracture stimulation agreement for one year and at a reduced fixed rate and on terms we believe reflect the current market for these types of services. We are also in the final stages of securing firm transportation and processing capacity for natural gas production in La Salle County Texas further removing third-party uncertainty from our execution plans. While there is always risk in our business, we believe we have contractually secured a significant portion of the equipment services, transportation and processing we require to achieve our goals. With this accomplished our technical and operating personnel are spending more of their time on activity directly related to growing crude oil and natural gas liquids production volumes.

With natural gas prices persistently weak, we have managed to park in the acreage in South Texas that's perspective for dry natural gas production by fulfilling drilling obligations or by working with sophisticated landowners and mineral owners to appreciate the economic effect of low natural gas prices at this time. With this acreage parked, we are now exclusively focused on growing crude oil and natural gas liquids production in all our areas and can maintain this focus for several years should natural gas pricing remaining weak.

Operationally we resumed drilling operations during the first quarter in our Lake Washington Field in South Louisiana. We continue to find thick sections of pay sands in these wells that we drilled to date. Our most recent well the CM 422 encountered 226 feet of pay and is now flowing above 650 barrels of oil per day. This type of activity should continue throughout 2012 and increases of course our crude oil production in an area where we capture strong Gulf Coast crude oil premiums. In Central Louisiana we brought a company operated Austin Chalk will online in the Masters Creek Field.

The performance of this well has confirmed drainage and reservoir assumptions we have developed over the past several years. This proof-of-concept well sets up further opportunity on held by production in-field acreage in this area and additional leasing opportunities as well. West of Masters Creek in the Burr Ferry area our joint venture partner has resumed drilling activity late in the first quarter after moving two rigs into this area. Increased activity levels in this area are consistent with our expectations of an increase in crude oil and natural gas liquids production in the second half of the year.

Turning to our South Texas activity our drilling and completion programs continued to improve so much so that it is difficult to say which has got us more excited. The six drilling rigs we [tidied] 15 wells during the quarter in this area. One of these rigs is a walking rig and spent much of the quarter drilling for surface holes in our first pad well drilling operations.

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