Comstock Resources Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Comstock Resources (CRK)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 31, 2012 10:30 am ET


Miles Jay Allison - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Roland O. Burns - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer, Senior Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Director

Mark A. Williams - Chief Operating Officer


Brian M. Corales - Howard Weil Incorporated, Research Division

Kim M. Pacanovsky - McNicoll, Lewis & Vlak LLC, Research Division

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

Michael Kelly - Global Hunter Securities, LLC, Research Division

Michael A. Hall - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Ronald E. Mills - Johnson Rice & Company, L.L.C., Research Division

Cameron Horwitz - U.S. Capital Advisors LLC, Research Division

Dan McSpirit - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

John M. Selser - Iberia Capital Partners, LLC



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Second Quarter 2012 Comstock Resources, Inc. Earnings Conference Call. My name is Janeda, and I will be your operator for today. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today, Mr. Jay Allison, Chairman and CEO. Please proceed.

Miles Jay Allison

Thank you, Janeda. I like your tone. It's excellent to start the meeting off. Welcome to the Comstock Resources Second Quarter 2012 Financial and Operating Results Conference Call. You can view a slide presentation during or after this call by going to our website at and clicking Presentations. There you'll find a presentation entitled Second Quarter 2012 Results. I'm Jay Allison, President of Comstock. And with me this morning are Roland Burns, our Chief Financial Officer; and Mark Williams, our Chief Operating Officer.

During this call, we will discuss the new joint venture we have entered into on our Eagle Ford acreage, review our 2012 second quarter financial and operating results, as well as update the results of our 2012 Eagle Ford and Wolfbone drilling programs.

Please refer to Slide 2 in our presentation and note that our discussion today will include forward-looking statements within the meaning of securities laws. While we believe the expectations and such statements to be reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Tab 3. Please refer to Page 3 of the presentation where we summarize our second quarter results.

The financial results this quarter were impacted by the very low natural gas prices that we received for our production. The growing oil side of the company is helping mitigate the negative impact that the very weak natural gas prices were having on our financial results. For the second quarter, we reported revenues of $105 million, generated EBITDAX of $75 million and had operating cash flow of $61 million or $1.32 per share. We had a net loss of $10.3 million or $0.22 per share.

We grew our production by 6% as compared to the second quarter of 2011. More importantly, we increased our oil production by 267% from our oil production in the second quarter of last year. Our 2012 drilling program is off to a strong start, especially at our newly acquired Wolfbone field in West Texas. Mark will report that some of the -- our most recent vertical wells are some of the best reported in the play to date.

We drilled 39 successful wells, including 32 successful oil wells in our Eagle Ford and Wolfbone programs in the first half of the year. We're excited today to be able to announce a new partnership that we've formed with KKR. The joint venture places a $25,000 per acre value on the acreage position we have assembled and will allow us to accelerate drilling activity, while also bringing our CapEx down to be in line with our operating cash flow.

If you'll flip to Slide 4, we'll summarize the new joint venture. We believe that KKR will be an ideal partner for us since they are an experienced participant in the early development of the Eagle Ford shale through their Hilcorp investment. The joint venture provides KKR an opportunity to participate, but does not obligate Comstock to drill wells in the future. KKR will have the right to participate for 1/3 of our working interest in wells drilled on our 28,000 net acres in exchange for $25,000 per acre for the net acreage being acquired. KKR earns 1/3 of our working interest in 80 acres for each well they participate in. In other words, they pay $667,000 for 26.7 net acres that we assign them, and they pay 1/3 of the well costs. The agreement will apply to wells spud on or subsequent to March 31, 2012, and we will retain all our other interest in wells spud prior to that date. KKR is committed to acquire acreage for the next 100 wells drilled on our Eagle Ford shale acreage and can continue to participate in additional wells drilled on the acreage for the same terms. Basically, we are guaranteed $67 million for the 2,167 net acres that the first 100 wells will earn, and they can continue to participate on the same terms until they have earned a 1/3 interest in all of our undeveloped acreage. This transaction will provide the capital necessary for us to accelerate drilling on this exciting oil play, while still allowing us to have the capital to develop our Wolfbone properties in West Texas.

I'll turn it over to Roland to review the financial results for this quarter in more detail. Roland?

Roland O. Burns

Thanks, Jay. At Slide 5, we show our crude oil production on a daily basis for the last 3 years by quarter, including the first 2 quarters of this year. Our oil production this quarter grew 276 -- 267% to 6,400 barrels per day as compared to the second quarter last year when we produced only 1,700 barrels per day.

Our Eagle Ford shale properties in South Texas, shown in light blue on this chart, increased to 4,600 barrels per day and is the main driver of our oil growth this year. We added about 500 barrels per day in the Eagle Ford this quarter, as compared to the 4,100 barrels we averaged in the first quarter of this year.

Our Wolfbone properties in West Texas contributed 1,400 barrels per day to the average rate and is starting to become a major player in our oil growth this year.

Looking ahead to the remainder of this year and with all the drilling activity starting in the second quarter focused on oil, we are forecasting our oil production to grow by approximately 200% over last year's production, to be around 2.4 million to 2.6 million barrels in 2012. And this is even after we did divest a 400 barrels per day on May 1 of this quarter.

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