Range Resources 1Q12 Production Results, PA Impact Fees

Range Resources reports today their natural gas production for the first quarter of 2012 increased 20 percent over the same period last year. Range CEO Jeff Ventura says the company is well on the way to achieving their 2012 goal of a 30-35 percent increase in production. Range also said the new impact fee in Pennsylvania will cost them $13.6 million for the first three months of 2012, as well as an additional one-time expense of $24 million, a retroactive fee to cover previous drilling (required under the new Act 13 law).

From the Range press release:

Range Resources Corporation today announced first quarter 2012 production results, preliminary realized prices and an update on the Pennsylvania impact fee. First quarter production volumes averaged 655.5 Mmcfe net per day, a 20% increase over the prior-year quarter. Adjusting for the Barnett production sold in April 2011, the production increase would have been 50%. The record production was driven by the continued success of the Company’s drilling program. Production was 78% natural gas, 16% natural gas liquids (NGLs) and 6% crude oil. Year-over-year oil production increased 36%, NGL production rose 20%, while natural gas production increased 19%.

The Company also announced that its preliminary first quarter 2012 commodity price realizations (including the impact of cash-settled hedges and derivative settlements which would correspond to analysts’ estimates) averaged $5.19 per mcfe before deduction of third-party transportation, gathering and compression fees. This represents a 14% decrease from the prior-year quarter. Preliminary first quarter average production and realized prices for each commodity were: natural gas – 512.5 Mmcf per day ($4.01), natural gas liquids – 17,152 barrels per day ($46.20) and crude oil – 6,682 barrels per day ($83.54). Third-party transportation, gathering and compression fees are expected to average $0.68 per mcfe for the first quarter. In prior years, third-party transportation, gathering and compression fees were netted in realized commodity prices. Such amounts were reclassified effective in the fourth quarter of 2011 and are now reported separately. The preliminary first quarter 2012 realized price after the deduction of third-party transportation, gathering and compression fees is expected to average $4.51 per mcfe.

Commenting on the announcement, Jeff Ventura, Range’s President and CEO, said, “First quarter production results reflect the excellent performance by our operating, midstream and marketing teams. As a result, we are well on track to achieve our 2012 production growth target of 30% to 35%. Moreover, with the growth of our oil and NGL production, we are executing on our goal of moving overall liquid production higher in our total production mix for 2012 and beyond.”

Pennsylvania Impact Fee

In February 2012, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania passed a natural gas impact fee. The legislation, which covers essentially all of Range’s Marcellus Shale acreage, imposes an annual fee for a period of fifteen years on each well drilled. The impact fee adjusts yearly based on three factors: age of the well, changes in the Consumer Price Index and the average monthly NYMEX natural gas price. A summary of the legislation and a table showing the annual fee scenarios is posted on Range’s website as a supplemental table.

As a result of the impact fee, Range expects company-wide production taxes to total approximately $13.6 million in the first quarter, or $0.23 per mcfe. In addition, Range will record in the first quarter a onetime expense of approximately $24 million, or $0.40 per mcfe, based on the required retroactive payment for wells drilled in 2011 and previous years. The majority of analysts have excluded the retroactive impact fee payment from their First Call consensus estimates for the quarter. To provide for consistent comparisons, Range plans to exclude the retroactive charge in its non-GAAP adjusted net income and non-GAAP cash flow from operations before changes in working capital.*

*Range Resources Corporation (Apr 12, 2012) – Range Announces First Quarter Production Results