Cabot O&G 1Q17 – Oil Turning Cabot’s Eye Away from Marcellus

Last week one of our favorite Marcellus drillers, Cabot Oil & Gas, issued its first quarter 2017 update. There’s lots to see and to discuss. First up, Cabot’s production was up 7% from the same quarter a year earlier. And while Cabot lost $51 million in 1Q16, the company profited $106 million in 1Q17. So production went up a little, but profits went up a lot. Perhaps the main reason why Cabot made more money in 1Q17 is that the price they got for their natural gas went up 77% over the same period last year. Two items in particular caught our attention about the update: (1) Cabot predicts Williams’ Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline will be fully permitted “by early July” and construction will begin in the third quarter. They are jazzed about shipping an extra 1 billion cubic feet (Bcf) per day on the pipeline when its fully operational in 2018. (2) Other shale plays are now catching Cabot’s eye and CEO Dan Dinges is spending $125 million THIS YEAR on buying leases and drilling test wells–in plays they aren’t yet ready to disclose. The only hint we have is “that our focus is going to be oil.” Hmmmm. We don’t much like the sound of that. Cabot has developed a wandering eye for other plays. Make no mistake, Cabot will continue to drill aggressively in the Marcellus–but they will no longer be laser focused on the Marcellus. To be fair, the company has previously fiddled around in the Eagle Ford (an oil play in Texas). But apparently the Eagle Ford is not where “the next big thing” will be found. Cabot is looking elsewhere for the next miracle, like the one they found in Susquehanna County, PA with the Marcellus. Except this time it’s in oil and not gas…

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