Artek Exploration Ltd. (“Artek” or the “Company”) (RTK.TO) – Artek exited 2012 at a record production level of over 4,000 boe/d (approximately 44% oil and natural gas liquids). On the back of this success, Artek is pleased to announce its 2013 capital expenditure budget of $55 to $58 million which contemplates the drilling of approximately 14 to 15 gross (8 to 9 net) wells. The currently planned capital program will be weighted 100% to projects targeting oil and condensate with associated natural gas which deliver the best returns and upside, including up to 10 gross (6.1 net) horizontal wells in the condensate rich Inga/Fireweed area, 3 to 4 gross (1.2 to 1.6 net) vertical wells in the Leduc Woodbend area and 1 gross (1.0 net) horizontal well in the Peace River Arch area of Alberta.
After a production focused year driven by the validation of the Company”s Inga Doig play and a development program at Leduc Woodbend, Artek plans to allocate up to 30% of its planned capital investment on exploration projects and the potential value upside they represent. The Company will monitor commodity prices closely, and has the ability to react to any significant changes in market conditions throughout the year. Assuming the capital program is carried out in its entirety, 2013 average production is forecast to be approximately 4,000 boe/d, of which approximately 43% to 44% is forecast to comprise crude oil and natural gas liquids. This would represent more than 40% growth over Artek”s 2012 estimated average production. Exit production is forecast to be approximately 4,300 to 4,400 boe/d. Assuming 2013 commodity prices of $3.00 per GJ AECO for natural gas and $95.00 bbl WTI (US$) for crude oil, the Company forecasts 2013 annual cash flow of approximately $34 to $36 million.
The Inga/Fireweed program, representing over 85% of total capital investment, targets a balance of development, pool extension, exploration drilling and strategic facility and land investment. Six (3.6 net) of the ten wells planned will focus on Artek”s Inga condensate rich Doig play where first month gross production rates from its first 10 horizontal wells have averaged approximately 1,200 boe/d (52% natural gas liquids). Artek continues to add to its land position in the area and now has over 18,500 Ha (10,800 net) or over 70 gross sections with Doig mineral rights on which the Company estimates there are 58 Doig horizontal locations (35 net) based on its mapping. Up to 4 gross (2.5 net) horizontal wells are considered to be exploratory, targeting new Doig pools and the Montney formation which the Company believes to have the potential to be liquids rich. In addition, Artek has accumulated over 21,300 Ha (12,900 net) or approximately 80 sections of land with Montney mineral rights in and around its operated facility and pipeline network in the greater Inga/Fireweed area. The capital program also includes approximately $3 million in facility investment that should increase Artek”s capacity from 18 mmcf/d to approximately 28 mmcf/d and also $3.5 to $4 million for land and seismic. The Company”s strategic holdings and infrastructure tie-in to the Spectra mainline and plant and another third party processing facility with medium and deeper cut liquids extraction capabilities, in addition to straddling the Alliance pipeline system and the Alaska highway. All of the above give Artek multiple transportation and processing options and optimal flexibility in pursuing greater liquids extraction alternatives and anticipated operating netback improvements.
In the Leduc Woodbend area of Alberta, the Company produces medium-light crude from a Glauconitic sandstone oil pool under waterflood with average annual declines of approximately 9% over the last 3 years. The Company secured operatorship of the property in 2012 and drilled 4 gross (1.6 net) infill wells that increased net production to record levels from 380 boe/d to over 650 boe/d late in the year after selling 219 boe/d of production from the property early in 2012 for approximately $19.5 million. Payout on the 2012 program is anticipated to be approximately 3 to 4 months. Three to four (1.2 to 1.6 net) additional vertical development wells and increased water injection are planned for 2013.
A 100% W.I. exploration horizontal well targeting shallow Triassic oil is also planned for 2013 at Mulligan in the Peace River Arch area of Alberta. The Company has over 55 net sections of land in the oil window for the Triassic and has current net production of approximately 350 to 400 boe/d (24% liquids).
To help offset commodity price risk, the Company has acquired a floor of $3.00/GJ for natural gas prices through put options on 6,000 GJ/D (April to October) by selling call options on 600 bpd of crude oil production for the same time period at an average call price of $101.37 CDN WTI per bbl. Artek maintains financial flexibility and a strong balance sheet with a $65 million operating line of credit plus a $10 million development line for total lines of $75 million as compared to Artek”s 2012 estimated exit net debt of $50 million.
The Company currently has three rigs running. Two rigs are drilling in the Inga area where the Company expects to have drilled four horizontal wells including three Doig wells and one Montney exploration well prior to breakup. The first exploration horizontal well at Inga has reached total depth and the second horizontal well is near total depth. Both of these wells are anticipated to be completed in mid to late February. The third rig is drilling the first of three planned vertical wells targeting Glauconitic oil in the Leduc Woodbend area during the first quarter.
Artek”s forecast and guidance are best estimates based on certain assumptions including operating results and commodity prices and will regularly be monitored by management and the Board. The Company”s aim is to proactively manage our capital program in concert with operational results and fluctuating commodity prices with a goal to maintain financial flexibility and achieve growth targets.
Forward Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements. Management”s assessment of future plans and operations and the timing thereof, future results from operations, production estimates including 2013 average and exit production, commodity mix, initial production rates, estimated payout of wells, the Company”s 2013 capital expenditure plans including the number and locations of wells to be drilled, productive capacity of new wells, including the potential of the Company”s Montney rights, financial capacity to carry out its planned 2013 capital program, commodity price forecasts and the Company”s estimated net debt and 2013 cash flow may constitute forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws and necessarily involve risks including, without limitation, risks associated with oil and gas exploration, development, exploitation, production, marketing and transportation, loss of markets, volatility of commodity prices, currency fluctuations, imprecision of reserve estimates, environmental risks, competition from other producers, inability to retain drilling rigs and other services, incorrect assessment of the value of acquisitions, failure to realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions, the inability to fully realize the benefits of the acquisitions, delays resulting from or inability to obtain required regulatory approvals and ability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources. As a consequence, the Company”s actual results may differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward looking statements. Forward looking statements or information are based on a number of factors and assumptions which have been used to develop such statements and information but which may prove to be incorrect. Although Artek believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements or information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward looking statements because the Company can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct.
In addition to other factors and assumptions which may be identified in this document and other documents filed by the Company, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things: the impact of increasing competition; the general stability of the economic and political environment in which Artek operates; the ability of the Company to obtain qualified staff, equipment and services in a timely and cost efficient manner; drilling results; the ability of the operator of the projects which the Company has an interest in to operate the field in a safe, efficient and effective manner; Artek”s ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms; field production rates and decline rates; the ability to replace and expand oil and natural gas reserves through acquisition, development or exploration; the timing and costs of pipeline, storage and facility construction and expansion; the ability of the Company to secure adequate product transportation; future oil and natural gas prices; currency, exchange and interest rates; the regulatory framework regarding royalties, taxes and environmental matters in the jurisdictions in which the Company operates; and Artek”s ability to successfully market its oil and natural gas products. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Additional information on these and other factors that could affect the Company”s operations and financial results are included in reports on file with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and may be accessed through the SEDAR website (www.sedar.com) or at the Company”s website (www.artekexploration.com). Furthermore, the forward looking statements contained in this document are made as at the date of this document and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities laws.
BOE Conversions: Barrel of oil equivalent (“BOE”) amounts may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A BOE conversion ratio has been calculated using a conversion rate of six thousand cubic feet of natural gas to one barrel. This conversion ratio of six thousand cubic feet of natural gas to one barrel is based on an energy equivalent conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. Given that the value ratio based on the current price of crude oil as compared to natural gas is significantly different from the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing a conversion ratio on a 6:1 basis may be misleading as an indication of value.
Artek is a crude oil and natural gas exploration, development and production company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Artek”s shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “RTK”.