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Decades of free inventory from one deal: Vermilion Energy buys Leucrotta Exploration for $477 million04/07/2022
As part of its effort to expand its Montney Shale play, Vermilion Energy Inc. recently acquired Leucrotta Exploration Inc. for a net cash purchase price of CA$477 million.
Dion Hatcher, Vermillion's president, believes the Leucrotta acquisition is integral to the company's strategic plan due to the asset's scalability and expected availability of high-value Tier 1 drilling inventory for at least the next 20 years.
Located in the Mica region of Northeast British Columbia and Northwestern Alberta, Leucrotta is a publicly-traded company focused on Montney hydrocarbon exploration. Leucrotta's acquisition by Vermilion follows its agreement to purchase Equinor Energy Ireland Ltd. last November for CA$556 million (US$434 million).
In addition to adding Equinor Energy Ireland to Vermilion's gas holdings, this acquisition will broaden the company's European gas exposure while also helping it to reduce debt faster.
After completing both deals, Vermillion aims to reduce debt by $1 billion by the end of the year, three years ahead of schedule.
Vermilion anticipates being debt-free by end-of-2023 at current strip prices. As for the company's near-term strategic objectives, Top management also plans to complete them without issuing any more shares, which maximizes free cash flow for shareholders and prevents dilution.
It is anticipated that Leucrotta's acquisition will close by the end of May. While closing of the Corrib acquisition is scheduled for the second half of 2022.
According to the Leucrotta acquisition agreement, Vermilion will pay CA$1.73 per share in cash for all of the company's issued and outstanding shares.
Mica is the primary Leucrotta asset, consisting of 81,000 gross (77,000 net) contiguous acres of Montney mineral rights which border both Alberta and British Columbia. The asset is expected to produce approximately 13,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2023, with a plateau production level of 28,000 barrels per day anticipated over the next few years.
As of today, Vermilion has identified 275 high-quality, high-return, low-risk multi-zone drilling prospects. Top management believes, these prospects represent 20 or more years of low-risk, self-funding, high-deliverability drilling.
Assuming the anticipated May closing date, Vermilion is increasing its capital budget for E&D in 2022 to $500 million and increasing guidance for production from 86,000 to 88,000 boe/d to take into account the Leucrotta acquisition.
The acquisition deal also involves the transfer of a portion of the Leucrotta land base and approximately CA$43.5 million of cash to a new company, which will be managed by the existing Leucrotta team.
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Canadian Assets on Sale: Energy Transfer Sells Gas Processing Bussines to Pembina-KKR for $1.3 Billion
Under the agreement, Energy Transfer will sell its 51% interest in Energy Transfer Canada to the Pembina-KKR joint venture, for more than CA$1.6 billion (US$1.3 billion) including debt and preferred equity. KKR's funds already own the remaining stake. TC’s assets include 6 natural gas processing plants with a combined operating capacity of 1.29 Bcf/d and an 848-mile naturalgas gathering and transportation network in the Western Canadian Sedimentary (WCS) basin. While this process is underway, Pembina and KKR will combine their Western Canadian natural gas processing assets into a single, new joint venture entity — Newco, owned 60% by Pembina and 40% by KKR. This new entity is expected to have a natural gas processing capacity of about 5 Bcf/d or about 16% of Western Canada’s total processing capacity.
Canada is looking at ways to increase pipeline utilization to boost crude exports as Europe seeks to reduce its reliance on Russian oil At the moment, oil exports from Canada to the U.S. are approximately 4 million barrels of oil per day, with a portion reexported to other countries. At the end of 2021 Canadian oil companies exported a record amount of crude from the U.S. Gulf Coast, mostly to big importers India, China, and South Korea. And this will only increase in the future.
Oil output in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is supposed to go up 88,000 bbl/d to a record 5.219 million bbl/d in June, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced in its report on May 16. Additionally, gas productivity in the Permian Basin and the Haynesville in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas will rise to record highs of 20 Bcf/d and 15.1 Bcf/d in June, respectively. Given that this growth has been expected, recent global market changes make forecasting the output even more challenging. Learning how production will change is easier with early activity tracking, a new service recently launched by Rextag – Pad Activity Monitor. With the help of PAM, you are able to monitor well pad clearing, drilling operations, fracking crew deployment and completions with new data collected approximately every 2 days. Additionally, it cuts down activity reporting lag times by at least 98%, from 120-180 days down to just 5-8 days. In order to access reports, charts, tables, and mapping visualizations via Rextag’s Energy DataLink use a web-based application allowing users to filter, download and identify activity on a map or data table. Moreover, customers will be able to set up daily, weekly, and monthly email report notifications.
The EIA forecasts that total output in the main U.S. shale oil basins will increase 142,000 bbl/d to 8.761 million bbl/d in June, the most since March 2020. Oil productivity in the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico is supposed to go up 88,000 bbl/d to a record 5.219 million bbl/d in June, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced in its report on May 16. In the largest shale gas basin, the productivity in Appalachia in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia will grow up to 35.7 Bcf/d in June, its highest since beating a record 36 Bcf/d in December 2021. Gas output in the Permian Basin and the Haynesville in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas will rise to record highs of 20 Bcf/d and 15.1 Bcf/d in June, respectively. Speaking of the Permian future output, putting hands on upcoming changes in production has recently been made easier with the new Rextag's service - Pad Activity Monitor. Thanks to satellite imagery and artificial intelligence, customers are able to monitor the oil and gas wells and are provided with near real-time activity reports related to drilling operations. However, it is noticed that productivity in the largest oil and gas basins has decreased every month since setting records of new oil well production per rig of 1,544 bbl/d in December 2020 in the Permian Basin, and new gas well production per rig of 33.3 MMcf/d in March 2021 in Appalachia.
No sooner had the crude prices soared above $100/bbl than the industry professionals believed in an incredible growth of drilling activity in North America’s largest shale patch. Analysts speculate that additional output of 500,000 barrels of oil daily would become a significant part (4%) of overall U.S. daily production. That is going to flatter oil and gasoline prices. Drilling permits in the Permian Basin are persistently growing, averaging approximately 210 at the beginning of April. Moreover, the permits trend is noticed as an all-time high as a total of 904 horizontal drilling permits were awarded last month. Nowadays, learning and analysing the current situation and predicting the future development become easier with early activity tracking, a new service recently launched by Rextag. Rextag's Pad Activity monitor (PAM) allows you to see well pad clearing, drilling operations, fracking crew deployment and completions with new data collected approximately every 2 days with the help of satellite imagery and artificial intelligence. While the increase in drilling will result in higher production, U.S. shale producers will have to overcome several hurdles including labor shortages and supply constraints.