McMoRan Exploration Co. Earnings Call Insights: Drilling Program and the Davy Jones Status

McMoRan Exploration Co. (NYSE:MMR) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Drilling Program

Lee Cooperman – Omega Advisors: Maybe, I can ask you to peer into the future, if you’re willing to and to make it easy for you, I’ll give you the assumptions that I’m going to give you for the question – surrounding the question I am asking. The deal closes in the second quarter as expected. Your planned drilling program moves ahead as you anticipate. You find in the ultra-deep what you think, that you have. When does the first income flow come to the royalty trust owners?

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James R. Moffett – Co-Chairman, President and CEO: Looking at our portfolio prospects, the onshore well will probably come on first and Davy Jones No. 2 and No. 1 would be on about the same time. Now whereas we have the facilities in place for Davy Jones, and we will put that on when the wells are completed, because of the onshore wells being above 25,000 feet, across space that we now see as a result of the result Lineham Creek. So those would be the most likely to come on first.

Lee Cooperman – Omega Advisors: But whether this translate would you get, if it all goes according to your plan. You think we’re two years away from cash flow to the royalty trust owners?

James R. Moffett – Co-Chairman, President and CEO: (indiscernible).

Lee Cooperman – Omega Advisors: Sorry, I didn’t hear you.

James R. Moffett – Co-Chairman, President and CEO: Yes.

Lee Cooperman – Omega Advisors: Well, Jim Bob if you are right on what you have with ultra-deep isn’t the potential for the royalty trust to be (indiscernible) we are getting for our shares in MMR?

James R. Moffett – Co-Chairman, President and CEO: If you have seen, the success rate that we hope to have certainly something that would be achievable.

Davy Jones Status

Duane Grubert – Susquehanna Financial: Jim Bob on the news with Davy Jones status you mentioned that you’ve reperforated it you know the holes are open and you are thinking about doing frac job. Can you walk us through what do you visualize. Is it near board damage or why would you be thinking about a frac job and how big might that job be?

James R. Moffett – Co-Chairman, President and CEO: Duane if I knew the answer to whether this is a small frac would accomplish or we think it will the problem is the near-bore damage. We can pump into it, but since we don’t have any propant in the third and we are basically doing a liquid fluid we don’t get the propant in the fracture. And therefore the fracture appears to have closed, with liquid propant, that’s why we are talking about getting some profit in there getting in many side by the liquid side, which was successful in showing that all perforations were open and they are saying was one of these years you got just take it step-by-step and we’ve had a lot of steps there. But based on the D sand that we perforated back in March of last year, we didn’t get to the perfect (indiscernible) sand that information where we hope to do that with our (indiscernible) open is to get some propant so that in the near all shale damage, let the reservoir flow into the borrow and they will give the better idea of we’re not that the borrow damage can be fixed with the many track and that may lead us to (indiscernible) inflation that we need to go to a bigger frac, but as you know better than anybody you got to take your time and not get too far ahead of yourselves when you are putting through it and especially this size frac that you are going to do. If it’s a small frac, we get past the whole skin damage and you do it and you know going in there and with an overly care. So, we hope to be at this mini frac, 100,000 pounds of sands and more getting in here in this formation having a chance to be expose the borrow without skin damage, we get a good idea of how feisty that is and whether or not we need. But that will do the trick (indiscernible) or whether we need to go to larger frac.

Duane Grubert – Susquehanna Financial: Just a quick on reserves. You guys used the world preliminary assessment of reserves. Is the book still open as to whether or not Lineham Creek might be bookable for end of year 2012?

James R. Moffett – Co-Chairman, President and CEO: We are looking at that very closely as you know. The big problem is we got to meet SEC standards, so you got to have enough information that and then you need, and we go by the book and qualify reserves as proved. So, we got a lot of information, and we should be getting to the point to have enough information, because the well is above 25,000 feet and the data it is we gain the data as we drill deeper in the well starts and so we are close to knowing whether we can qualify those reserve by to get them in to 2012. But we just need few more things to meet the SEC requirements.

A Closer Look: McMoRan Earnings Cheat Sheet>>