WPX Energy Class A Earnings Call Nuggets: Powder River Asset Divestiture and San Juan Basin

WPX Energy Class A (WPX) recently reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Powder River Asset Divestiture

Brian Velie – Capital One Southcoast: A couple of quick questions, the evaluating bids right now for the Powder River asset divestiture, do you think, where you stand today, is it less in the likelihood that you’ll – be looking at MLP possibilities in San Juan or the Piceance?

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Ralph A. Hill – President and CEO: I would say no, it doesn’t. That is just, the Powder for us is not going to win, if you will the allocation for capital. So, those are completely separate decisions.

Brian Velie – Capital One Southcoast: Then, the 10% to 20% savings in the Bakken wells, is that, what base well cost are you going form there?

Ralph A. Hill – President and CEO: That was, the last year’s range was 12.5 to 13 so it makes our well cost now, down in the $11 million range. Keep in mind, we do use ceramics. So, if you look at what’s going on in that area, we’ve seen some other operators that are saying their well costs are about $11 million, but they don’t use ceramics. We’ve done a lot of analysis on it, and we think you should. So, it puts us currently at about the $11 million range, which we think is very competitive for that area of the Williston.

Brian Velie – Capital One Southcoast: Then finally, I think I heard you say that in the Susquehanna County, you’re starting to see what looked like better EURs and that costs are coming down. Can you quantify that at all or is it still too soon with – I guess interruptions from takeaway?

Ralph A. Hill – President and CEO: Our type curves are still in the 7 Bcf to 9 Bcf range up there, because of the lack of new data. So, we don’t have enough data yet, but we are seeing when the field receipt compression comes on enough data at least to make us feel comfortable those are the right ranges. Will they go higher? We just don’t know yet, unfortunately.

Brian Velie – Capital One Southcoast: Then on the cost side, what do you think will be a good place to model those well costs there in Susquehanna going forward? I know you don’t have a rig there right now, but in the future?

Ralph A. Hill – President and CEO: Well, I think the team would say about 6.5 and of course, I’ll say about 6. So, I’d say somewhere between 6 and 6.5, because the teams continues to do better and they really are. When we get back in the game there, I think they will continue do. They’ve done a really, really good job based on sporadic drilling if you will, because of the infrastructure problems.


San Juan Basin

Robert Bellinski – Morningstar: Was hoping you could give us some additional color on your San Juan Basin acreage, and you are take on the prospects for additional development given the recent interest by others in the industry, or alternatively would you consider divestiture to accelerate the value of the acreage?

Ralph A. Hill – President and CEO: Well, actually I don’t have the acreage – we’ve done our math, I think our acreage, Bryan can get that for us, but we actually – the San Juan Basin for us with two wells I talked about, that we did were horizontal Mancos if you will, similar to the Niobrara formation. We think that we have about 2 Tcf of reserves we are sitting on there on a 3P type basis. So San Juan Basin, at this point is not a candidate to be a divestiture because of the opportunities we have – significant opportunities we have based just on the Piceance gas discovery that we have – the San Juan Basin Mancos discovery we have. Bryan if you can give him the acreage.

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Bryan K. Guderian – SVP, Operations: Sure. Just maybe a little additional color there, we still have of course undeveloped reserves both proved as well as probable and possible reserves related to our legacy developments, in particular our core asset which is known as the Rosa unit. So we would see our traditional legacy development going forward there within Rosa and then deeper you have mentioned us mention before, we originated our study of the Mancos shale in the San Juan Basin, in fact under the Rosa core asset position. That’s where we drilled some 60 vertical wells that were completed in the Mancos originally going back four to five years and then three years back we drilled the two horizontal wells there that are on target to make between 5.5 Bcf and 6.5 Bcf each. So we have a lot of future opportunity there in the basin that we can go to when the gas price environment is favorable.

Robert Bellinski – Morningstar: Also in the Bakken do you guys have any thoughts on downspacing at this point?

Ralph A. Hill – President and CEO: Well we did do an extensive core on (Science Day) last year and I think it might be a little bit early, but I will turn that to Bryan to talk about that.

Bryan K. Guderian – SVP, Operations: Well our study is underway certainly and it’s really what we are doing. We did coring. We have done a lot of petrophysical analysis there. We are trying to ensure that we get the optimum completion design as well as spacing very early in the lifecycle of this project. We are eager to watch the industry. There are other pilots that are underway. I’m sure you guys are well aware of that. We have not drilled anything tighter than three to four Middle Bakken and three to four Three Forks wells per 1,280 at this point. I think we’re encouraged by the industry activity that we see and we would expect the results of our scientific analysis to be coming out over the second half of the year and we’ll make more definitive decisions around spacing at that point in time.