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Petrohawk Posts Huge Profits During 2Q2011

Less than a month after Australian energy giant BHP Billiton Ltd. disclosed plans to purchase Petrohawk Energy Corp., the Houston-based company announced Wednesday that 2Q2011 production grew 15% and revenues shot up 21% from the previous quarter, propelling the company to huge profits.

Petrohawk reported net income of $104.1 million, or 35 cents/share, compared to the $13.4 million and 5 cents/share it made one year earlier. Revenues climbed more than 69% from 2Q2010 to $595 million.

BHP Billiton has offered $12.1 billion for Petrohawk, a deal that would more than double the Australian firm's resource base and increase its proved reserves by about 30% (see Shale Daily, July 18). In February BHP Billiton bought 487,000 net acres in the Fayetteville Shale play from Chesapeake Energy Corp. (see Shale Daily, Feb. 23).

In the Haynesville Shale, the company averaged 11 operated rigs and 21 operated wells, with net production averaging 684 MMcfe/d. Petrohawk drilled 67 nonoperated wells in the Haynesville Shale during 2Q2011, and another three in the Bossier Shale. The company said some operators' transition to full section development caused nonoperated activity to be higher than expected, and predicted that drilling activity in the Haynesville would be lower for the second half of 2011 because its industry partners have announced lower rig counts.

The company said cost reductions of between $600,000 and $800,000 were made possible through changes in well design, lower sand requirements per well and cheaper prices for resin-coated sand. Petrohawk said it was currently operating six rigs and has two dedicated hydraulic fracturing fleets in the Haynesville Shale.

Meanwhile in the Eagle Ford, Petrohawk averaged nine operated rigs in the Black Hawk area, with net production averaging 73 MMcfe/d. In the Hawkville Field section of the play, the company averaged five operated rigs, with net production averaging 129 MMcfe/d. Petrohawk drilled 25 operated and one nonoperated well in the Black Hawk area during the quarter, and 15 operated wells and two nonoperated wells in the Hawkville Field.

Petrohawk said well performance in the Hawkville Field continued to improve as it implements Schlumberger Ltd.'s new HiWay fracturing technique (see Shale Daily, Feb. 25).

The company said results from the Red Hawk prospect -- located in Zavala County, TX -- failed to meet expectations and capital spending there had been terminated.

The acquisition of Petrohawk by BHP Billiton would also benefit Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (KMP), which bought the half of Haynesville joint venture (JV) KinderHawk Field Services LLC that it didn't already own from Petrohawk earlier this year (see Shale Daily, July 25; May 6). KMP and Petrohawk also have a gathering JV called EagleHawk Field Services LLC in the Hawkville and Black Hawk fields.

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