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Gulfport's NatGas-Weighted Output Skyrockets on Increased Utica Operations

After committing to curtailing 100 MMcf/d of natural gas production in the fourth quarter, Gulfport Energy Corp. far exceeded the high-end of its guidance for the period and finished 2015 with more than 100% year-over-year production growth.

The company said this week it produced 643.8 MMcfe/d in the fourth quarter, well above its 520-615 MMcfe/d guidance. Full-year 2015 production was 548.2 MMcfe, compared with 2014 production of 240.3 MMcfe/d, exceeding the 100% annual growth target it set (see Shale DailyFeb. 27, 2015). Curtailments, however, likely kept production flat compared to 3Q2015, when the company produced 647.1 MMcfe/d. At the end of the third quarter, management said the 100 MMcf/d curtailments would likely continue into early 2016 (see Shale DailyNov. 9, 2015).

The production gains were driven primarily by the company's assets in Ohio's Utica Shale, where Gulfport has narrowed its focus and expanded its position in recent years. Fourth quarter production was 83% weighted to gas, 10% to natural gas liquids (NGL) and 7% to oil, reflecting a shift to drier production throughout the year.

Improving operations in the Utica also helped Gulfport pad its reserves last year. The company reported 1.7 Tcfe of proved reserves at year's end, up 83% from 2014. Gulfport said reserves are 91% gas and 9% oil and NGLs. The Utica accounted for 1.686 Tcf, while the legacy assets on the Gulf Coast of southern Louisiana accounted for most of the remainder.

Gulfport's realized prices for the fourth quarter, including hedges, slid to $3.21/Mcfe from $4.84/Mcfe in the year-ago period. The company did not provide an update on its 2016 capital budget nor its production guidance for 2015; quarterly results are scheduled for Feb. 18.

At the end of the fourth quarter, Gulfport said it had $113 million of cash on hand, with a $700 million undrawn credit facility and $178.6 million of outstanding letters of credit.

The company also said it has completed a midstream joint venture with a subsidiary of Rice Energy Inc. in which Rice would develop gas gathering assets to support Gulfport's Utica dry gas production (see Shale DailyOct. 8, 2015). The company said Rice has already completed the first phase, a lateral that connects two existing dry gas gathering systems on which Gulfport currently flows most of its dry production.

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