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Gulfport Reports Strong 4Q Production, Firming NatGas Prices

Gulfport Energy Corp. said Tuesday it turned in a solid fourth quarter, announcing that it exited the year at the high-end of its quarterly guidance to produce 787 MMcfe/d, 87% weighted to natural gas, which was 7% more than in 3Q2016 and 22% higher than in the year-ago period.

Northeast fundamentals also appeared to improve, with pre-hedge prices up across the board during the fourth quarter, particularly natural gas liquids (NGL) prices, which were up year/year as well. The company's all-in average price, excluding hedges, was $2.67/Mcfe in the fourth quarter, compared with $2.00/Mcfe in the year-ago period.

Fourth quarter production was 87% weighted to gas, 9% NGLs and 4% oil. The company had guided for fourth quarter production of 765-790 MMcfe/d, and its performance met analyst expectations. Gulfport beat guidance in the third quarter and gained momentum heading into the end of the year on strong well performance, little downtime and more turn in-lines. Full-year production was 719.8 MMcfe/d, a 31% increase over 2015.

The company reported an average realized price of 88 cents/Mcfe in the fourth quarter, which was down from the year-ago period despite firming prices on hedging losses of $139.3 million. Average realized gas prices were $3.21/Mcfe in 4Q2015.

Gulfport in December agreed to pay an estimated $1.85 billion for 46,400 net surface acres in Oklahoma’s South Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP); the deal is expected to close next month. The company has been focused on the Utica Shale in recent years, where it has more than 200,000 net acres. Last year, management said it planned to start 2017 running six rigs in Appalachia and maintain a fleet of four SCOOP rigs; it did not change the guidance in the Tuesday update.

Stronger gas prices also allowed Gulfport to add 2017 gas swaps, increasing its coverage to 555 MMcf/d at an average price of $3.18/Mcf. It added another 122 MMcf/d of 2018 swaps at $3.10/Mcf to expand its coverage to 346 MMcf/d.

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