Frisco, TX-based Comstock Resources Inc. pulled more natural gas from the Haynesville Shale and less oil from the Eagle Ford Shale during the first quarter as realized prices and financial results improved.
First quarter production was 14 Bcf of natural gas and 265,000 bbl of oil, or a combined 15.6 Bcfe. Natural gas production averaged 156 MMcf/d, an increase of 11% more than pro forma natural gas production, excluding divestitures completed in 2016, in the first quarter of 2016 and 23% more than pro forma fourth quarter 2016. The growth in gas production came from the Haynesville Shale.
Oil production during the first quarter, which averaged 2,940 b/d, declined by 36% from the 4,600 b/d produced in the first quarter of 2016. The decrease was the result of the lack of drilling in the company's South Texas Eagle Ford Shale properties.
Realized prices for oil and natural gas improved in the first quarter. Natural gas, including hedging gains, was up 57% to $2.96/Mcf compared with $1.89/Mcf in the year-ago quarter. The average realized oil price increased by 84% to $48.60/bbl compared to $26.44/bbl in the year-ago quarter.
Higher prices and production resulted in oil and gas sales increasing by 46% to $54.3 million (including realized hedging gains) compared to year-ago quarter sales of $37.2 million.
Comstock reported a net loss of $22.9 million (minus $1.61/share) for the first quarter compared to a net loss of $56.6 million (minus $5.71/share) for the year-ago quarter. Excluding special items from each year's results, the net loss for the first quarter of 2017 would have been $24.9 million (minus $1.75/share) compared to a net loss of $55.4 million (minus $5.60/share) in the first quarter of 2016.
During the first quarter, Comstock drilled three horizontal natural gas wells (2.5 net) and had two wells (2.0 net) drilling at March 31. Since its last operational update, Comstock has completed four operated Haynesville wells. The average initial production (IP) rate of these wells was 30 MMcf/d. Two of the wells set new company records for IP rates.
The Furlow 25-24 H #1 well in Desoto Parish, LA, was drilled to a total vertical depth of 11,134 feet with a 5,396-foot lateral. This well was tested with an IP rate of 25 MMcf/d. The Furlow 25-36 H #1, was drilled from the same pad to a total vertical depth of 11,070 feet with a 6,355-foot lateral and was tested with an IP rate of 32 MMcf/d.
The Headrick 14-23 H #1 was drilled in Desoto Parish to a total vertical depth of 11,637 feet with a 7,514-foot lateral. It was tested with an IP rate of 26 MMcf/d. The Billingsley 25-24 H #1 well in Desoto Parish was drilled to a total vertical depth of 11,280 feet with an 8,521-foot lateral. It was tested with an IP rate of 36 MMcf/d. Comstock is completing the Headrick 14-11 H #2 and the N.T. Powell 28 H #2 wells.
The three (0.4 net) nonoperated Haynesville shale wells that the company participated in, which were drilled in 2016 and completed in 2017, achieved an average IP rate of 18 MMcf/d per well. The wells are all in Desoto Parish and had approximately 7,500-foot laterals.
Comstock as hedged, in the aggregate, 81 MMcf/d of its 2017 second quarter gas production at a Nymex equivalent of $3.38/Mcf and has hedged about 100 MMcf/d of gas production in the second half of 2017 at $3.38/Mcf.
The company's Haynesville joint venture with USG Properties Haynesville LLC increased its acreage position to about 6,100 net acres and is pursuing additional leasehold acquisitions, the company said. The first joint well is expected to commence drilling later this month.
For more on the Haynesville Shale’s re-emergence, check out the NGI special report “Haynesville 2.0,” which was released last week.