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Linn Raises 4Q Production Guidance While Onshore Asset Sales Continue

One day after announcing plans to sell its stake in a Utah oilfield for $132 million, Linn Energy Inc. on Wednesday raised its 4Q2017 production guidance and said operating costs are trending lower. 

On Tuesday, the Houston-based independent said it had signed a definitive agreement with an undisclosed buyer to sell its interest in about 36,000 net acres in the Altamont Bluebell Field. During 3Q2017 the acreage produced about 1,450 boe/d net and has proved developed reserves estimated at 5.8 million boe, based on a natural gas price of $3.00/MMBtu and an oil price of $50.00/bbl.

The sale, which is subject to closing adjustments, is expected to close by the end of March with an effective date of Aug. 1, 2017, continuing Linn’s quest to reduce its portfolio.

Last October, Linn sold about 20,000 net acres in the Williston Basin to an undisclosed buyer for $285 million. It also agreed to sell 163,000 net acres in the Washakie field in Wyoming for $200 million. The company disclosed in November that it plans to unload additional assets in the Permian Basin and Oklahoma. Linn also last month agreed to sell its estimated 179,000 net acres in the Oklahoma Waterflood and Texas Panhandle for $122 million.

The asset sales are part of a broader plan announced last month to reconfigure the company. Linn is planning to separate its exploration/production and midstream businesses by mid-2018.

Meanwhile, the producer has increased its 4Q2017 guidance to 496-512 MMcfe/d net from 472-507 MMcfe/d. The high end of guidance for natural gas liquids was bumped up slightly to 17,300-17,900 b/d from 16,300-17,300 b/d. Natural gas output guidance was raised to 315-325 MMcf/d from 300-324 MMcf/d. The high end for net oil production was basically unchanged at 12,800-13,200 b/d from 12,400-13,200 b/d.

Overall, Linn said 4Q2017 operating costs declined from $94-100 million to $87-93 million, while lease operating expenses fell from $54-57 million to $50-54 million. However, Linn estimated that general and administrative expenses for 4Q2017 have increased from $20-23 million to $26-28 million. Total capital expenditures in the final three months declined from $77 million to a range of $55-65 million.

Linn’s quarterly and full-year 2017 conference call is scheduled for Feb. 27.

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