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Sanchez Energy Exploring Strategic Options

Sanchez Energy Corp., which is focused primarily on the Eagle Ford Shale, said Tuesday it has hired Moelis & Company LLC as financial adviser to explore strategic alternatives to strengthen the balance sheet and maximize the value of the Houston-based company.

CEO Tony Sanchez III said the company had been taking steps to stabilize its production profile and reduce the capital intensity of the business, and that those steps were beginning to yield some success in the form of increased operating margins and cash flow heading into 2019. Production, which totaled 7.5 million boe in 4Q2017, had declined for three consecutive quarters and was 7.0 million boe in 3Q2018.

"However, these operational challenges, combined with volatility in the commodity markets and the company's leverage, led the company to review opportunities to improve its financial flexibility for continued success in the future," Sanchez said. The company added that it does not intend to make any future announcements over its strategic plans "unless and until the company otherwise determines that disclosures are necessary or appropriate."

According to a 10-Q filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company at the end of September held 275,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford and about 34,000 net acres in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale.

Sanchez divested part of its Eagle Ford portfolio last year. The company sold its Marquis assets in Texas, about 21,000 net acres in Fayette and Lavaca counties, to Lonestar Resources US Inc. in a $50 million deal. It also sold its gassy Javelina assets to Vitruvian Exploration IV LLC for about $105 million. Javelina included about 68,000 undeveloped net acres in LaSalle and Webb counties, TX.

Two Sanchez subsidiaries joined with Gavilan Resources LLC, an entity controlled by Blackstone Group LP, to acquire 122,000 net acres in the Eagle Ford and 33,000 net acres of deep rights that include the Pearsall Shale from Anadarko E&P Onshore LLC and Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Onshore LP for about $2.1 billion in cash. The deal to acquire the assets, later dubbed the Comanche assets, was completed in March 2017.

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