Shale Daily / NGI All News Access

Gulfport Acquires More Acreage, Working Interest in Utica

For the third time in less than three months, Gulfport Energy Corp. and Windsor Ohio LLC, an affiliate of Wexford Capital LP, have agreed to make a transaction in the Utica Shale, this time for net acreage and a higher working interest (WI).

On Monday, Oklahoma City-based Gulfport said it has entered into an agreement to buy approximately 22,000 net acres in the eastern Ohio portion of the play for about $220 million. The deal, expected to close at the end of February, will increase Gulfport's WI in the acreage to 93.8% and boost its position in the Utica to 137,000 gross (128,000 net) acres.

The deal excludes Windsor Ohio's interest in 14 existing wells, 16 proposed future wells and some surrounding acreage.

Gulfport said that once the deal closes, the company estimates that its net production for the full-year 2013 will be between 21,370 boe/d and 22,192 boe/d. Last December, Gulfport had forecast that net production for all of 2013 would average between 20,274 boe/d and 21,096 boe/d (see Shale Daily, Dec. 19, 2012). The company added that it plans to continue serving as operator of its acreage in the Utica.

Last December, Gulfport announced two separate deals with Windsor Ohio to buy 37,000 net acres in the eastern Ohio portion of the Utica for $372 million (see Shale Daily, Dec. 21, 2012). Those transactions increased Gulfport's position in the play to about 106,000 net acres, with a 72.5% WI.

Gulfport added 3,000 gross acres in the Utica, which CEO Jim Palm had characterized as "bolt-on acreage," in November 2012. During an earnings call that month, Palm added that the Utica was the company's "primary focus area" (see Shale Daily, Nov. 16, 2012; Nov. 12, 2012). According to the company's guidance statement for 2013, Gulfport plans to spend the lion's share of its capital expenditures (capex), between $322 million and $336 million, in the Utica.

Earlier this month, Gulfport reported 4Q2012 net production of 608,500 boe and full-year 2012 net production of 2.57 million boe -- figures that were both supported in large part by natural gas (see Shale Daily, Feb. 8). The company is scheduled to release its quarterly and full-year 2012 earnings report on Feb. 26; a conference call is scheduled for the following day.

Gulfport said it plans to add a third drilling rig to the Utica in early March. The company has three horizontal wells currently flowing into sales pipelines, and plans to add another eight wells by June 1 (see Shale Daily, Jan. 24; Nov. 29, 2012; Oct. 15, 2012; Aug. 16, 2012).

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