Canadian independent Enerplus Corp. reported lower year/year production for the first quarter but it is poised to resume growing output in the Bakken Shale of North Dakota following a pair of recent acquisitions.

Enerplus

Natural gas production for the firm, which also has assets in the Marcellus Shale, dropped to 255.7MMcf/d in the first three months from 262.9MMcf/d a year earlier. Meanwhile, natural gas liquids (NGL) grew to 6,581 b/d from 5,346 b/d while oil dipped to 42,465 b/d from 49,044. 

“We commenced completions operations in the Bakken toward the end of the quarter, which, in combination with the production acquired through our acquisitions, will drive a material increase to our second quarter production,” CEO Ian Dundas said during an earnings call.

While output was down year/year, it rose 6% sequentially to slightly under 92,000 boe/d. The increase was attributed to greater Marcellus volumes and “about a three-week contribution from” its acquisition of Bruin E&P Holdco LLC, which closed during the quarter.

Enerplus expects Bakken production to continue to increase following the close of the Bruin deal, as well as a more recently announced asset purchase from Hess Corp. The two deals combined expanded the Williston Basin properties about four-fold to 296,000 acres. 

The company got a boost in the first quarter as commodity prices trended higher. Oil climbed to C$67.23/bbl ($53.78) from C$51.30($41.04) a year earlier. Gas rose to C$3.48/Mcf ($2.78) from C$2.08 ($1.66). NGL prices jumped to C$36.17/bbl ($28.94) over C$12.72 ($10.18) in the first quarter of last year.

Enerplus reported 2021 first quarter net income of C$14.7 million ($11.8 million) or  C6 cents/share (5 cents). That was up five-fold from a year ago when it earned C$2.9 million ($2.32 million) or C1 cent/share.