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WPX Energy Announces First-Quarter 2013 Results


TULSA, Okla. – WPX Energy (NYSE:WPX) today announced its unaudited operating and financial results for the first-quarter of 2013. Recent highlights include:

  • Niobrara discovery well has exceeded 1 billion cubic feet of production
  • 50% growth in Williston Basin oil production
  • 39% growth in domestic oil and condensate revenues
  • 40% growth in Appalachian Basin natural gas production
  • Reaffirms 2013 production guidance


“We’re actively executing our 2013 plan to grow oil production, drive cost improvements, remain ready for accelerated natural gas drilling if the price recovery continues, and to build the body of data on our Niobrara gas discovery that has the potential to more than double our 3P reserves,” said Ralph A. Hill, WPX’s president and chief executive officer.

“Our Niobrara discovery well in the Piceance Basin is on track to produce in its first four to five months what one of our typical Williams Fork wells in the Piceance does in 25 to 30 years. We are drilling our second horizontal well in the Niobrara, with three more expected this year.

“On the gas front, we’re encouraged by the stronger prices that started late in the quarter. WPX is ideally suited to capitalize on gas if the improved pricing is sustained. We have the track record, properties, permits, infrastructure and access to rigs to ramp up quickly, especially in the Piceance,” Hill added.

“Our first quarter financial and operations results are in line with the guidance we provided for 2013. Domestic oil production is up. Appalachian production is incrementally higher and poised to keep growing with the infrastructure progress that’s finally beginning. 

“We’re also creating value through cost savings. Multi-well pad drilling is lowering our Williston Basin costs by 10 to 20 percent. And we’re seeing the benefit of our new Willow Creek contract. That resulted in nearly $11 million of savings on Piceance gathering and processing expenses in the first quarter. 

“WPX’s story is one of strength. We have 10,000 remaining undrilled 3P locations in our Piceance cornerstone asset and 4.5 trillion cubic feet equivalent of domestic proved reserves as reported at year-end. With increased natural gas prices, we think a more representative measure of our portfolio is our alternate reserves scenario showing 5.3 trillion cubic feet of domestic proved reserves, calculated using 2011 pricing featuring $3.68 natural gas which is below current prices,” Hill said.



WPX reported an unaudited net loss from continuing operations attributable to WPX Energy of $116 million for first-quarter 2013, or a loss of $0.58 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared with a net loss of $41 million, or a loss of $0.21 per share, in the same period a year ago.

Excluding unrealized mark-to-market gains (losses), WPX had an adjusted loss from continuing operations of $51 million, or a loss of $0.25 per share on a diluted basis, for first-quarter 2013, compared with an adjusted loss from continuing operations of $7 million, or $0.04 per share, for the same period in 2012. The 2012 period excludes a $52 million impairment. A reconciliation accompanies this press release.

Consolidated oil revenues increased 31 percent quarter over quarter, but natural gas revenues declined 25 percent and natural gas liquids (NGL) revenues declined 42 percent 

The domestic net realized average price for natural gas, inclusive of hedges, was $2.90 per Mcf in first-quarter 2013, down 17 percent from $3.48 per Mcf a year ago.

The net realized average price for domestic oil was $89.77 per barrel in first-quarter 2013, an increase of 6 percent from $84.54 per barrel a year ago. The 2012 period is inclusive of hedges.

The domestic net realized average price for NGL was $28.21 per barrel in first-quarter 2013, down 16 percent from $33.46 per barrel a year ago.



WPX’s adjusted EBITDAX (a non-GAAP measure) for first-quarter 2013 was $203 million, compared with $263 million for the same measure a year ago.

The primary factors contributing to the quarter-over-quarter decrease in adjusted EBITDAX were lower domestic net realized average prices, inclusive of hedges, and lower volumes for both natural gas and NGL.



First Quarter









Net income (loss)




Interest expense




Provision (benefit) for income taxes




Depreciation, depletion and amortization




Exploration expenses












Unrealized MTM (gains) losses




Loss from discontinued operations



Adjusted EBITDAX




EBITDAX represents earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation, depletion and amortization and exploration expenses. Adjusted EBITDAX includes adjustments for impairments, unrealized mark-to-market gains (losses) and discontinued operations.

WPX believes that these non-GAAP measures provide useful information regarding its ability to meet future debt service, capital expenditures and working capital requirements.



WPX’s overall domestic and international production in first-quarter 2013 was 1,268 MMcfe/d, down 10 percent vs. the same period in 2012 but in line with the company’s 2013 forecast.

 Total natural gas production of 1,021 MMcf/d in first-quarter 2013 decreased 10 percent vs. the prior-year period and 5 percent vs. fourth-quarter 2012. This was expected given WPX’s disciplined approach to gas development in a lower commodity price environment.

 For example, on average, it takes approximately seven drilling rigs to maintain a flat natural gas production rate in the Piceance Basin. At lower gas prices, WPX deployed an average of five rigs in the Piceance in the latter half of 2012 and first quarter of 2013.

Marcellus natural gas production in the Appalachian Basin increased 40 percent to 74 MMcf/d vs. a year ago. The March exit rate was higher at 82 MMcf/d.  Ongoing third-party infrastructure constraints are starting to be resolved. A service provider completed three field compression sites in March that support WPX production in Susquehanna County. Those facilities are undergoing startup procedures.

 Oil production in the Williston Basin increased 50 percent to an average of 11,500 barrels per day in the first quarter vs. 7,700 barrels per day in the same period a year ago. 

Williston operations were temporarily affected early in the quarter by winter storms and sub-zero temperatures. The sequential quarter increase would have been higher barring these short-lived impacts. For example, the average production rate in March was 12,500 barrels per day.

 NGL production in the Piceance Basin also decreased vs. a year ago, down 32 percent to 20.2 Mbbl/d due to lower ethane recovery rates. WPX’s ethane recovery rate in the first-quarter was 47 percent, which is consistent with the company’s 2013 production forecast.


Average Daily Production














Natural gas (MMcf/d)




Piceance Basin








Appalachian Basin








Powder River Basin








San Juan Basin
























Subtotal (MMcf/d)











Oil (Mbbl/d)




Williston Basin








Piceance Basin
























Subtotal (Mboe/d)











NGLs (Mbbl/d)




Piceance Basin
























Subtotal (Mbbl/d)











Total Production (MMcfe/d)










WPX’s domestic expenses were approximately 18 percent lower in first-quarter 2013 than the same period in 2012, primarily driven by lower gas management expenses, lower gathering, processing and transportation expenses and the absence of an impairment recorded in the 2012 period. 

WPX is now benefitting from favorable long-term liquids processing contracts associated with the Willow Creek facility in the Piceance Basin. The renegotiated arrangement was effective Jan. 1.

WPX's domestic lease operating expenses (LOE) in first-quarter 2013 were $67 million vs. $61 million in first-quarter 2012. The increase is primarily attributable to increased water disposal costs resulting from decreased drilling and completion activities. 

Domestic gathering, processing and transportation charges were $106 million in first-quarter 2013 vs. $135 million in first-quarter 2012. One of the drivers behind the 21 percent improvement is the effect of more favorable contract terms for gathering and processing services in the Piceance.

Taxes other than income for domestic operations in first-quarter 2013 were $29 million vs. $25 million in first-quarter 2012. Domestic general and administrative expenses (G&A) were $69 million in first-quarter 2013 vs. $65 million in first-quarter 2012.

Domestic depreciation, depletion and amortization expenses (DD&A) were $224 million in first-quarter 2013 vs. $222 million in first-quarter 2012. The nominal increase reflects the decline in the reserve base used in the calculation of the company’s DD&A rate, which was driven by a decline in the 12-month historical average commodity price.



Net cash provided by operating activities in first-quarter 2013 was $143 million, compared with $252 million in first-quarter 2012. The decrease primarily stems from lower natural gas and NGL revenues.

At March 31, WPX had approximately $74 million in unrestricted domestic cash and cash equivalents and $38 million in international cash. The company’s total liquidity at the end of first-quarter 2013 was approximately $1.5 billion after drawing $80 million from its $1.5 billion revolving credit agreement. Subsequent to the close of the quarter, WPX drew an additional $100 million from the revolver.



In the first quarter of 2013, WPX participated in 115 gross (92 net) wells in the United States. This represents the number of wells that were completed and began commercial delivery of production.

Highlights for the company’s operated wells in its primary areas are provided below, as well as those for WPX’s new opportunities. The balance of gross (net) wells is accounted for in non-operated interests, as well as WPX’s own properties in the San Juan and Powder River basins. 

In the Piceance Basin, WPX completed 74 gross (71 net) wells in first-quarter 2013. The company deployed five rigs on its Piceance acreage during the majority of the first quarter.

Subsequent to the close of the first quarter, WPX started drilling its second Niobrara well in the Piceance on April 3. The company expects to begin completion activities in June. As previously announced, WPX plans to drill a total of four horizontal Niobrara wells in 2013. 

WPX’s Niobrara discovery well in the Piceance Basin registered an average production rate of almost 10 million cubic feet per day in the first quarter, despite being choked back substantially. It has already exceeded more than 1 billion cubic feet in cumulative production. 

In the Williston Basin, WPX completed 12 gross (9 net) wells during the first quarter. WPX has four rigs deployed in the area. A shift to multi-well development pads, along with new completion efficiencies, is driving lower costs. WPX’s recent Williston well costs are down 10 to 20 percent through these improvements. 

During the first quarter, WPX completed three Williston Basin wells simultaneously in 6.5 days using a “zipper frac” application. Previously, it would have taken 15 days to complete the three wells individually. The majority of future completions work in the Williston will be performed using zipper fracs on two or three wells simultaneously.  

In the Appalachian Basin, WPX completed seven gross (six net) wells during the first quarter. The company has one rig deployed in Appalachian, located in Westmoreland County which is in the southwestern portion of Pennsylvania. In Susquehanna County, infrastructure resolutions are under way via both WPX and third-party installations. These measures will benefit the capacity and reliability of systems that support production. 

During the first quarter, WPX also commenced exploratory oil drilling in a new area. As previously announced, WPX plans to drill eight exploratory oil wells in two new areas this year. The company plans to report initial results on the first area by mid-year. 



WPX has completed a data room process for its holdings in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, including the deep rights on its acreage.  WPX is evaluating bids submitted by interested third parties and remains engaged with the process to explore the potential monetization of these assets.

Additionally, WPX will consider the disposition of its interests in Apco Oil and Gas International, Inc. (NASDAQ:APAGF). WPX holds an approximate 69 percent controlling equity interest in Apco, which owns oil and gas interests in Argentina and Colombia.

WPX’s holdings in Apco represent 3 percent of WPX’s year-end 2012 proved reserves of 4.65 trillion cubic feet equivalent and 4 percent of WPX’s 2012 average daily production.



WPX management will discuss its first-quarter results during a webcast starting at 10 a.m. Eastern today. Participants can access the audio and the slides for the event via the homepage at

A limited number of phone lines also will be available at (866) 515-2907. International callers should dial (617) 399-5121. The passcode for both lines is 99483783. A replay will be available on the company’s website for one year following the event.


Form 10-Q

WPX plans to file its first-quarter Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week. Once filed, the document will be available on both the SEC and WPX websites.



As previously reported, WPX had domestic proved reserves at Dec. 31, 2012, of nearly 4.5 trillion cubic feet equivalent based on 2012 commodity price averages.  Under an alternative scenario applying 2011 prices, year-end 2012 domestic reserves were 19 percent higher at 5,339 Bcfe.


Domestic Proved Reserves










Natural Gas (Bcf)





NGL (MMbbl)





Oil (MMbbl)





Total in Bcf equivalent







2011 adjusted excludes discontinued operations that were divested in 2012.

2012 adjusted represents an alternate price scenario using 2011 SEC prices.

The alternate scenario reflects SEC prices used for the company’s year-end 2011 reserves which were calculated using the 12-month average, first-of-the-month price during 2011 for the applicable indices for each basin, as adjusted for local price differentials. 


About WPX Energy, Inc.

WPX Energy is an exploration and production company focused on developing its significant oil and gas reserves, particularly in the Piceance, Williston and Appalachian basins.  WPX also has domestic operations in the San Juan and Powder River basins, as well as a 69 percent interest in Apco Oil and Gas International.  Go to to join our e-mail list.

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This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this press release that address activities, events or developments that the company expects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements.  Such statements are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of the company.  Statements regarding future drilling and production are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties normally incident to the exploration for and development and production of oil and gas.  These risks include, but are not limited to, the volatility of oil, natural gas and NGL prices; uncertainties inherent in estimating oil, natural gas and NGL reserves; drilling risks; environmental risks; and political or regulatory changes.  Investors are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and that actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements.  The forward-looking statements in this press release are made as of the date of this press release, even if subsequently made available by WPX Energy on its website or otherwise.  WPX Energy does not undertake and expressly disclaims any obligation to update the forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.  Investors are urged to consider carefully the disclosure in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, available from us at WPX Energy, Attn:  Investor Relations, P.O. Box 21810, Tulsa, Okla., 74102, or from the SEC’s website at

Additionally, the SEC requires oil and gas companies, in filings made with the SEC, to disclose proved reserves, which are those quantities of oil and gas, which, by analysis of geoscience and engineering data, can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be economically producible – from a given date forward, from known reservoirs, under existing economic conditions, operating methods, and governmental regulations. The SEC permits the optional disclosure of probable and possible reserves. From time to time, we elect to use “probable” reserves and “possible” reserves, excluding their valuation. The SEC defines “probable” reserves as “those additional reserves that are less certain to be recovered than proved reserves but which, together with proved reserves, are as likely as not to be recovered.” The SEC defines“possible” reserves as “those additional reserves that are less certain to be recovered than probable reserves.” The Company has applied these definitions in estimating probable and possible reserves. Statements of reserves are only estimates and may not correspond to the ultimate quantities of oil and gas recovered. Any reserve estimates provided in this presentation that are not specifically designated as being estimates of proved reserves may include estimated reserves not necessarily calculated in accordance with, or contemplated by, the SEC‘s reserves reporting guidelines. Investors are urged to consider closely the disclosure in our SEC filings  that may be accessed through the SEC’s website at

The SEC’s rules prohibit us from filing resource estimates. Our resource estimations include estimates of hydrocarbon quantities for (i) new areas for which we do not have sufficient information to date to classify as proved, probable or even possible reserves, (ii) other areas to take into account the low level of certainty of recovery of the resources and (iii) uneconomic proved, probable or possible reserves. Resource estimates do not take into account the certainty of resource recovery and are therefore not indicative of the expected future recovery and should not be relied upon. Resource estimates might never be recovered and are contingent on exploration success, technical improvements in drilling access, commerciality and other factors. 

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