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Apache (APA) Posts Narrow Q1 Loss, Ups Production View

U.S. energy firm Apache Corp. APA reported a first-quarter loss per share – excluding one-time items – of 40 cents, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate for a loss of 91 cents and the year-ago adjusted loss of 44 cents. The outperformance came on the back of strong North American liquids production and cost savings.

However, revenues of $1,052 million were down 35% from the year-ago quarter and were also below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,081.2 million amid a plunge in commodity prices.

Operational Performance

The production of oil and natural gas (excluding divested assets and non-controlling interests) averaged 478,659 oil-equivalent barrels per day (BOE/d) (65% liquids), essentially unchanged from last year. Apache’s production for oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) was 311,576 barrels per day (Bbl/d), while natural gas output came in at 1,002.5 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d).

The average realized crude oil price during the first quarter was $31.51 per barrel, representing a decrease of 34% from the year-ago realization of $47.87. Moreover, the average realized natural gas price during the March quarter of 2016 was $2.15 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), down 27% from the year-ago period.

Balance Sheet, Capital Spending & Lease Operating Expenses

As of Mar 31, 2016, Apache had approximately $1,004 million in cash and cash equivalents. The Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company had a long-term debt of $8,718 million, representing a debt-to-capitalization ratio of 81.2%.

During Jan-Mar period, Apache’s exploration and development investments totaled $490 million, 65% lower than the $1,418 million incurred a year ago. The company – like many other oil and gas players including ConocoPhillips COP, Chesapeake Energy Corp. CHK and Marathon Oil Corp. MRO – has adjusted its spending plans considerably amid diving crude prices. In fact, Apache was able to lower its capital spending by 60% in 2015 to $4.2 billion.

Apache’s first quarter lease operating expenses totaled $378 million, down 21% from $481 million in the year-ago quarter.

Guidance

Apache reiterated its 2016 capital expenditure budget at the previously announced band of $1.4-$1.8 billion. Using the midpoint of the range, this represents a 62% reduction from the company's 2015 total capital expenditures.

Average proforma production in 2016 is expected to be approximately 438,000-458,000 BOE/d, some 5,000 BOE/d higher than the original guidance. This was mainly on account of strong North American onshore production.

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