Pacific Coast Oil Trust Announces There Will Be No October Cash Distribution

Source: 10/13/2021, Location: North America

PACIFIC COAST OIL TRUST, a royalty trust formed by Pacific Coast Energy Company LP (“PCEC”), announced that there will be no cash distribution to the holders of its units of beneficial interest of record on October 22, 2021 based on the Trust’s calculation of net profits generated during August 2021 (the “Current Month”) as provided in the conveyance of net profits interests and overriding royalty interest (the “Conveyance”). If the Trust continues to receive insufficient monthly income from its net profits interests and overriding royalty interest, the Trust is expected to terminate by its terms by the end of 2021. As described further below, based on information from PCEC, the likelihood of distributions to the unitholders in the foreseeable future is extremely remote. The Trust may also be terminated upon the occurrence of other events as described in the Trust’s filings with the SEC. All financial and operational information in this press release has been provided to the Trustee by PCEC.

The Current Month’s distribution calculation for the Developed Properties resulted in operating income of approximately $838,000. Revenues from the Developed Properties were approximately $2.7 million, lease operating expenses including property taxes were approximately $1.7 million, and development costs were approximately $155,000. The average realized price for the Developed Properties was $66.55 per Boe for the Current Month, as compared to $70.89 per Boe in July 2021. Oil prices generally have continued to rise in recent months, following the sharp decline in the first quarter of 2020, and were higher in the Current Month as compared to August 2020. The cumulative net profits deficit amount for the Developed Properties declined slightly, to approximately $24.1 million in the Current Month versus approximately $24.8 million in the prior month.

The Current Month’s calculation included approximately $84,000 generated from the 7.5% overriding royalty interest on the Remaining Properties from Orcutt Diatomite and Orcutt Field. Average realized prices for the Remaining Properties were $64.06 per Boe in the Current Month, as compared to $68.20 per Boe in July 2021. The cumulative net profits deficit for the Remaining Properties decreased by approximately $35,000 and was approximately $2.7 million for the Current Month.

The monthly operating and services fee of approximately $96,000 payable to PCEC and Trust general and administrative expenses of approximately $79,000, together exceeded the payment of approximately $84,000 received from PCEC from the 7.5% overriding royalty interest on the Remaining Properties, creating a shortfall of approximately $91,000.

PCEC has provided the Trust with a $1 million letter of credit to be used by the Trust if its cash on hand (including available cash reserves) is not sufficient to pay ordinary course administrative expenses as they become due. As of March 31, 2021, the letter of credit has been fully drawn down. Further, the trust agreement provides that if the Trust requires more than the $1 million under the letter of credit to pay administrative expenses, PCEC will, upon written request of the Trustee, loan funds to the Trust in such amount as necessary to pay such expenses. Under the trust agreement, the Trust may only use funds provided under the letter of credit or loaned by PCEC or another source to pay the Trust’s current accounts or other obligations to trade creditors in connection with obtaining goods or services or for the payment of other accrued current liabilities arising in the ordinary course of the Trust’s business. As the Trust has fully drawn down the letter of credit, PCEC will be loaning funds to the Trust to pay the expected shortfall of approximately $91,000, which would bring the total amount of outstanding borrowings (including the amount drawn from the letter of credit, which also must be repaid as provided in the trust agreement) from PCEC to approximately $2,825,000, plus interest thereon, related to shortfalls from prior months. Consequently, no further distributions may be made to Trust unitholders until the Trust’s indebtedness created by such amounts drawn or borrowed, including interest thereon, has been paid in full.

Update on Estimated Asset Retirement Obligations
As previously disclosed, in November 2019, PCEC informed the Trustee that, as permitted by the Conveyance, PCEC intended to begin deducting its estimated asset retirement obligations (“ARO”) associated with the West Pico, Orcutt Hill, Orcutt Hill Diatomite, East Coyote and Sawtelle fields, thereby reducing the amounts payable to the Trust under its Net Profits Interests. ARO is the accounting recognition related to plugging and abandonment obligations that all oil and gas operators face. PCEC engaged an accounting firm, Moss Adams LLP (“Moss Adams”), acting as third-party consultants, to assist PCEC in determining its estimated ARO, and on February 27, 2020, PCEC informed the Trustee that based on the analysis performed by Moss Adams, PCEC’s estimated ARO, as of December 31, 2019, was $45,695,643, which is approximately $10.0 million less than the undiscounted amount that was originally estimated before Moss Adams completed its analysis, as previously disclosed in the Trust’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on November 13, 2019. According to PCEC and its third-party consultants, its estimated ARO, which reflected PCEC’s assessment of current market conditions as of December 31, 2019 and changes in California law, was determined to be approximately $33.2 million for the Developed Properties and approximately $12.5 million for the Remaining Properties, or approximately $26.5 million and approximately $3.1 million net to the Trust, respectively, and PCEC has reflected these amounts beginning with the calculation of the net profits generated during January 2020. The accrual has resulted in a current cumulative net profits deficit of approximately $26.8 million, which must be recouped from proceeds otherwise payable to the Trust from the Trust’s Net Profits Interests. Therefore, until the net profits deficit is eliminated, the only cash proceeds the Trust will receive are pursuant to the 7.5% overriding royalty interest.

PCEC has informed the Trustee that in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, PCEC will evaluate the ARO on a quarterly basis. As a result of that re-evaluation, the actual ARO incurred in the future may be greater or less than the estimated amounts provided by PCEC. As previously disclosed, PCEC has informed the Trustee that at year-end 2020, and following the end of the first and second quarters of 2021, in light of the accounting guidance under Accounting Standards Codification 410-20-35-3, which requires the recognition of changes in the asset retirement obligation due to the passage of time and revision of the timing or amount of the originally estimated undiscounted cash flows, PCEC re-evaluated the estimated ARO, which resulted in an aggregate increase to the ARO accrual for the Developed Properties by approximately $4.6 million, net to the Trust’s interest, and an aggregate increase to the ARO accrual for the Remaining Properties by approximately $227,000, net to the Trust’s interest.

Based on PCEC’s estimate of its ARO attributable to the Net Profits Interest, deductions relating to estimated ARO are likely to eliminate the likelihood of any distributions to Trust unitholders for the foreseeable future, as previously disclosed in the Trust’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on November 13, 2019.

As previously disclosed, the Trust engaged Martindale Consultants, Inc. (“Martindale”), a provider of analysis and compliance review services to the oil and gas industry, to perform an independent review of the estimated ARO in the Moss Adams report that PCEC provided to the Trustee. The Trustee also has engaged an accounting expert to advise the Trustee regarding the accruals that PCEC has booked relating to its estimated ARO. As disclosed in the Trust’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on December 29, 2020, Martindale has completed its review of the estimated ARO and on December 21, 2020 provided its analysis and recommendations to the Trustee. Based on Martindale’s recommendations provided in its report to the Trust, as disclosed in the Trust’s Current Report on Form 8-K filed on December 29, 2020, the Trustee requested that PCEC promptly make several adjustments to its calculations and methods of deducting ARO from the proceeds to which the Trust is otherwise entitled pursuant to its Net Profits Interests. PCEC has responded to the Trustee, indicating PCEC’s view that the adjustments would violate applicable contracts and accounting standards, and has therefore declined to make any adjustments to the estimated ARO calculation based on those requests and the recommendations of the Martindale report. The Trustee has concluded that it has taken all action reasonably available to it under the Trust’s governing documents in connection with PCEC’s ARO calculation and therefore has determined not to take further action at this time.

As described in more detail in the Trust’s filings with the SEC, the Trust will terminate if the annual cash proceeds received by the Trust from the Net Profits Interests and 7.5% overriding royalty interest total less than $2.0 million for each of any two consecutive calendar years. PCEC is deducting estimated ARO, thereby reducing the amounts payable to the Trust. Unless significant market changes were to occur, no payments will be made by PCEC to the Trust for the foreseeable future, which would result in the total proceeds received by the Trust to total less than $2.0 million in each of 2020 and 2021.

Production Update
PCEC has informed the Trustee that production has improved from the prior month, while PCEC strategically deploys capital to enhance production. Costs associated with returning wells to service must be recovered before cash flow to the Trust can be created. Although oil prices have improved significantly from their lowest levels in 2020, any monthly payments that PCEC may make to the Trust may not be sufficient to cover the Trust’s administrative expenses and outstanding debt to PCEC, and therefore the likelihood of distributions to the unitholders in the foreseeable future is extremely remote.

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