Pieridae Releases Q4 and 2021 Results

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 3/24/2022, Location: North America

Key Highlights:
- Generated $57.7 million Adjusted Funds Flow from Operations1 (“AFFO”) in 2021 an increase of 115% year over year from $26.9 million in 2020 to $57.7 million
- Generated $84.1 million Net Operating Income1 (“NOI”) in 2021, an increase of 66% year over year, from $50.7 million in 2020
- Increased petroleum and natural gas revenue to $334.7 million in 2021 up 41% from $238.1 million in 2020
- Production averaged 40,562 barrels of oil equivalent per day (“boe/d”) in 2021 , a marginal decrease from 42,000 boe/d in 2020 in the midst of two planned facility turnarounds or planned maintenance shutdowns
- The proved developed producing (“PDP”) base decline rate of the corporation is now at ~ 10% (based on 2022 PDP forecasts), one of the lowest in the industry
- Maintained safe, reliable operations during the pandemic with historical low recordable injuries and without any material loss of productivity during the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2021

Pieridae Energy Limited released its 2021 financial and operating results, highlighted by year-over-year growth in Adjusted Funds Flow From Operations (up 115% to $57.7 million) and a 66% increase in Net Operating income to $84.1 million.

“We have transformed as a company in the past year following the completion of our strategic review and the suspension of the Goldboro LNG Project,” said Pieridae’s Chief Executive Officer, Alfred Sorensen. “Pieridae has adjusted its strategy to one of focusing on building the upstream side of our business, while maintaining optionality for an LNG Project. We believe there is great value in developing our Foothills assets, holding one of the largest land bases in the area, and we will work to demonstrate that it is an economic place to drill. The potential start of our 2022 drilling program, projected for the second half of the year, would bring on new production, help fill up our gas plants, lower per-unit operating costs and increase revenue. We also know we must lower debt financing costs and develop and execute a carbon management plan which is aligned to our environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) vision.

“While we continue to believe that an LNG project at our Goldboro site could be an economically compelling and nation building opportunity, what Pieridae needs in order to continue development of the project is a commitment of support from the Government of Canada that this initiative is a national priority. If it is deemed to be, then pipeline capacity to transport the gas to the East Coast would need to be worked out. We must find an investment partner and also hope the Mi’kmaq remain involved as partners so that they might share in the benefits of a future project,” concluded Sorensen.

New President & COO and CFO Named
We are pleased to announce a pair of important promotions within the Company at the Senior Leadership Team level. Darcy Reding becomes President & Chief Operating Officer (“COO”), after serving as the Company’s COO since Joining Pieridae in April 2021. As well, interim Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) Adam Gray is no longer fulfilling the role on an interim basis and is promoted to CFO.

“Both Darcy and Adam have played significant roles during a challenging year at Pieridae to influence the operations side of our business, moving us toward our goal of being a successful Foothills producer and increasing returns to our shareholders,” said Pieridae’s Chief Executive Officer, Alfred Sorensen. “We congratulate them both on their promotions and look forward to what they will accomplish in the months and years ahead.”

Financial Performance
During 2021, the Company generated cashflow from operations of $51.1 million, and AFFO of $57.7 million, an increase of 115% compared to the same period in 2020. Higher realized prices for natural gas, NGLs and condensate contributed significantly to higher cashflows, offset by lower production, increased operating costs and royalties largely driven by the increase in commodity prices, and first-half costs associated with the Goldboro LNG Project.

Trends in petroleum and natural gas revenue are primarily associated with fluctuations in the total volume produced and prices the Company receives for its production. We were able to mitigate our production decline to 3% during 2021; increases in realized prices during the year was the primary driver of the 41% increase in petroleum and natural gas revenue from $238.1 million in 2020 to $334.7 million in 2021. That said, fixed price physical forward sales contracts in place during the year did not allow us to take full advantage of the increase in commodity prices.

2021 was a year of change for Pieridae, with challenges faced on a number of fronts as we have discussed. Events highlighted earlier in this release impacted our business, operations, cash flows and net income (loss) during the past four quarters. Throughout these events Pieridae remained committed to and impressed by the operational resilience of our assets and our team.

Operations Performance
Production in the fourth quarter of 2021 decreased by 8% compared to the same quarter in 2020 due to the temporary shut-in of production in Central Alberta due to partner disputes, unplanned downtime at Waterton for maintenance repairs, unseasonably cold weather in December 2021 and normal production declines.

During 2021, production decreased 3% compared to 2020. The calculated 2021 decline rate in the independent reserve evaluator’s year-end 2020 reserve report was 8% on a total proved plus probable basis. During 2021, the Company successfully endeavoured to mitigate this decline through numerous optimization and maintenance activities. These relatively low-cost investments generated significant internal rates of return. Production was negatively impacted during 2021 by the major planned facility turnarounds at Jumping Pound and Caroline in April and September respectively, mitigated to the extent possible by volume re-direction to third-party facilities during the turnarounds. During 2021, Pieridae also increased production from minor working interest acquisitions in the Waterton and Jumping Pound areas.

The Company continues to execute a commodity risk management program governed by its Hedge Policy. Over the past 12 months, our debt lender temporarily waived and/or amended their requirement to have 60% of forecast base production hedged on an 18-month rolling average basis, in order to allow the Company to take advantage of strengthening natural gas and NGL prices, and to recognize the credit implications of hedging into a rising commodity price market. During 2021, the Company’s primary hedging tools were physical fixed price forward sales contracts. As of December 31, 2021, 56,900 GJ/d of fixed price natural gas contracts were in place at a weighted-average price of $2.50/GJ over a term of 15 months, as further described in note 19 of the consolidated financial statements. As of March 23, 2022, physical fixed-price forward sales contracts representing 92,007 GJ/d of natural gas hedged at an average price of $2.92/GJ for 2022 and 17,500 GJ/d for Q1 2023 at $2.88/GJ are in place. In addition, condensate hedges (C$WTI basis) averaging 659 bbl/d for 2022 at an average price of C$107.98/bbl are in place.

Strategic Review
On July 26, 2021, Pieridae announced it had initiated a formal process to identify, examine and consider a range of strategic alternatives with a view to enhancing shareholder value. Such strategic alternatives may have included a corporate sale, merger, a sale of a material portion of Pieridae’s assets or other transactions.

“Shareholders and the Company have invested heavily in the Goldboro LNG Project for a number of years and we have acquired and consolidated a large base of Foothills upstream assets, so it is prudent for us to look for ways to ensure an appropriate return is found for the investments made to date,” said Pieridae Chief Executive Officer Alfred Sorensen.

Pieridae’s Board of Directors had authorized the creation of a special committee to review and evaluate potential strategic alternatives and transactions. Pieridae as well hired Peters & Co. to advise the strategic review committee and the Company during the strategic review process.

On January 24, 2022, the company announced the strategic review process had wrapped up. Ultimately, the special committee concluded that the various alternatives presented were not compelling relative to the Company’s stand-alone prospects. The restructuring of Pieridae’s credit agreement announced January 4, 2022 played a role in the special committee’s conclusion. The full Pieridae Board supported and approved the committee’s recommendation.

Goldboro LNG
On July 2, 2021, the company announced a future path for its Goldboro LNG Project. While Pieridae had made progress in advancing the Project, as of June 30, 2021, we were not able to meet all of the key conditions necessary to make a positive final investment decision. It became apparent that cost pressures and time constraints due to COVID-19 made building the LNG Project difficult. We began to assess options and analyzed strategic alternatives that could make an LNG Project more compatible in the future with a changing environment. The main option analyzed was a floating LNG vessel in the same Nova Scotia location.

Early in 2022, we became witness to rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine which placed global energy security of supply front and centre. Pieridae’s project could provide potential solutions to help alleviate supply issues, including of a net zero emissions floating LNG facility.

The first step is ensuring Pieridae has an investment partner.

AER Shell Licence Transfer
On January 31, 2022, Shell and Pieridae filed a request with the Alberta Energy Regulator (“AER”) to withdraw the licence transfer application for the Foothills assets from Shell to Pieridae. The AER approved the request.

After changes to AER regulations late in 2021, both Shell and Pieridae decided to revise the application and plan to resubmit at a future date under the new regulatory framework. Pieridae continues to own the Foothills Assets and has responsibility for their continued safe operation. Shell remains the licensee of record.

COVID-19 Response
Many companies have or are incorporating plans to have their employees return to work for what may be the other side of the pandemic. At Pieridae, we have followed provincial guidelines since COVID became an issue in the spring of 2020. With the Government of Alberta lifting the vast majority of restrictions, early March saw the beginning of a return to the work environment at Pieridae.

The company feels it is important to restart both culture building and in-person collaboration. Being able to see each other face to face is the best way to accomplish both goals.

Employees and contractors deserve recognition for adjusting to a sometimes extremely difficult work environment over the last two years. Pieridae navigated its way through the COVID quagmire without suffering any significant loss of productivity, and in many instances thriving. A tangible example of this was a pair of large turnarounds, which are planned maintenance shutdowns, at two of our gas complexes: Jumping Pound and Caroline. Both were safely completed very close to budget and on time and that took a significant amount of planning and effort.

Throughout this significant work, Pieridae successfully maintained its focus on safety, as evidenced by total reportable injury frequency (“TRIF”) of 0.26 as compared to an annual target of 0.34 and 2020 annual TRIF of 0.34.

2021 Developments

New Chief Operating Officer Hired
On April 1 2021, the Company hired an industry veteran with senior level experience operating complex sour gas assets as its new COO, someone well positioned to take full advantage of the opportunities Pieridae’s assets offer. Professional engineer Darcy Reding brought 30+ years of experience to the role along with a proven track record.

“We needed someone with a proven record of building a resource base and economically bringing on new reserves that will be critical to filling our gas plants and delivering long-term success,” said Pieridae CEO Alfred Sorensen. “Darcy has previously managed a billion-dollar multi-year program to successfully grow production volumes.”

Exploring the Feasibility of a Large-Scale Carbon Capture and Storage Project
On May 27, 2021, we announced our intent to explore the feasibility of developing a Caroline Carbon Capture Power Complex. This large-scale carbon capture and sequestration and blue power production complex would be located at Pieridae’s Caroline Gas Complex in Alberta. The Caroline opportunity has the potential to capture and store underground up to three million tonnes of CO2 annually from the gas processing facility, power production and third parties. The underground depleted gas reservoir that would store the carbon has enough capacity to sequester up to 100 million tonnes of CO2 over three-plus decades.

Our goal in 2022 is to conduct an updated feasibility study for the project. If the concept makes sense, it would be a key part of our carbon management plan which we also aim to develop and deliver this year. That plan would be aligned with our ongoing ESG work.

Pieridae Releases its Inaugural ESG Report
On June 22, 2021, we were excited to announce the publishing of Pieridae Energy’s inaugural ESG Report. This report is the continuation of our sustainability journey to demonstrate Pieridae’s commitment to achieving an authentic ESG outcome through caring deeply about what we stand for as a Company, and by responding to our stakeholders’ needs and concerns.

“A commitment to ESG has been a big part of Pieridae Energy throughout our history,” said Pieridae’s Chief Executive Officer Alfred Sorensen. “It wasn’t always called ESG, of course, but we have consistently built respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples, communities and other stakeholders as well as focusing on meeting and exceeding environmental regulatory and governance standards. It’s been that way from the beginning of this Company, shaped by a strong framework of responsible governance.”

Updated Credit Agreement Reached With TEC
On January 4, 2022, Pieridae announced it had reached an agreement with its senior secured lender, Third Eye Capital Corporation, to extend payment of the $50 million term loan deferred fee and to amend certain other terms and covenants of the Credit Agreement first signed with TEC in October of 2019, related to the purchase of Shell’s Foothills assets.

Under the updated terms of the Credit Agreement, the $50 million deferred fee is now incorporated as part of the overall loan due on October 16, 2023. However, the deferred fee will not accrue interest while outstanding. Additionally, certain other modifications to the Credit Agreement were negotiated, including the continued waiver of the requirement to hedge 60% production on an 18-month rolling basis, through the end of February 2022. This allowed Pieridae to take better advantage of stronger commodity prices.

Reserves

Highlights
Pieridae’s net PDP reserve volumes at December 31, 2021 are 131.3 MMboe, an increase of 3% year over year. Economic factors, led by price forecast increases partially offset by higher operating and capital maintenance assumptions, contributed 12.4 MMboe of the year-over-year increase, resource acquisitions contributed 1.3 MMboe and technical revisions a further 4.7 MMboe, offset by production during 2021 of 14.8 MMboe.

Total net 1P reserve volumes were 202.6 MMboe, an increase of 15% compared to the prior year. The increase is primarily due to the addition of proved undeveloped drilling locations, offset by 2021 production and economic truncations from higher operating and capital maintenance assumptions. Pieridae’s total net 2P reserve volumes were 269.2 MMboe, an increase of 13% compared to the prior year with increases primarily due to the addition of proved plus probable undeveloped drilling locations, offset by 2021 production and economic truncations from higher operating and capital maintenance assumptions.

Pieridae added eight new gross proved undeveloped reserve locations (“PUD”s) and eight new gross proved plus probable reserve locations (“P+PUD”s) in 2021, for a total of 26 and 28 respective gross undeveloped drilling locations. Total undiscounted future development capital included in our reserve estimate is $300.8 million 1P and $ $439.1 million 2P.

The Company's 2P reserves as at December 31, 2021 were estimated to have a pre-tax net present value of $1,002.1 million using a 10% discount rate, compared to $976.1 million in the prior year. The increase in value was primarily due to higher commodity price forecasts and additional, undeveloped drilling locations, partially offset by modifications to certain operating cost, capital maintenance and royalty assumptions.

2021 Independent Reserves Evaluation
The following tables are based on the Reserves Report prepared by Deloitte, an independent qualified reserves evaluator, effective as of December 31, 2021 and dated and prepared as of March 14, 2022 (the “Deloitte Reserves Report”). The tables show the estimated share of Pieridae’s oil, natural gas and NGL reserves in its properties and the present value of estimated future net revenue for these reserves, after provision for Alberta gas cost allowance, using forecast price and cost assumptions. The Deloitte Reserves Report was prepared in accordance with the standards included in the COGE Handbook and NI 51-101.

Stated reserves are company gross basis (working interest before deduction of royalties without the inclusion of any royalty interest) unless otherwise noted. In addition to the information disclosed in this news release, more detailed information will be included in the corporation’s AIF for the year ended December 31, 2021.

Reserve Volume
The corporation was able to protect base production throughout the year due to optimization and maintenance programs, the results of which provide one of the lowest corporate declines amongst our peers. These relatively low-cost investments generated attractive rates of return and significantly improved our already low production decline. Key optimization projects included plunger lift optimization and liquid loading mitigation in the wellbore, and gas compression optimization at surface.


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