"It is no secret that commodity prices were the key drivers for Cabot and many of its peers reporting such robust results," stated Dan O. Dinges, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Even with a portion of the upside hedged away, the cash generated provided funding for Cabot's largest ever organic capital program."
For the full year, natural gas price realizations were $6.74 per Mcf, compared to $5.20 per Mcf in 2004. The Company also experienced an increase in oil prices, recording $44.19 per barrel in 2005 versus $31.55 per barrel in 2004. "Expense inflation occurs as the industry reacts to higher prices by increasing its activity levels and its demand for services," commented Dinges. "In 2005, our expenses increased over 2004, with the largest percent increases coming from exploration expense, stock compensation, and other taxes."
For the year, Cabot reported 84.4 Bcfe of production, down less than one percent versus 2004's 84.8 Bcfe. "Deferred volumes the last four months of the year from hurricanes Katrina and Rita are estimated at 1.4 Bcfe," said Dinges. "This highlights how close we are in transitioning to and establishing a growing production profile from an organic program." Dinges added, "Reinforcing this point are two important facts: (1) we continue to grow our natural gas production, and (2) our equivalent fourth quarter 2005 production volumes increased versus the comparable quarter in 2004."
The Company set a new quarterly high in the fourth quarter of 2005, reporting net income of $58.5 million, or $1.20 per share, compared to $32.2 million, or $.66 per share, in 2004. Quarterly cash flow comparisons were just as robust, with cash flow from operations of $117.4 million, more than doubling last year's figure of $57.1 million, and discretionary cash flow of $119.3 million, up 44 percent. Higher realized prices and production more than offset the increase in expense levels.
The selected items that impacted the quarter and full year earnings figures, but had no impact on cash flow related items, included a gain on sale of assets, an unrealized change in derivative fair value, and an impairment of oil and gas properties in the 2004 full year period. Taking these into account the net income comparison for 2005 versus 2004 is $144.3 million, or $2.95 per share, versus $91.8 million, or $1.88 per share. The quarter comparison for net income is $53.1 million, or $1.09 per share, and $25.3 million, or $.52 per share.
Long-term debt increased over last year as the Company used its credit facility to fund about $70 million in acquisitions. During the course of the year, but predominately in the fourth quarter, the Company repurchased 452,300 shares of its common stock at a weighted average purchase price of $42.41. "With the inherent value in Cabot's capital program, we recommenced buying shares in late November and early December with the market pull back," stated Dinges. "We still see a lot of merit and long-term value for the shareholders in looking at COG stock as an investment alternative."
Cabot increased reserves by 10.7% in 2005, bringing year-end total proved reserves to 1,330.9 Bcfe -- the highest level ever for the Company. To accomplish this, Cabot grew reserves in each of its operating regions and replaced 252% of 2005 production. The Company's 2005 drilling program added 187.9 Bcfe, a limited acquisition program added 20.1 Bcfe, and the Company had a 4.9 Bcfe positive revision. The all-in finding cost was $1.91 per Mcfe.
"With the high demand for materials and services in our industry and the resulting inflationary pressure we have experienced during the year, I am very pleased with our overall reserve and finding cost for 2005," said Dinges. "I am particularly happy with the drilling only finding cost of $1.77 per Mcfe, while replacing 223% of production. I should add that these figures reflect a proven, undeveloped (PUD) component consistent with historical levels."
For 2006, Cabot once again is expanding its drilling program. "We have secured the rigs necessary to complete our program, a program that focuses on more development activity and less risk," said Dinges. "The current forecasted activity level calls for 391 wells, with increased activity in each region including expanded drilling on each of the acquisition plays purchased in 2005."
Given the current outlook on prices and the hedge philosophy for 2006 of wide range collars, Cabot is well positioned to participate more fully in any up market for 2006 commodity prices. On a weighted average basis, Cabot's natural gas collars range from $8.25 to $12.74 per Mcf while its oil collar ranges from $50.00 to $76.00 per barrel. These derivatives cover 34% of anticipated 2006 equivalent production.
Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation, headquartered in Houston, Texas is a leading North American exploration and production independent. The Company's reserves are focused in both conventional and unconventional basins including the East, the West (Rocky Mountain and Mid-Continent), the Gulf Coast (South and East Texas to North Louisiana) and Canada.
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