The acquisition, effective Dec. 1, 2002, includes 135 producing wells and access to 849 square miles of 3-D seismic covering the relatively contiguous acreage position.
Apache President and CEO G. Steven Farris said, "In addition to adding more than 10 percent to our U.S. natural gas production, the acquisition gives us a significant opportunity to expand our U.S. drilling activity. We own 100 percent of both the mineral and surface rights on 212,000 of the acquired acres, improving the economics over a normal working-interest position. Couple that with the proximity to Henry Hub, which commands the highest netback gas prices in the country, and the current outlook for natural gas prices, and we have added potential for boosting our cash flow on increased gas production."
Apache allocated $195 million of the purchase price to proved reserves (approximately $1.10 per thousand feet of gas equivalent), $45 million to fee acreage and probable reserves, and $20 million to 3-D seismic data. The acquisition is additive to per-share cash flow and earnings. Apache has protected the economics of the transaction with "collar" hedges, which preserve the potential for significantly higher gas-price realizations. The purchase is financed with commercial paper with a current interest rate of under one and one-half percent. Apache's debt-to-capitalization is expected to end the year below 35 percent, including the acquisition.
The acquired acreage, located primarily in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes, provides immediate exploitation and exploration potential, with 23 prospects presently identified.
By making Apache the royalty owner, fee acreage affords the company the benefit of third-party prospect-generation ideas and low-cost reserve additions, along with significantly lower lease-operating expense.
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