With American Energy Buy, Gulfport Grows Utica Footprint

With its second announcement of a Utica acreage buy this year, Gulfport Energy Corp. is distinguishing itself as a company that can increase its offerings without endangering its cash flow.

This week, the Oklahoma City-based company revealed its plan to buy 35,325 net acres from American Energy-Utica LLC for $407 million, which parses down to $9,500 per acre after lifting costs. The assets are located in Monroe, Belmont and Jefferson counties and feature production of 14.6 million cubic feet per day,  18 drilled but uncompleted wells (DUC), a fully-constructed four-well pad location, plus an 11-mile gas gathering system. The deal is being funded with an equity offering, which analysts at Wells Fargo Securities said in a recent note will keep Gulfport’s balance sheet strong.

Its public offering of 10 million shares was priced Wednesday at $43.25 per share. By mid-morning, shares reached $44.33 each.

“The dry gas window will be of growing importance to the stock and should underpin solid growth and continued capital efficiency improvements as develop takes hold,” Well Fargo said. “Management likes what it has seen thus far and is consolidating acreage ahead of ramp and unveiling of dry gas type curve.”

Because the company is in the midst of an offering, Gulfport executives declined to discuss the deal with the media.

Gulfport’s appetite for Utica assets will improve the companies leverage metrics, Wells Fargo said when the firm upgraded the company’s stock to Outperform.


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