Vermilion Energy Inc. (TO: VET) has provided interim operating and unaudited financial results for the three months and year ended Dec. 31.
Recorded average production was 37,803 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2012, an increase of 7% as compared to 35,202 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011. Fourth quarter 2012 production remained relatively flat at 36,265 barrels of oil equivalent per day compared to 36,546 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 3Q 2012 and 36,654 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 4Q 2011. Fourth quarter production was lower than capability due to the shut-in of certain dry gas production in Canada with the objective of securing higher sales prices for this product in the future, and was modestly reduced by downtime associated with both planned and unplanned platform maintenance activities in Australia. The increase in annual production volumes is largely attributable to strong growth in Cardium light oil production in Canada and incremental Brent-based crude production associated with the first of two France acquisitions completed by Vermilion in 2012.
Generated fund flows from operations (FFO) of C $557.7 million (C $5.69 per share) for full year 2012, compared to C $474.3 million (C $5.22 per share) in 2011. Fourth quarter 2012 FFO was C $141.7 million (C $1.43 per share), compared to C $137.1 million (C $1.39 per share) in 3Q 2012 and C $136.9 million (C $1.46 per share) in 4Q 2011. Fourth quarter and full year 2012 FFO was adversely affected by the timing of shipments which resulted in combined France and Australia crude oil inventory builds of 260,000 barrels of oil and 215,000 barrels of oil, respectively.
The company closed 2012 with net debt of C $677.2 million and a net debt to 2012 FFO ratio of 1.2 times.
The company achieved significant growth in Cardium light oil production which averaged more than 7,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2012, doubling from 2011 average production of 3,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Vermilion continues to advance its Cardium light oil play, participating in the drilling of 72 (51.6 net) wells during the year. Improvements in well design and completions, including the implementation of water- based fracture technologies, multi-well pad drilling, and extended horizontal sections, have resulted in a meaningful reduction in well costs from more than C $5 million per section at the start of development to C $3 million per section in 4Q 2012.
The company increased it exposure to Brent-based crude oil production through the completion of two acquisitions in France. In January 2012, the company acquired certain working interests in six producing fields in the Paris and Aquitaine basins, which added more than 2,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of incremental production volumes. In December 2012, Vermilion completed a further acquisition of approximately 850 barrels of oil equivalent per day of 100% working interest light Brent-based crude oil production in the Paris Basin. Both of these transactions were characterized by strong acquisition metrics and were comprised of assets well aligned to Vermilion's pre-existing French operations, further strengthening the company's position as the leading oil producer in France.
In Ireland, Corrib tunneling activities related to completion of its 9-km onshore pipeline project commenced in late December 2012. Tunneling, construction and installation activities, commissioning and start-up are anticipated to take approximately two years to complete. The project is anticipated to produce first gas in late 2014 or early 2015 and to reach peak production levels in mid-2015.
In 2012, Vermilion announced a significant position in the emerging Duvernay liquids-rich natural gas resource play. The company has currently assembled 270 net sections of largely contiguous lands, diversified across the breadth of the liquids-rich natural gas fairway, at a cost of C $74 million or C $425 per acre. During 2012, the company completed two vertical appraisal wells and has completed a third vertical appraisal well subsequent to year-end. Vermilion's Duvernay rights underlie the company's existing Cardium and Mannville development projects, providing the potential to leverage existing company infrastructure and to generate timing, operational and infrastructure cost advantages.
An independent reserve assessment completed by GLJ Petroleum Consultants Ltd. with an effective date of Dec. 31, resulted in an increase of 9.1% in total proved (1P) reserves to 105.3 million barrels of oil equivalent, while total proved plus probable ("2P) reserves increased 12.7% to 164.9 million barrels of oil equivalent.
An independent resource assessment completed by GLJ with an effective date of Dec. 31, indicate a best estimate for contingent and prospective resources of 160.9 million barrels of oil equivalent and 249.4 million barrels of oil equivalent, respectively. Reserve life index increased to 12.5 years for 2P reserves and 8.0 years for 1P reserves based on year-end 2012 reserves estimates and annualized 4Q 2012 production.
Vermilion announced the board of directors’ approval of a 5.3% increase in the monthly cash dividend to C $0.20 per share. This was the second increase since initiating a dividend 10 years ago. The company has never reduced its dividend. The increase became effective for the January 2013 dividend paid on Feb. 15.
Vermilion ranked first in its peer group for total shareholder return for the year ending Dec. 31. The company generated a positive total return to investors of 19.6% for the year, compared to a peer group average of negative 18.1%. Over the past five years, Vermilion has generated a compound annualized rate of return of 13.1%, compared to a peer group average of 6.2%.
Vermilion Energy Ltd. is an international oil and gas producer based in Calgary.