Weston County, Wyoming (N. Cheyenne Project)
In 2014, we acquired the right to earn approximately 49,000 gross acres (44,000 net acres with a 90% to 100% working interest) in Weston County, Wyoming. In 2015, we began drilling the first of three successful wells in this area targeting the Muddy Sandstone formation; the third of which was completed in the first quarter of 2016. Based on current results, a sustained improvement in oil prices will be needed to justify allocation of drilling capital to this area compared to our Southern Delaware Basin position. As a result of drilling these wells, we have satisfied the right to earn the 35,000 net acres (approximately 4% of which is held by production).
Sublette County, Wyoming (Exaro Energy III)
Our wholly-owned subsidiary, Contaro Company (“Contaro”), owns a 37% ownership interest in Exaro. As of December 31, 2017, we had invested approximately $46.9 million in Exaro, with no anticipation of making any additional equity contributions, as our commitment to invest in Exaro expired on March 31, 2017. We account for Contaro’s ownership in Exaro using the equity method of accounting, and therefore, do not include its share of individual operating results, reserves or production in those reported for our consolidated results.
As of December 31, 2017, Exaro had 645 wells on production over its 5,760 gross acres (1,040 net acres), with a working interest between 2.4% and 32.5%. These wells were producing at a rate of approximately 26 Mmcfe/d, net to Exaro. The operator of these interests has applied for multiple drilling permits for horizontal wells that will be located on parts of our acreage. Exaro’s working interest in the drilling spacing units for the applied for horizontal wells ranges from 1% to 6%. As of December 31, 2017, the operator has been approved to drill two horizontal wells, in which Exaro has a net working interest of 2.4%. For the year ended December 31, 2017, the Company recognized a net investment gain of approximately $2.7 million, net of no tax expense, as a result of its investment in Exaro. As of December 31, 2017, reserves attributable to our investment in Exaro were 30.7 Bcfe. See Note 10 to our Financial Statements - “Investment in Exaro Energy III LLC” for additional details related to this investment.
Natrona County, Wyoming
We spud our first well targeting the Mowry Shale in 2015, which proved to be unsuccessful. As a result, we recognized $6.7 million in exploration expenses for the cost of drilling the well for the year ended December 31, 2016 and $2.9 million in impairment expense in 2016 related to our unproved acreage in Natrona County, Wyoming. No drilling activity was conducted in this area in 2017.
Wyoming Metrics (Excluding Exarro)
|Proved Reserves @ 12/31/16||
|% Natural Gas||
|Productive Wells (gross/net)||
3 / 2.4
|Developed Acreage (gross/net)||
2,078 / 1,710
|Undeveloped Acreage (gross/net)||
62,577 / 40,792
|2016 Average Daily Production (Mmcfe)||1.8|
|Key Operated Field(s):|
|N. Cheyenne Project|
|Muddy Sandstone, Mowry Shale|