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. During the fourth quarter of 2014, we sold a 20% working interest in this prospect to an independent oil and gas company, reducing our potential ownership to approximately 35,000 net acres with a 72% to 80% working interest. 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). We do not anticipate devoting any capital to this area in 2017.
Sublette County, Wyoming (Exaro Energy III)
Our wholly-owned subsidiary, Contaro Company (“Contaro”), owns a 37% ownership interest in Exaro. As of December 31, 2016, we had invested approximately $46.9 million in Exaro. We do not anticipate making any equity contributions during 2017, as our commitment to invest in Exaro expires 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, 2016, Exaro had 645 wells on production over its 5,760 gross acres (1,040 net acres), with a working interest between 14.6% and 32.5%. These wells were producing at a rate of approximately 29.7 Mmcfe/d, net to Exaro. Due to the current natural gas prices, the operator does not expect to have any drilling rigs running on this project during 2017. For the year ended December 31, 2016, the Company recognized a net investment gain of approximately $1.5 million, net of no tax expense, as a result of its investment in Exaro. As of December 31, 2016, reserves attributable to our investment in Exaro were 32.6 Bcfe.
Natrona County, Wyoming
In 2014, we acquired the right to earn acreage in Natrona County, Wyoming and spud our first well targeting the Mowry Shale. This well 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, 2015 and $2.9 million in impairment expense in 2016 related to our unproved acreage in Natrona County, Wyoming.
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|