EPL Oil & Gas, Inc. (EPL or the Company) announced it has executed a purchase and sale agreement to acquire certain shallow water Gulf of Mexico (GOM) shelf oil and natural gas interests from Hilcorp Energy GOM Holdings, LLC (Hilcorp) for $550 million.
The assets are currently producing approximately 10,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe) per day, about 50% of which are oil. Estimated proved reserves as of the July 1, 2012 economic effective date totaled approximately 36.3 million boe, 54% of which are oil. The properties include three fields that Hilcorp had acquired from Chevron Corporation in Ship Shoal Block 208, South Pass 78, and South Marsh Island 239, which are all on the Central GOM shelf in the vicinity of EPL’s existing core field areas. These three fields account for 64% of the current proved reserves, and approximately 82% of the total proved acquisition PV10 value estimated at $626 million using strip prices as of August 31, 2012 (see discussion of PV10 in appendix). The currently estimated asset retirement obligation to be assumed by EPL in the acquisition is expected to total approximately $120 million.
Gary Hanna, EPL’s President and CEO commented, “This is the fourth acquisition we have made since 2011, and it is the most transformational. This accretive acquisition provides scale and diversification while continuing to focus the value of our Company in the Central gulf, which is the most prolific, oil bearing region of the GOM. These underdeveloped, legacy Chevron assets allow us to leverage our proven strengths as an efficient exploiter of shallow water shelf assets.
The high operating control of 95% will permit us timely access to the development opportunities that exist on these properties. There are already over 90 low-risk, oil-rich shallow behind pipe and drilling opportunities, as well as numerous optimization projects that our operational teams will vigorously pursue. Meanwhile, as our successful strategy has demonstrated with prior acquisitions, we will apply our proven regional knowledge and technical skills to identify and exploit the upside potential of these acquired properties in short order.”
Gary Hanna continued, “This transaction nearly doubles our proved reserves to approximately 74 million boe. Additionally, it drives our production above 20,000 boe per day, supports EBITDAX generation in 2013 in the range of $450 million to $500 million and is very accretive to our key operational and valuation metrics. This transformational acquisition fits all of our acquisition criteria.”
In conjunction with signing the purchase and sale agreement, EPL will add to its crude oil and natural gas hedge positions to provide downside protection. The Company is planning to hedge 80% of the forecasted proved producing oil and natural gas production of the assets being acquired for years 2013 through 2015, with 2013 hedges scheduled to be secured early this week representing approximately 80% of forecasted proved production. Approximately 50% of EPL’s existing oil production is hedged for 2013.
In addition to utilizing cash on hand to finance the purchase, EPL has obtained committed financing from Bank of Montreal to complete the transaction, including an increase in its senior secured credit facility from $250 million to $750 million. The borrowing base under this expanded credit facility has been increased from $200 million to $450 million in conjunction with the acquisition. Additionally, Bank of Montreal and BMO Capital Markets have provided the Company a commitment for $200 million in the form of a senior unsecured bridge loan, which is expected to remain unutilized as the Company plans to access the high yield market for permanent financing before the anticipated closing date in late October.
The purchase is subject to customary closing conditions and adjustments. Hilcorp has indicated to EPL that this sale represents their exit from the GOM shelf. The economic effective date is July 1, 2012, with closing expected by October 31, 2012. EPL has submitted a 10 percent cash deposit to Hilcorp under the terms of the purchase agreement.
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Royal Dutch Shell plc announced it has agreed to sell its 50% working interest in the Holstein Field, comprised of Green Canyon Blocks 644, 645 and 688 in the Gulf of Mexico, to Plains Exploration & Production (PXP) for approximately $560 million, subject to closing.
Shell received an unsolicited offer from PXP for Shell’s working interest. The transaction is effective October 1, 2012 and is expected to close by year-end 2012.
Holstein is a mature deepwater asset and the sale is consistent with Shell’s continuing practice of reviewing our existing portfolio and evaluating new opportunities.
The Holstein Unit is centered on a spar platform anchored in 1350 meters (4400 feet) water depth and first produced in December 2004. Shell’s 50% interest represents about two percent of the company’s overall Gulf of Mexico net production and had a 30-day net average production of 7.4 kboe/d prior to Hurricane Isaac.
Shell retains a major Gulf of Mexico presence and is a leading deepwater producer. The company recently noted three successful appraisal wells at the Appomattox and Vito fields, which are expected to begin producing in the second half of the decade.