Domestic energy explorer
Comstock Resources Inc.
) reported weak first quarter 2013 results, hamstrung by lower
operating cash flow and output.
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The predominantly natural gas-focused exploration and production
company reported adjusted loss per share of 48 cents in the
quarter, wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 44
cents. Comstock's performance also deteriorated considerably from
the year-ago adjusted loss of 27 cents per share.
Total revenue from continuing operations decreased 14.0% year
over year to $95.0 million, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate
of $117.0 million.
Comstock's quarterly volume contracted 26.8% year over year to
18.2 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe), of which 86% was
natural gas. The downtrend reflects output shrinkage from its
East Texas/North Louisiana operations that made up almost
three-fourths of the total volume.
Production in the East Texas/North Louisiana operating region
decreased 29.9% to 13.5 Bcfe (99% gas). Elsewhere, output from
the South Texas and Other properties came in at 4.2 Bcfe and 0.5
Average oil price realization (before hedging) was $105.82 per
barrel (versus $105.19 per barrel in the first quarter of 2012)
and average natural gas realization was $3.15 per thousand cubic
feet/Mcf (compared with $2.61 per Mcf in the year-earlier
Costs & Expenses
Gathering and transportation costs and lease operating costs came
in at $4.2 million (down 45.5% year over year) and $13.2 million
(down 1.9%) respectively, while total operating expenses
increased 3.5% over the first quarter of 2012 to $115.9 million.
Cash Flow & EBITDAX
Comstock generated operating cash flow from continuing operations
of $73.8 million, reflecting a decrease of 36.7% from the
year-earlier quarter. EBITDAX (earnings before interest, taxes,
depreciation, depletion, amortization, exploration expense and
other non-cash expenses) was almost flat year over year at $72.5
Capital Expenditure & Balance Sheet
During the first quarter of 2013, Comstock spent $53.8 million on
exploration/development drilling activities. As of Mar 31, 2013,
Comstock had approximately $6.8 million in cash and cash
equivalents and $1,335.0 million in long-term debt.
Debt-to-capitalization at the end of the quarter was 59.7%.
Comstock currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), implying that
it is expected to perform in line with the broader U.S. equity
market over the next one to three months.
Meanwhile, there are certain other exploration and production
companies in the energy sector that are expected to perform
better in the short term. These include Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong
EPL Oil & Gas Inc.
Harvest Natural Resources Inc.
McMoRan Exploration Co.