Cabot tops list of Marcellus operators: Baird
Houston, 7 March (Argus) — Cabot Oil & Gas, EQT and Consol Energy are at the top of a list of the most productive operators in the Marcellus shale in Appalachia, according to private equity firm Baird Equity Research.
Baird's analysis ranks operators based on consistency and the magnitude of productivity and revenue changes over the past two years. The rankings do not indicate which operator produces more. The analysis is intended to provide insight into recent trends and indicators on future productivity.
In Baird's analysis, an index value of 100 indicates that an operator increased its productivity per average well by $100,000/month, or an increase in revenue of $2.4mn over the two-year period.
Cabot, the top ranked operator, had an index value of 221 with average revenue increase of $5.1mn/well. EQT ranks second at 163 with $3.8mn/well and Consol is third at 102 with $ 2.7mn/well.
Cabot last month said it plans to spend $950mn on capital expenditures this year and will operate three rigs and employ two completion crews in the Marcellus. Cabot will soon have increased takeaway for its output on the 1.7 Bcf/d (48mn m³/d) Atlantic Sunrise pipeline, and through a deal to sell 338mn cf/d through the Cove Point LNG terminal. Cabot's fourth quarter production sales volumes reached 1.77 Bcf/d.
EQT recently became the largest gas producer in the US by volume, unseating ExxonMobil, after it acquired Rice Energy late last year. EQT expects to bring its 1.9 Bcf/d Mountain Valley pipeline project and a related expansion of its Equitrans line into service in the fourth quarter. EQT's fourth quarter output topped 3.2 Bcf/d.
All of the Marcellus producers analyzed by Baird had an increase in productivity over the past two years. Conversely, all operators in the nearby Utica shale had a decline in productivity.
Chesapeake Energy topped the firm's Utica shale list, with an index value of negative six, showing the smallest downward trend. Chesapeake had an average gross revenue per well of $1.8mn.