Sonde Resources Corp. announced today the release of its financial and operating results for the year ended December 31, 2010.
Financial and Operating Highlights
In Western Canada, Sonde focused capital activity on its extensive behind-pipe inventory, deploying $4.3 million to complete 12 re-entries (75% economic success rate) and 19 separate work-overs (100% economic success rate). At December 31, 2010, the Company had approximately 700 gross boe per day awaiting tie-in.
* On February 14, 2011, the Company entered into a hedge with a financial institution for 5,000 GJ/day for the period March 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 at $4.11 CAD/GJ against AECO monthly average index. In exchange for receiving the fixed price on the February 14 swap agreement, the Company sold a WTI NYMEX crude oil call option on 250 bbls per day at US$100 per bbl from March 1, 2011 through to December 31, 2012.
* Western Canada average daily production for the fourth quarter averaged 3,087 boe/d compared to 2,716 boe/d for the previous quarter. On a full year basis, average daily production was 2,870 boe/d in 2010 compared to 3,020 boe/d in 2009. The year-over-year decrease in volumes is primarily due to natural declines combined with minimal capital expenditures in 2010 imposed during the period the Company was under CCAA protection.
* The Company’s proved plus probable reserves were 10,171 MBOE at December 31, 2010 compared to 9,907 MBOE for the previous year. The increase was due to successful re-entries and work-overs in 2010.
*Petroleum and natural gas sales increased from $33.6 million in 2009 to $38.8 million in 2010. The increase is mainly due to increases in commodity prices and realized gains on an effective gas hedge.
*The increased loss in 2010 of $(98.0) million compared to the loss of $(53.3) million in 2009 is primarily due to an oil and gas ceiling test impairment and the writedown of the Liberty Natural Gas LNG Project (the “LNG Project”). The ceiling test impairment is due to lower natural gas pricing in the 2010 versus 2009 independent reserve report.
*During 2010, the Company incurred $30.9 million in North Africa on costs related to the drilling and testing of the Zarat-1 North appraisal well. The Company commenced drilling in November 2010 and completed drilling and production testing of the appraisal well in January 2011. The Company has temporarily abandoned the appraisal well in a manner allowing it to be utilized for future development purposes. The Company is currently evaluating the commercial development potential of the feature, as well as discussing unitization options with owners of an adjacent concession.
The Company is accounting for the following sales as discontinued operations which are reported on the Company’s balance sheet as Assets and Liabilities of Discontinued Operations. Our Statements of Operations only reflect our Western Canada, North Africa and corporate activities.
* On December 22, 2010, the Company entered into an agreement with Niko Resources Ltd. (“Niko”) to sell its remaining 25% interest in Block 5(c) and its MG Block exploration and production license for an aggregate purchase price of US$87.5 million. The purchase price is to be satisfied via US$75.5 million and the assumption of the Company’s performance guarantee provided for the MG Block of US$12.0 million. On February 8, 2011, as part of the agreement, the Company issued a US$20.0 million debenture to Niko. The debenture accrues interest at 6.0% per annum and is secured against the Company’s Block 5(c) interests. Upon closing of the agreement, the US$20.0 million will be applied against the proceeds of US$75.5 million. If the agreement does not close, the Company will be required to repay the US$20.0 million plus accrued interest to Niko. The closing of this agreement will result in the Company to reclaim US$20.0 million held as restricted cash with BG International Limited (“BG”) that was required under the CCAA Plan of Arrangement. The Niko sale agreement closing is subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions including approval from the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries. To date, the Company has not received the approval. (“Trinidad Sale”)
* On February 22, 2011, the Company completed the sale of Liberty Natural Gas LLC which owns a 100% working interest in the LNG Project to an entity related to West Face Capital Inc. The Company received US$1.0 million for reimbursable costs between January 1, 2011 and the date of closing. The Company is entitled to receive deferred cash consideration of US$12.5 million payable upon Liberty Natural Gas LLC’s first successful gas delivery. (“Liberty Sale”)
Business Overview and Future Strategy
The Company is focused on the maximization of long-term sustainable value to its shareholders by:
*Developing the Western Canada asset base to increase average daily production along with replacement of producing reserves on an economic and cost effective basis by exploitation, full-cycle exploration and strategic acquisition.
* The Company is currently evaluating its entire acreage position in anticipation of an aggressive, multi-year drilling program. Subject to the completion of the Trinidad Sale, we anticipate 2011 Western Canada capital expenditures to be approximately $34 million with near-term focus on the Drumheller and Kaybob core areas.
*Evaluating the commercial development potential of the feature associated with the Zarat-1 North appraisal well in North Africa, as well as discussing unitization options with owners of an adjacent concession as a result of drilling the appraisal well, and evaluating the recoverable reserve scenarios, development options and cost estimates for the field’s development.
Speaking today, Mr. Schanck, Sonde’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “The Company continues to monitor the Trinidad government approval progress as well as the political situation in North Africa while focusing on near term growth in Western Canada. Even with these two international setbacks from our plans, we will continue to monitor our cash position and intend to aggressively pursue our growth strategy and development of our assets as funds and circumstances permit.”
The Company also announced that the auditors’ report received from its independent public accounting firm on its audited financial statements for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2010 included in its Annual Report on Form 40-F filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on March 25, 2011, contained a going concern explanatory note. This uncertainty results from whether the Company will be able to close the sale of its Trinidad and Tobago assets in the near term. This announcement is required by Section 610(b) of the NYSE AMEX Company Guide, which requires a listed company that receives an audit opinion that contains a going concern qualification to make a public announcement of such.
About Sonde Resources
Sonde Resources Corp. is a Calgary, Alberta, Canada based diversified global energy company engaged in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas and in the development of a liquefied natural gas project. Its operations are located in Western Canada, offshore Trinidad and Tobago, and North Africa.
Source: MarkterWire, March 25, 2011;