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Perpetual Energy Inc. Releases Third Quarter 2012 Financial and Operating Results

CALGARY, Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - (TSX:PMT) - Perpetual Energy Inc. ("Perpetual" or the "Corporation") is pleased to release its financial and operating results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012. A copy of Perpetual's unaudited interim consolidated financial statements and related notes and management's discussion and analysis for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011 can be obtained through the Corporation's website at www.perpetualenergyinc.com and SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

THIRD QUARTER SUMMARY

Perpetual continued to execute effectively on its top priorities for 2012, which include:

  1. Profitable capital investment in two chosen proven diversifying growth strategies to increase oil and natural gas liquids ("NGL") production;
  2. Debt reduction;
  3. Advancing the assessment and value of high impact, longer term resource opportunities with risk-managed investment; and
  4. Managing downside risks related to commodity price volatility.

Capital Activity

  • The Corporation executed a $17.9 million capital program focused primarily on heavy oil exploration and development in the Mannville area of eastern Alberta. Operational results continue to be positive, and development activity in this area will continue in the fourth quarter and throughout 2013.

  • In the Mannville area, Perpetual drilled 12 (11.3 net) horizontal oil wells, 10 of which are currently on production. Two wells penetrated new heavy oil pools which are still being evaluated.

  • The capital program included $2.5 million to complete two (2.0 net) Wilrich natural gas wells (1 vertical and 1 horizontal) drilled in late 2011 and the first quarter of 2012.

  • Fourth quarter capital spending will be focused on continued development at Edson and West Edson, with plans to drill up to four (2.5 net) Wilrich gas wells and the tie-in of the horizontal well completed in the third quarter.

  • Perpetual has a 50 percent working interest in 78 sections of Montney liquids-rich natural gas-prone lands at Elmworth in west central Alberta. During the third quarter Perpetual participated in the drilling of one vertical well (0.5 net). The drilling operation was finished in October 2012 at a total cost of $1.8 million net to Perpetual.

Acquisitions and Dispositions

  • Net cash proceeds from dispositions increased to $16.2 million from $7.0 million for the third quarter in 2011. Dispositions included non-core natural gas assets in northeast Alberta, shut-in gas over bitumen reserves, and the strategic sale of a portion of a heavy oil pool in the Mannville area to help advance the development of an enhanced oil recovery scheme. Total gains on sale of $7.3 million were recorded in earnings for these dispositions.

  • Perpetual further enhanced financial flexibility with the disposition of non-core oil and gas properties for $16.2 million during the period, reducing net debt by $7.0 million for the quarter. Net debt decreased by $132.0 million in the first nine months of the year to $394.9 million at September 30, 2012.

Production and Pricing

  • The positive effects of Perpetual's commodity diversification strategy are evident as oil and NGL production represented 17.6 percent of total actual production in the third quarter of 2012 (16.4 percent for the first nine months) as compared to 8.8 percent and 7.6 percent for the respective periods in 2011.

  • Oil and NGL production volumes increased 67 percent from the third quarter of 2011, and 90 percent on a nine-month basis, due primarily to ongoing development of the Corporation's heavy oil pools at Mannville, partially offset by the reduction in oil production linked to the heavy oil pool strategic partnership, and reduced NGL volumes related to property dispositions in the West Central district in the first quarter and a facility turnaround at Edson. Heavy oil production in the Mannville area has been maintained at over 2,600 bbl/d for two consecutive quarters, despite the sale of 150 bbl/d of production effective July 1, 2012.

  • Natural gas production volumes decreased 24 percent to 93.7 MMcf/d from 123.5 MMcf/d for the third quarter of 2011 and decreased 21 percent for the nine month period, primarily due to property dispositions combined with the preferential allocation of capital to heavy oil production over the past year, which led to a decline in natural gas production in favor of bringing higher priced heavy oil onstream. Approximately 4.2 MMcfe/d of oil and natural gas production was lost during the quarter due to voluntary shut-ins at higher operating cost fields and a facility turnaround at Edson in west central Alberta.

  • Total actual and deemed production decreased 15 percent to 139.7 MMcfe/d from 165.3 MMcfe/d for the comparative quarter in 2011, as reduced natural gas production from property dispositions combined with natural declines were partially offset by increasing oil and NGL production. For the nine month period actual and deemed production decreased 10 percent compared to 2011. The properties disposed of in the first nine months of 2012 were producing approximately 10.9 MMcf/d of natural gas and 735 bbl/d of oil and NGL (15.3 MMcfe/d) at the dates of disposition.

  • Total production and operating costs decreased to $20.7 million for the third quarter of 2012 from $22.5 million for the same period in 2011, due primarily to reduced labour costs and dispositions, including the disposition of 90 percent of Perpetual's gas storage business, Warwick Gas Storage LP ("WGS LP"), effective April 25, 2012, partially offset by higher well suspension costs.  Unit operating costs increased to $1.98 per Mcfe and $1.83 per Mcfe for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 from $1.81 per Mcfe and $1.65 per Mcfe for comparative periods in 2011. Operating costs were higher on a unit-of-production basis as fixed operating costs for natural gas operations were higher relative to reduced natural gas production volumes, and operating costs associated with increasing heavy oil production in the Eastern district were higher relative to gas production operations.

  • Perpetual's realized gas prices decreased to $3.44 per Mcf and $3.28 per Mcf, respectively for the third quarter and first nine months of 2012 (2011 - $3.75 per Mcf and $3.98 per Mcf) due to lower AECO prices which averaged $2.19 per Mcf and $2.18 per Mcf for the three and nine month periods respectively (2011 - $3.72 per Mcf and $3.74 per Mcf). The impact of lower gas prices was largely offset by realized gains on derivatives of $9.4 million and $27.0 million respectively.

  • Perpetual's realized oil and NGL price decreased 15 percent to $59.63 per bbl from the third quarter 2011 as a result of wider heavy oil differentials, lower NGL prices and losses of $1.4 million on financial WTI contracts.

  • Perpetual realized a modest increase in commodity prices on a natural gas equivalent basis to $4.58 per Mcfe for the third quarter of 2012 as compared to $4.46 per Mcfe in the same period in 2011. This demonstrates that the Corporation's risk management and commodity diversification strategies are partially mitigating the negative impacts of reduced commodity prices as the percentage of higher priced oil and NGL production in Perpetual's production mix has grown.

Financial

  • Funds flow netbacks decreased 35 percent to $1.01 per Mcfe in the third quarter of 2012 from $1.56 per Mcfe in the comparable period for 2011, driven primarily by lower gas prices and production, partially offset by higher realized gains on derivatives, lower cash costs and a 67 percent increase in oil and NGL production.

  • Funds flow declined to $10.8 million ($0.07 per common share) from $19.3 million ($0.13 per common share) for the third quarter of 2011.  Funds flow for the nine month period totaled $37.9 million ($0.26 per common share) as compared to $61.1 million ($0.41 per common share) for the first nine months of 2011. The decrease was caused primarily by lower natural gas revenues, partially offset by higher oil and NGL production, realized gains on derivatives, and a decrease in royalties and general and administrative expenses.

  • The Corporation reported a net loss of $6.2 million ($0.04 per basic and diluted common share) for the three months ended September 30, 2012 as compared to a net loss of $24.3 million ($0.17 per basic and diluted common share) for the 2011 period. The lower net loss was primarily a result of the reclassification of $28.5 million in gas over bitumen royalty adjustments to revenue in the quarter and gains on property dispositions of $7.3 million, partially offset by an unrealized loss on derivatives of $21.0 million.

  • Net earnings for the first nine months of 2012 increased to $6.7 million ($0.05 per basic and diluted common share) from a loss of $57.2 million ($0.39 per basic and diluted common share) in 2011 as a result of the gain on WGS LP of $40.8 million and the reclassification of gas over bitumen adjustments to revenue.

  • Net debt decreased 25 percent or $132.0 million over the first nine months of 2012, as a result of continued success on Perpetual's asset disposition program. Net debt to trailing four quarters' funds flow increased to 8.0 times for the three months ended September 30, 2012 compared to 7.2 times for the quarter ended December 31, 2011, primarily due a decrease in funds flows for the trailing four quarters driven by lower natural gas prices.

Subsequent Events

  • Subsequent to the reporting date, the Corporation entered into contracts to offset 64,250 GJ/d of fixed price sales contracts for November and December 2012 with purchases at an average price of $3.24 per GJ, crystallizing a gain of $0.6 million.

Outlook and Sensitivities

The Board of Directors has approved a $10 million expansion to the capital spending budget for the fourth quarter of 2012 to $16.4 million, bringing total capital spending to $75 million for 2012. Spending will be focused primarily on Wilrich drilling in the Edson area, where operations are underway to drill up to four (2.5 net) liquids-rich natural gas wells to further delineate the West Edson and Edson South Wilrich trends.

The Corporation has risk management contracts in place for approximately 40 percent of estimated actual plus deemed natural gas production for the fourth quarter of 2012 at an average price of $2.96 per GJ and 11 percent of projected 2013 actual plus deemed natural gas production at an average price of $3.74 per GJ. Oil price management contracts are also in place to protect average WTI floor prices of $US84.25 for the fourth quarter of 2012 and $US88.00 for 2013 on 2,000 bbl/d of production.

The following sensitivity table reflects Perpetual's projected funds flow for the fourth quarter of 2012 at various commodity price levels. These sensitivities incorporate average daily production of 3,300 bbl/d of oil & NGL, 92 MMcf/d of natural gas, operating costs of $20 million, cash general and administrative expenses of $7 million and an interest rate on bank debt of 5.4 percent.

Projected funds flow, fourth quarter of 2012(2) ($millions)     AECO Gas Price (1) ($/GJ)
      $3.00 $3.25     $3.50 $4.00
WTI oil price $75.00 7 9     10 13
($US/bbl) $85.00 8 9     11 14
  $95.00 9 11     12 15
  $105.00 10 11     13 16
(1)     The current settled and forward average AECO and WTI prices for October to December
2012 as of November 9, 2012 were $2.85 per GJ and $US87.23 per bbl, respectively.
(2)     These are non-GAAP measures; see "Other non-GAAP measures" in management's
discussion and analysis.
     

For 2013 Perpetual's Board of Directors has approved a capital spending plan of up to $75 million which will be highly focused on continued development of heavy oil in the Mannville area of eastern Alberta and liquids-rich natural gas at Edson. The program incorporates a two rig development drilling program for Mannville heavy oil in the first quarter, but allows flexibility to manage spending in the second half of the year, to be focused either on Mannville heavy oil or at Edson depending on commodity prices.

The following table reflects Perpetual's projected funds flow for 2013 at various commodity price levels. These sensitivities incorporate monthly settlement of existing derivatives, average daily production of 4,100 bbl/d of oil and NGL, 82 MMcf/d of natural gas, operating costs of $86 million, cash general and administrative expenses of $24 million and an interest rate on bank debt of 5.4 percent.

Projected funds flow for 2013(2) ($ millions)     AECO Gas Price (1) ($/GJ)
                  $3.00         $3.25     $3.50 $4.00
WTI oil price (1)       $75.00         33         40     48 62
($US/bbl)       $85.00         38         45     52 67
        $95.00         41         48     55 70
        $105.00         47         54     61 76
(1)    The current forward average AECO and WTI prices for 2013 as of November 9,
2012 were $3.19 per GJ and $US 88.98 per bbl, respectively.
(2)    These are non-GAAP measures; see "Other non-GAAP measures" in
management's discussion and analysis.
   

Further to the above forecasts, Perpetual will continue to pursue additional dispositions in 2013, including the potential divestiture of its Elmworth Montney assets, and anticipates consummating additional disposition transactions in the first quarter of 2013.  Proceeds from the potential divestitures would be utilized to strengthen the balance sheet and to enhance the Corporation's ability to pursue further investment opportunities, depending upon the outlook for commodity prices at that time.

FirstEnergy/Societe Generale Energy Growth Conference

Perpetual also advises that management will be presenting at the FirstEnergy/Societe Generale Energy Growth Conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Toronto at 8:40 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, November 14, 2012. A copy of the presentation will be posted to Perpetual's website, www.perpetualenergyinc.com, shortly before the presentation and the webcast archive will also be accessible through the website following the presentation.

Forward-Looking Information

Certain information regarding Perpetual Energy in this news release including management's assessment of future plans and operations and including the information contained under the heading "Outlook and Sensitivities" above may constitute forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws. The forward-looking information includes, without limitation, statements regarding expected access to capital markets; prospective drilling activities; forecast production, production type, operations, funds flows, and timing thereof; forecast and realized commodity prices; expected funding, allocation and timing of capital expenditures; projected use of funds flow; planned drilling and development and the results thereof; expected dispositions and the use of proceeds therefrom; commodity prices; and estimated funds flow sensitivity. Various assumptions were used in drawing the conclusions or making the forecasts and projections contained in the forward-looking information contained in this press release, which assumptions are based on management analysis of historical trends, experience, current conditions, and expected future developments pertaining to Perpetual and the industry in which it operates as well as certain assumptions regarding the matters outlined above. Forward-looking information is based on current expectations, estimates and projections that involve a number of risks, which could cause actual results to vary and in some instances to differ materially from those anticipated by Perpetual and described in the forward looking information contained in this press release. Undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of performance and is subject to a number of risks or uncertainties, including without limitation those described under "Risk Factors" in Perpetual's MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2011 and those included in reports on file with Canadian securities regulatory authorities which may be accessed through the SEDAR website (www.sedar.com and at Perpetual's website www.perpetualenergyinc.com). Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of risk factors is not exhaustive. Forward-looking information is based on the estimates and opinions of Perpetual's management at the time the information is released and Perpetual disclaims any intent or obligation to update publicly any such forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, other than as expressly required by applicable securities laws.

Non-GAAP Measures

This news release contains financial measures that may not be calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in Canada ("GAAP"). Readers are referred to advisories and further discussion on non-GAAP measures contained in the "Significant Accounting Policies and non-GAAP Measures" section of management's discussion and analysis.

Perpetual Energy Inc. is a natural gas-focused Canadian energy company with a growing base of oil and NGL assets. Perpetual's shares and convertible debentures are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol "PMT", "PMT.DB.D" and "PMT.DB.E", respectively. Further information with respect to Perpetual can be found at its website at www.perpetualenergyinc.com.

The Toronto Stock Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the information contained herein.

FINANCIAL AND OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS       Three Months Ended September 30       Nine Months Ended September 30
($Cdn thousands except volume and per share amounts)       2012 2011 % Change       2012 2011 % Change
Financial                        
Revenue (1)       47,973 60,594 (21)       155,462 189,165 (18)
Funds flow (2)       10,760 19,318 (44)       37,929 61,093 (38)
  Per share (3)       0.07 0.13 (46)       0.26 0.41 (37)
Net earnings (loss)       (6,158) (24,343) (76)       6,701 (57,229) 113
  Per share - basic (3)       (0.04) (0.17) (76)       0.05 (0.39) 113
  Per share - diluted (3)       (0.04) (0.17) (76)       0.05 (0.39) 113
Total assets       802,094 1,013,923 (21)       802,094 1,013,923 (21)
Net bank debt outstanding (2)       84,925 120,304 (29)       84,925 120,304 (29)
Senior notes, at principal amount       150,000 150,000 -       150,000 150,000 -
Convertible debentures, at principal amount       159,972 234,897 (32)       159,972 234,897 (32)
Total net debt (2)       394,897 505,201 (22)       394,897 505,201 (22)
Shareholders' equity       88,233 118,093 (25)       88,233 118,093 (25)
Capital expenditures                        
  Exploration, development and gas storage       17,922 41,099 (56)       58,590 111,825 (48)
  Acquisitions, net of dispositions       (14,498) (1,996) (626)       (157,840) (31,207) (406)
  Other       44 289 (85)       197 491 (60)
  Net capital expenditures       3,468 39,392 (91)       (99,053) 81,109 (222)
Common Shares outstanding (thousands)                        
End of period       147,122 147,236 -       147,122 147,236 -
Weighted average       147,123 147,408 -       148,748 147,960 1
Shares outstanding at November 12, 2012       147,137           147,137    
Operating                        
Daily average production                        
  Natural gas (MMcf/d) (5)       93.7 123.5 (24)       104.1 131.3 (21)
  Oil and NGL (bbl/d) (5)       3,336 1,995 67       3,418 1,803 90
  Total (MMcfe/d) (5)       113.7 135.5 (16)       124.7 142.1 (12)
  Gas over bitumen deemed production (MMcf/d) (4)       26.0 29.8 (13)       27.0 26.1 3
  Average daily (actual and deemed - MMcfe/d) (4,5)       139.7 165.3 (15)       151.7 168.2 (10)
  Per common share (cubic feet equivalent/d/Share) (3)       0.95 1.12 (15)       1.02 1.14 (11)
Average prices                        
    Natural gas, before derivatives ($/Mcf)       2.36 3.56 (34)       2.33 3.91 (40)
    Natural gas, including derivatives ($/Mcf)       3.44 3.75 (8)       3.28 3.98 (18)
    Oil and NGL, before derivatives ($/bbl)       64.24 70.15 (8)       65.04 71.28 (9)
    Oil and NGL, including derivatives ($/bbl)       59.63 70.15 (15)       61.64 71.28 (14)
    Natural gas equivalent, including derivatives ($/Mcfe)       4.58 4.46 3       4.43 4.58 (3)
Land (thousands of net acres)                        
Undeveloped land holdings        1,689 1,854 (9)       1,689 1,854 (9)
Drilling (wells drilled gross/net)                        
  Gas                     1/0.5 5/5.0 (80)/(90)       5/4.0 10/9.5 (50)/(58)
  Gas storage       -/- 1/1.0 (100)/(100)       -/- 3/3.0 (100)/(100)
  Oil       12/11.3 8/8.0 50/41       34/32.6 23/22 48/48
  Oil sands evaluation       -/- 1/1.0 (100)/(100)       -/- 8/8.0 (100)/(100)
  Total       13/11.8 15/15.0 (13)/(21)       39/36.6 23/22.5 70/63
  Success rate (%)       100/100 100/100 -/-       100/100 100/100 -/-
(1)    Revenue includes realized gains (losses) on derivatives.
(2)    These are non-GAAP measures. Please refer to "Non-GAAP Measures" included in management's discussion and analysis.
(3)    Based on weighted average basic or diluted Common Shares outstanding for the period.
(4)    The deemed production volume describes all gas shut-in or denied production pursuant to a decision report, corresponding order or
general bulletin of the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board ("AEUB"), or through correspondence in relation to an AEUB ID 99-1 application.
This deemed production volume is not actual gas sales but represents shut-in gas that is the basis of the gas over bitumen financial
solution which is received monthly from the Alberta Crown as a reduction against other royalties payable.
(5)    Production amounts are based on the Corporation's interest before royalties expense.

SOURCE Perpetual Energy Inc.

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