WesternZagros Resources Ltd.
TSX VENTURE : WZR

WesternZagros Resources Ltd.

August 13, 2015 07:30 ET

WesternZagros Announces Second Quarter 2015 Operational and Financial Results

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - Aug. 13, 2015) -

NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES

WesternZagros Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:WZR) ("WesternZagros" or "the Company") announced today its operating and financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015. A summary of the activities, the financial statements, and the accompanying Management Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") are available at www.westernzagros.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. All amounts set out in this news release are in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

  • Second quarter production from the Sarqala-1 well averaged 5,427 barrels of oil per day ("bbl/d"). The Sarqala-1 well has produced approximately 1.8 million barrels of light oil to date including production from the extended well test conducted in 2011.
  • Second quarter gross sales were 493,854 barrels of oil ("bbl"), of which WesternZagros's net oil sales were 133,202 bbl.
  • Second quarter sales revenue to WesternZagros was $5.6 million, with an average realized price of $41.71 per barrel and field netback was $3.9 million. Year-to-date sales revenue is $8.4 million.
  • Sarqala-1 well production guidance range for the remainder of 2015 is amended to the 5,000 to 5,500 bbl/d range. Based on these revised production rates and domestic oil prices in the range of $42 to $52 per barrel, WesternZagros now estimates 2015 sales revenue of $15 to $22 million and field netback of $10 to $17 million.
  • Operations are proceeding according to plan to suspend the Hasira-1 well and are expected to be completed in the third quarter. While the Company does not currently have a plan to develop the Mio-Oligocene reservoir, WesternZagros and Gazprom Neft continue to assess its potential.
  • The Company has recognized in the second quarter a non-cash impairment charge in relation to the exploration and evaluation expenditures for the Garmian block.
  • The Company is in the final approval stage of the Garmian Field Development Plan ("Garmian FDP") having incorporated concluding comments from the Kurdistan Regional Government ("KRG") into its Plan.
  • With the completion of the Repsol S.A. acquisition of Talisman Energy Inc. in early May 2015, Repsol has re-entered the negotiations with WesternZagros and the KRG regarding the development of the Kurdamir Block. The parties are actively engaged in advancing the Kurdamir Field Development Plan ("Kurdamir FDP") for oil and gas production although it is anticipated to take until the first quarter of 2016 for the co-venturers to finalize the FDP.
  • Ended the second quarter with $145 million in cash and cash equivalents and an available undrawn $200 million credit facility.
  • Operations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq remain safe and secure.

Commenting on the second quarter results and subsequent events, WesternZagros's Chief Executive Officer Simon Hatfield said:

"The Company is committed to advancing development on the Garmian and Kurdamir Blocks to grow production and cash flow. We are also focused on delivering on our cost controls and capital efficiency. On the Kurdamir Block, we're encouraged by Repsol's engagement as the KRG is keen to progress this oil and gas project. We have established a strong financial position for our Company and are well positioned to weather the adverse global market conditions. In light of the ongoing oil price environment, the Company continues to implement strict cost reduction efforts that have meaningful impact to the bottom line, including optimizing capital investment, renegotiating contracts with service companies and cutting discretionary expenditures. We have a solid foundation supported by great assets that provide us with the opportunity to create long-term value for all investors. While these are challenging times for both the Kurdistan Region and international oil companies, we continue to benefit from the relative security in the Kurdistan Region, where we are unaffected by the military operations elsewhere in Iraq."

Operations Summary

WesternZagros's assets comprise two contract areas, the Garmian and Kurdamir blocks, with significant oil and natural gas discoveries.

Production: Garmian Block

  • Production from Sarqala-1 in the second quarter averaged 5,427 barrels of oil per day ("bbl/d") and has averaged 5,355 bbl/d since commencement of production from the well on February 11, 2015. The Sarqala-1 well has produced approximately 1.8 million barrels of light oil to date including production from the extended well test conducted in 2011.
  • Gross sales during the second quarter were 493,854 barrels of oil ("bbl"), of which WesternZagros's net oil sales were 133,202 bbl. Year-to-date gross sales are 749,661 bbl of oil, of which WesternZagros's year-to-date net oil sales were 202,199 bbl.
  • WesternZagros has, under the auspices of the KRG, supplied this crude oil to the domestic market under pre-paid contracts. The local market has a strong demand for crude for diesel generation, so WesternZagros continues to work with the Kurdistan Region's Ministry of Natural Resources and domestic purchasers to secure additional sales volumes. The Company now has two domestic customers for its oil production.
  • Second quarter sales revenue to WesternZagros was $5.6 million, with the average realized price of $41.71 per barrel. Year-to-date sales revenue is $8.4 million. Second quarter field netback was $3.9 million and $5.8 million year-to-date.
  • Production guidance range for the remainder of 2015 is amended from 5,700 to 6,700 bbl/d to 5,000 to 5,500 bbl/d as the Sarqala-1 well is encountering asphaltene production issues. Asphaltenes formulate naturally from solution and can occur in reservoirs with changes in pressure. This production limitation is currently being addressed with chemical treatments to mitigate asphaltene formulation in the wellbore. Additional work is being carried out to determine the optimal production capability of the well.

Operated Joint Venture: Garmian Block

  • The Garmian FDP was submitted to the KRG on June 19, 2014. The Company has recently incorporated concluding comments from the KRG and is seeking final approval of the FDP. The first development well is anticipated to spud once the Garmian FDP has been approved in accordance with the PSC terms. The well site is ready and long lead equipment is secured.
  • The KRG is advancing its plans for the award of a contract to a third party for the construction of a natural gas plant close to WesternZagros's Garmian production facility to utilize the associated natural gas from the Sarqala field. Pursuant to the terms of the Garmian PSC, the KRG has the right to take, gather, process and market the associated natural gas from the field. The natural gas plant will help fuel domestic electrical power needs and minimize future gas flaring.
  • Operations are proceeding according to plan to suspend the Hasira-1 well and are expected to be completed in the third quarter. Previously announced logging and open-hole tests confirmed the presence of light oil in both the Mio-Oligocene and the shallower Jeribe reservoir. The oil that flowed in those tests was similar to that being produced from the Jeribe reservoir at the nearby Sarqala-1 well and had no indications of hydrogen sulphide or formation water. While the Company does not currently have a plan to develop the Mio-Oligocene reservoir, WesternZagros and Gazprom Neft continue to assess its potential.

Non-Operated Joint Venture: Kurdamir Block

  • The Company estimates that the Kurdamir discovery contains unrisked Contingent Resources of 541 MMbbl of oil, and unrisked Prospective Resources of 1.3 billion barrels of oil and 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas (all Gross Block combined mean estimates).
  • On August 31, 2014, the Joint Venture submitted a Kurdamir FDP for the oil and natural gas resources on the Kurdamir Block to the KRG for approval. Following a review, the KRG requested changes to the plan. In December 2014, Talisman Energy Inc. put forward notice to relinquish its interest in the Kurdamir Block and WesternZagros took the lead in refining and submitting an amended FDP to the KRG.
  • With the completion of the Repsol S.A. acquisition of Talisman Energy Inc. in early May 2015, Repsol has re-entered the negotiations with WesternZagros and the KRG. All parties are actively engaged in advancing the Kurdamir FDP to achieve oil and gas production although it is anticipated to take until the first quarter of 2016 for the co-venturers to finalize the FDP.
  • The Kurdamir Joint Venture is conducting a number of activities, including front-end engineering of the necessary facilities and future wells and negotiating sales agreements for early gas sales in addition to oil and condensate production, to support the final submission of the Kurdamir FDP to the KRG.
  • Because the FDP for Kurdamir remains under discussion with the KRG and Repsol, Reserves have not yet been recognized by a qualified independent reserves evaluator. Accordingly, all expenditures that pertain to the Kurdamir Block continue to be capitalized in accordance with the Company's exploration and evaluation accounting policy.

Financial

  • As at June 30, 2015, WesternZagros had $145 million in cash and cash equivalents.
  • During the three months ended June 30, 2015, the Company continued production and sales of crude oil to the Kurdistan domestic market, under the auspices of the KRG. The Company recognized net sales revenue of $5.6 million in accordance with the commercial terms of the Garmian PSC. For the six month period ended June 30, 2015, the Company has recognized net sales of $8.4 million in accordance with the commercial terms of the Garmian PSC.
  • The Company anticipates that gross production from Sarqala-1 will be in the range of 5,000 to 5,500 bbl/d for the remainder of 2015. Based on these production rates and domestic oil prices in the range of $42 to $52 per barrel, WesternZagros estimates 2015 sales revenue of $15 to $22 million and field netback of $10 to $17 million.
  • WesternZagros's share of exploration and evaluation ("E&E") expenditures includes 50 percent of Garmian Block costs and 60 percent of Kurdamir Block costs. For the quarter ended June 30, 2015, WesternZagros's share for these PSC activities and other related capitalized costs was $11.0 million, comprised of $7.0 million of drilling-related costs and $4.0 million in other appraisal and development costs. For the six months ended June 30, 2015, WesternZagros's share for these PSC activities and other related capitalized costs was $26.7 million, comprised of $15.1 million of drilling-related costs and $11.6 million in other appraisal and development costs.
  • During the second quarter of 2015, the Company identified an indicator of impairment. In reviewing the carrying costs for the Garmian Block cash generating unit "CGU"), an impairment loss has been recognized for the amount by which the E&E expenditures for the Garmian Block exceeds its recoverable amount. The recoverable amount pertaining to the Garmian Block amount was estimated to be $158 million, based on prospective resource estimates provided by an independent qualified reserve engineer, which resulted in an impairment charge of $77 million. No impairment was recognized in regards to the Kurdamir Block CGU.
  • The Company capitalized its 50 percent share of applicable oil and natural gas assets expenditures related to Garmian Block activities, which was comprised of costs for the upgrades to the Sarqala production site and planning and design costs related to the next Sarqala development well. For the three and six months ended June 30, 2015, the Company capitalized $3.5 million and $7.0 million, respectively, for these costs. Subsequent to the commencement of production during the first quarter of 2015, costs related to Sarqala-1 well operations and the operation of related production facilities have been accounted for as operating costs.

Outlook

2015 Operations Outlook

The Company anticipates that gross production from Sarqala-1 will range from 5,000 to 5,500 bbl/d for the remainder of 2015. This is reduced from the Company's previous guidance of 5,700 to 6,700 bbl/d. Based on these revised production rates and domestic oil prices in the range of $42 to $52 per barrel, WesternZagros now estimates 2015 sales revenue of $15 to $22 million and field netback of $10 to $17 million as compared to its prior estimates of 2015 sales revenue of $17 to $25 million and field netback of $12 to $20 million.

2015 Capital Outlook

On the Garmian Block, the Company has incorporated final comments from the KRG into its Garmian FDP and is seeking final approval of the Garmian FDP. The Company will provide further guidance on the anticipated quantum and timing of capital expenditures upon approval of the Garmian FDP.

About WesternZagros Resources Ltd.

WesternZagros is an international natural resources company focused on acquiring properties and exploring for, developing and producing crude oil and natural gas in Iraq. WesternZagros, through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, holds a 40 percent working interest in two Production Sharing Contracts with the Kurdistan Regional Government in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. WesternZagros's shares trade in Canada on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol "WZR".

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to, the appointment of additional directors but not limited to, operational information, future development plans and the timing associated therewith, planned expenditures, future production capability and capacity of facilities and expected production rates, sales revenues and field netback. Forward-looking information typically contains statements with words such as "anticipate", "estimate", "expect", "potential", "could", or similar words suggesting future outcomes. The Company cautions readers and prospective investors in the Company's securities to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information as, by its nature, it is based on current expectations regarding future events that involve a number of assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros.

Forward-looking information is not based on historical facts but rather on management's current expectations as well as assumptions made by, and information currently available to management, concerning, among other things, outcomes of future well operations, plans for and results of extended well tests and drilling activity, future capital and other expenditures (including the amount, nature and sources of funding thereof), the continuation of available debt financings, the continued ability to sell production in the domestic market and the prices to be received in connection therewith, anticipated operating costs, future economic conditions, future currency and exchange rates, continued political stability, continued security in the Kurdistan Region, timely receipt of any necessary co-venturer, government or regulatory approvals, the successful resolution of disputes, the Company's continued ability to employ qualified staff and to obtain equipment in a timely and cost efficient manner and the participation of the Company's co-venturers in joint activities. In addition, budgets are based upon WesternZagros's current development plans and anticipated costs, both of which are subject to change based on, among other things, the outcome of negotiations with co-venturers and the government, the actual outcomes of well operations and the installation and commissioning of facilities, unexpected delays, availability of future financing and changes in market conditions. Although the Company believes the expectations and assumptions reflected in such forward-looking information are reasonable, they may prove to be incorrect. Forward-looking information involves significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros including, but not limited to, risks associated with the oil and gas industry (e.g. operational risks in development and production; inherent uncertainties in interpreting geological data; changes in plans with respect to capital expenditures; interruptions in operations together with any associated insurance proceedings; the uncertainty of estimates and projections in relation to costs and expenses and health, safety and environmental risks), the risk of commodity price and foreign exchange rate fluctuations, risks relating to domestic refining capacity and continuing ability to access the domestic market, the uncertainty associated with any dispute resolution proceedings, the uncertainty associated with negotiating with foreign governments and risk associated with international activity, including the lack of federal petroleum legislation and ongoing political disputes and recent terrorist activities in Iraq in particular.

Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of important factors is not exhaustive and that these factors and risks are difficult to predict. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and, except as required by law, WesternZagros does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. See the "Risk Factors" section of the Company's Annual Information Form dated March 13, 2015 ("AIF") filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com for a further description of these risks and uncertainties facing WesternZagros. Additional information relating to WesternZagros is also available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, including the Company's AIF.

Non-IFRS Measures

Field netback is a non-IFRS measure that represents the Company's working interest share of oil sales, royalties and field operating expenses. Management believes that the field netback is a useful measure to analyze operating performance and provides an indication of the Company's results of business activities prior to other income and expenses. Field netback does not have a standard meaning under IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies. It should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS such as total income (loss) or cash flow from (used in) operating activities.

See the "Financial Performance" section of the Company's first quarter MD&A dated May 21, 2015, for a reconciliation of field netback. Note that the Annual MD&A dated March 13, 2015, and news release dated May 4, 2015, previously used the term operating income rather than field netback.

Reserves and Resources Advisory

In addition, statements relating to "reserves and other "resources" contained herein are deemed to be forward-looking statements, as they involve the implied assessment, based on certain estimates and assumptions that the resources described can be economically produced in the future. Future net revenue values are estimated values only and do not represent fair market value. There is no assurance that the forecast prices and cost assumptions, the initial phases of the development plans as submitted to the KRG and anticipated future phases contemplated in completing the full field development utilized in such estimated values will be attained and variances could be material. The reserve and resource estimates provided herein are estimates only and there is no assurance that the estimated reserves and other resources will be recovered. Actual reserves and other resources may be greater than or less than the estimates provided herein. Terms related to resource classifications referred to herein are based on the definitions and guidelines in the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook which are as follows.

"Reserves" are estimated remaining quantities of oil and natural gas and related substances anticipated to be recoverable from known accumulations, as of a given date, based on (a) analysis of drilling, geological, geophysical and engineering data, (b) the use of established technology and (c) specified economic conditions which are generally accepted as being reasonable and shall be disclosed. Reserves are classified as Proved, Probable or Possible according to the degree of certainty associated with the estimates. "Proved Reserves" are those Reserves that can be estimated with a high degree of certainty to be recoverable. It is likely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will exceed the estimated Proved Reserves. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 90 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the estimated Proved Reserves. "Probable Reserves" are those additional Reserves that are less certain to be recovered than Proved Reserves. It is equally likely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will be greater or less than the sum of the estimated Proved plus Probable (2P) Reserves. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 50 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of the estimated 2P Reserves. "Possible Reserves" are those additional Reserves that are less certain to be recovered than Probable Reserves. It is unlikely that the actual remaining quantities recovered will exceed the sum of the estimated Proved plus Probable plus Possible (3P) Reserves. If probabilistic methods are used, there should be at least a 10 percent probability that the quantities actually recovered will equal or exceed the sum of the estimated 3P Reserves.

"Contingent Resources" are those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from known accumulations using established technology or technology under development, but which are not currently considered to be commercially recoverable due to one or more contingencies. Contingent Resources have an associated chance of development (economic, regulatory, market and facility, corporate commitment or political risks). The Contingent Resources estimates referred to herein have not been risked for the chance of development. There is no certainty that the Contingent Resources will be developed and, if developed, there is no certainty as to the timing of such development or that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the Contingent Resources.

"Prospective Resources" are those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from undiscovered accumulations by application of future development projects. Prospective Resources have both an associated chance of discovery (geological chance of success) and a chance of development (economic, regulatory, market, facility, corporate commitment or political risks). The chance of commerciality is the product of these two risk components. The estimates referred to herein have not been risked for either the chance of discovery or the chance of development. There is no certainty that any portion of the Prospective Resources will be discovered. If a discovery is made, there is no certainty that it will be developed or, if it is developed, there is no certainty as to the timing of such development or that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the Prospective Resources.

Gross Block resource estimates presented herein represent the total volumes for the indicated reservoirs attributable to 100 percent of the relevant block, without any adjustment for the Company's working interest therein whereas the Working Interest (Gross) resource estimates presented represent the Company's 40 percent working interest (operating or non-operating) share before deduction of royalty petroleum, profit petroleum, production bonuses and capacity building support payments pursuant to the provisions of the applicable Production Sharing Contract.

A barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) is determined by converting a volume of natural gas to barrels using the ratio of 6 thousand cubic feet (Mcf) to one barrel. BOEs may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A BOE conversion ratio of 6 Mcf:1 BOE is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. Given that the value ratio based on the current price of oil as compared to natural gas is significantly different from the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing a conversion on a 6:1 basis may be misleading as an indication of value.

The sections "Resources Overview" and "Statement of Reserves and Other Oil and Gas Information contained in the Company's Annual Information Form dated March 13, 2015 ("AIF") filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com, contain additional detail with respect to the Company's resource assessments and the estimates of net present values and include the significant risks and uncertainties associated with the volume estimates and the recovery and development of the resources, the forecast prices and cost assumptions and details of the conceptual development plans used in connection with the net present value estimates and the specific contingencies which prevent the classification of the Contingent Resources as Reserves. In addition, combined mean estimates of Contingent Resources and Prospective Resources that are presented in this news release are an arithmetic sum of the mean estimates for individual reservoirs and each such individual mean estimate is the average from the probabilistic assessment that was completed for the reservoir. Readers should refer to the AIF for a detailed breakdown of the high (P10), low (P90) and best (P50) Prospective Resources and Contingent Resources estimates for each of the individual reservoir assessments.

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