Top 10 Gas Companies: Production Growth in 2011

By Robert Sullivan – Exclusive to Gas Investing News

Top 10 Gas Companies NGSA

Although big names in the gas industry such as Cheseapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE:CHK), Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC), and Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE:DVN) are once again on the list of the most prolific natural gas producers in the US, 2011 witnessed some impressive production growth among mid-sized firms.

Below is a brief snapshot of the companies that saw the biggest production increases over the course of the year, relative to their average output in 2010.*

1. EXCO Resources Inc. (NYSE:XCO) – Avg. Production 2011: 471 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 296 MMcf per day (+37%)

The bulk of EXCO’s production comes from their operations in the Haynesville and Bossier shales in Texas, as well as conventional fields in East Texas and North Louisiana. EXCO also own acreage in the Marcellus shale, which they have been developing since 2009 through a joint venture with BG Group (LSE:BG).

2. EQT Corp. (NYSE:EQT) – Avg. Production 2011: 484 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 338 MMcf per day (+30%)

EQT’s assets are primarily concentrated in the Marcellus and Huron shales in the US Northeast, where they hold over 3.2 million acres. The company has estimated their proved Marcellus reserves at 2.9 trillion cubic feet (tcf), and have proved reserves totalling 2.2 tcf in their Huron shale plays.

3. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (NYSE:COG) – Avg. Production 2011: 466 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 344 MMcf per day (+26%)

Cabot are active in the Haynesville shale and also have holdings in the Marcellus and Eagle Ford shales, as well as positions in Wyoming. The company is a pure play natural gas producer, and has proved shale and conventional reserves totalling 2.7 tcf.

4. SM Energy Co. (NYSE:SM) – Avg. Production 2011: 262 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 197 MMcf per day (+25%)

SM Energy have acreage in the Haynesville shale, and in conventional fields in East Texas and North Louisiana. They have operations in the Woodford shale in Oklahoma, and have also recently acquired positions in the Marcellus and Eagle Ford shales.

5. BHP Billiton Ltd. (ASX:BHP) – Avg. Production 2011: 831 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 643 MMcf per day (23%)

Formerly Petrohawk Energy Corp., Australia’s BHP Billiton completed an acquisition of the company in August. Prior to the move, Petrohawk owned operated positions in the Haynesville and Eagle Ford shales, with proved reserves of 3.4 tcf and 1 million acres of land in Texas and Louisiana.

6. Quicksilver Resources Inc. (NYSE:KWK) – Avg. Production 2011: 262 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 209 MMcf per day (+20%)

Most of Quicksilver’s production comes from their positions in the Barnett shale in North Texas, which total 155,000 acres. The company also has reserves of 250 billion cubic feet (bcf) in Alberta, and is exploring in the Horn River Basin of Northeast British Columbia.

7. McMoRan Exploration Co. (NYSE:MMR) – Avg. Production 2011: 127 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 104 MMcf per day (+18%)

McMoRan Exploration’s operations are primarily focused on “deep and ultra-deep gas plays” in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The company also holds producing assets onshore in Texas and Louisiana.

8. Southwestern Energy Co. (NYSE:SWN) – Avg. Production 2011: 1341 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 1106 MMcf per day (+18%)

Southwestern, a considerably larger outfit than most names on the list, are the 8th largest producer of natural gas in the US. They hold acreage in many of the major basins in the US, but close to 90 percent of their production comes from their Fayetteville shale positions in Arkansas, where they have proved reserves of 4.3 tcf.

9. Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA) – Avg. Production 2011: 865 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 731 MMcf per day (+15%)

Apache is another big name producer that has seen robust production growth over the course of the year. The company has assets in all the major shale formations in Texas, as well as in the Anadarko basin in Oklahoma. Apache have also been active in the Horn River Basin in British Columbia, where it holds over 200,000 acres.

10. W&T Offshore Inc. (NYSE:WTI) – Avg. Production 2011: 144 MMcf per day / Avg. Production 2010: 123 MMcf per day (+15%)

W&T Offshore primarily operate shallow water offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. They also have some modest onshore assets in the Permian Basin in West Texas.


*Data sourced from The Natural Gas Supply Association. Figures for 2011 cover average production from January through September, as Q4 production data is not yet available.

 

Disclosure: I, Robert Sullivan, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.