CALGARY, Alberta, April 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — PrairieSky Royalty Ltd. (“PrairieSky” or the “Company“) (TSX: PSK) is pleased to announce its first quarter (“Q1 2022“) results for the three-month period ended March 31, 2022.
First Quarter Highlights:
- Royalty production averaged 23,892 BOE per day, representing a 17% increase over Q4 2021 and a 23% increase over Q1 2021.
- Total revenues grew to $139.9 million, a 39% increase over Q4 2021 and a 135% increase over Q1 2021, comprised of royalty production revenues of $134.7 million and other revenues of $5.2 million.
- Achieved record quarterly funds from operations of $105.0 million ($0.44 per common share basic and diluted), a 3% increase over Q4 2021 and a 115% increase over Q1 2021 driven by a combination of royalty production growth, 2021 acquisitions and strong commodity pricing.
- Declared a first quarter dividend of $28.7 million ($0.12 per common share), representing a payout ratio of 27%, with remaining cash flow allocated to $6.3 million of royalty acquisitions and the balance to retiring bank debt.
- At March 31, 2022, PrairieSky’s net debt totaled $568.9 million, a reduction of $66.1 million from December 31, 2021 as excess funds from operations were used to reduce indebtedness incurred in connection with acquisitions completed during the second half of 2021.
- Advanced several ESG and alternative energy initiatives, including completing a large-scale Lithium exploration lease in Saskatchewan for $0.6 million in bonus consideration with near-term drilling plans, receiving initial government approval for the Meadowbrook CCUS Project in Alberta, and achieving independently measured targets which resulted in the realization of the full positive pricing adjustment on our sustainability-linked credit facility.
PrairieSky achieved record quarterly royalty production revenue in Q1 2022 due to a combination of strong commodity pricing and royalty production growth. The differentiation of our business model is evident in an accelerating capital environment as we lease our vast underdeveloped land base to qualified, well-capitalized industry partners. PrairieSky believes leasing is a leading indicator of future third-party drilling activity on our lands and organic per share growth in royalty production. During Q1 2022, PrairieSky generated $3.5 million in bonus consideration by entering into 52 distinct leasing arrangements with 43 different counterparties. Following a busy second half of 2021 when 359 wells were spud on PrairieSky’s royalty properties, Q1 2022 was another active quarter with 194 wells spud, including 168 oil wells and 26 natural gas wells, almost double the 100 wells spud in Q1 2021.
Many of the third-party wells drilled on PrairieSky lands in the second half of 2021 have now come on production and we are seeing the impacts reflected in our growing royalty production volumes. Royalty production volumes totaled 23,892 BOE per day in Q1 2022, including 2,640 BOE per day of incremental royalty production volumes from the Heritage Royalty acquisition which was effective December 31, 2021. Similar to Q4 2021, we are seeing organic growth on the royalty properties with oil royalty production volumes growing by 6% over Q4 2021 and 13% compared to Q1 2021, excluding royalty volumes acquired in 2021.
Our record Q1 2022 funds from operations of $105.0 million reflects the benefits of our high margin business as PrairieSky remains insulated from direct cost inflation in the upstream sector. Our unhedged royalty production received strong netbacks including $4.20 per MMcf for natural gas, $97.99 per barrel for crude oil and $55.66 per barrel for natural gas liquids (“NGL“) which drove record quarterly royalty production revenue of $134.7 million.
PrairieSky declared dividends of $28.7 million or $0.12 per common share for shareholders of record on March 31, 2022, resulting in a payout ratio of 27%. Excess funds from operations were allocated primarily to debt repayment reducing net debt to $568.9 million as compared to $635.0 million at December 31, 2021.
Owning fee simple mineral title offers considerable optionality for oil and gas exploration and development as well as for energy transition opportunities. We are proud to partner with Bison Low Carbon Ventures Inc. (operator), Enerflex Ltd. and IRC Enterprises Inc. (Indian Resource Council of Canada) on the Meadowbrook CCUS Hub Project which was selected by Alberta Energy as one of six successful applicants for carbon storage tenure in the industrial heartland near Edmonton, Alberta. For more information on these projects click here. The Meadowbrook CCUS Hub Project is being designed to provide safe, cost effective, permanent CO2 sequestration, on a multi-client basis, to existing and new Alberta industries seeking to reduce their emissions through adoption of carbon capture, utilization, and storage. PrairieSky expects that the project partners will enter into an evaluation permit with the Government of Alberta that will allow the Meadowbrook partnership to conduct site specific evaluation activities and commence detailed consultation in the near term to support a commercial CCUS lease application within 12-24 months.
During Q1 2022, PrairieSky also completed a large-scale Lithium specific leasing arrangement in southwest Saskatchewan for approximately $0.6 million. The leasing arrangement covers approximately 150 gross sections of land with near term drilling activities planned for the balance of 2022. PrairieSky has identified other potential opportunities for similar mineral specific leasing arrangements in Devonian-aged brine water across Alberta and Saskatchewan.
2022 has started exceptionally well for our business. We would like to thank our shareholders for their continued support, and our staff for their hard work integrating the incremental approximately 3.0 million net acres of royalty properties acquired in 2021.
Andrew Phillips, President & CEO
Q1 2022 Financial Highlights
- Funds from operations grew to $105.0 million driven by a combination of royalty production growth, the impact of 2021 acquisitions and strong commodity pricing.
- Royalty production revenue expanded to $134.7 million, a 43% increase over Q4 2021 and a 138% increase over Q1 2021, generated from total royalty production volumes of 23,892 BOE per day. A further breakdown is as follows:
- Oil royalty production volumes averaged 11,188 barrels per day and included 2,358 barrels per day of incremental oil royalty production volumes associated with the Heritage Royalty acquisition which was effective December 31, 2021. Excluding all acquisitions completed in 2021, organic growth on the royalty properties totaled 6% over Q4 2021 and 13% over Q1 2021.
- Increased oil royalty production combined with strong average WTI pricing of US$94.29 per barrel grew oil royalty revenue to $98.7 million, 61% above Q4 2021 and 170% above Q1 2021.
- Natural gas royalty production volumes averaged 60.5 MMcf per day, in line with Q4 2021 and a 5% increase over Q1 2021. Natural gas royalty production included 1.4 MMcf per day of incremental royalty production volumes from the Heritage Royalty acquisition as well as production from new wells on stream. Natural gas volumes were negatively impacted by approximately 1.0 MMcf per day of cold weather freeze-offs throughout January and February.
- Natural gas royalty revenue increased to $22.9 million, 3% above Q4 2021 and 80% above Q1 2021 primarily due to strong natural gas index pricing with daily and monthly AECO pricing averaging $4.67 per MCF in the quarter.
- NGL royalty production volumes averaged 2,621 barrels per day, 29% above Q4 2021 and 5% above Q1 2021 due to 77 barrels per day of incremental royalty production volumes from the Heritage Royalty acquisition, new wells on stream and the return of ethane volumes post curtailments.
- NGL royalty revenue increased to $13.1 million, 22% over Q4 2021 and 75% over Q1 2021, due to increased royalty production volumes and strong benchmark pricing.
- PrairieSky generated other revenue of $5.2 million in Q1 2022 comprised of $1.2 million of lease rentals, $0.5 million in other income, including $0.2 million of potash revenue, and $3.5 million in bonus consideration earned on entering into 52 new leasing arrangements with 43 different counterparties. Bonus consideration and leasing activity was up from $1.4 million in Q1 2021 from 33 leasing arrangements with 29 counterparties. Compliance recoveries totaled $1.5 million in Q1 2022.
- Cash administrative expenses totaled $10.3 million or $4.79 per BOE and included the annual cash payment of long-term incentives for staff and executives of $5.0 million (2021 annual LTI payment – $0.7 million for staff and $nil for executives as performance share units expired unvested due to share price performance). PrairieSky expects cash administrative expense per BOE to be below $3.00 per BOE for 2022.
- PrairieSky declared a first quarter dividend of $28.7 million ($0.12 per common share) which represented a 27% payout ratio, with remaining funds from operations allocated to reducing bank debt.
- At March 31, 2022, PrairieSky’s net debt balance totaled $568.9 million, a $66.1 million decrease from December 31, 2021.
ACTIVITY ON PRAIRIESKY’S ROYALTY PROPERTIES
During Q1 2022, third-party operators spud 194 wells (87% oil) with 91 wells spud on our GORR acreage, 86 wells spud on our Fee Lands and 17 unit wells spud. There were 168 oil wells spud in Q1 2022 including 68 Viking wells, 35 Clearwater wells, 22 Mannville heavy and light oil wells, 14 Bakken light oil wells, 8 Duvernay light oil wells, 7 Cardium light oil wells and 14 additional spuds in the Devonian, Mississippian, Montney and Nisku formations. There were 26 natural gas wells spud in Q1 2022, including 14 Montney, 8 Mannville, and 4 Cardium wells. PrairieSky’s average royalty rate for wells spud in Q1 2022 was 6.1% (Q1 2021 – 4.4%).
FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL INFORMATION
The following table summarizes select operational and financial information of the Company for the periods noted. All dollar amounts are stated in Canadian dollars unless otherwise noted.
A full version of PrairieSky’s management’s discussion and analysis (“MD&A”) and unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements and notes thereto for the fiscal period ended March 31, 2022 is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and PrairieSky’s website at www.prairiesky.com.
|Three Months Ended|
|(millions, except per share or as otherwise noted)||March 31,|
|Funds from Operations||105.0||101.8||48.8|
|Per Share – basic and diluted(1)||0.44||0.45||0.22|
|Per Share – basic and diluted(1)||0.27||0.19||0.08|
|Net debt at period end(3)||568.9||635.0||57.2|
|Common share repurchases||–||1.5||–|
|Shares outstanding at period end||238.8||238.8||223.3|
|Weighted average – basic||238.8||224.8||223.3|
|Weighted average – diluted||239.0||225.3||223.7|
Royalty Production Volumes
|Crude Oil (bbls/d)||11,188||8,311||7,278|
|Natural Gas (MMcf/d)||60.5||60.0||57.6|
|Royalty Production (BOE/d)(4)||23,892||20,340||19,380|
|Crude Oil ($/bbl)||97.99||80.13||55.71|
|Natural Gas ($/Mcf)||4.20||4.04||2.45|
|Operating Netback per BOE(5)||56.97||46.76||28.67|
|Funds from Operations per BOE||48.83||54.40||27.98|
|Oil Price Benchmarks|
|Western Texas Intermediate (WTI) (US$/bbl)||94.29||77.19||57.86|
|Edmonton Light Sweet ($/bbl)||115.66||93.30||66.60|
|Western Canadian Select (WCS) crude oil differential to WTI (US$/bbl)||(14.53||)||(14.64||)||(12.47||)|
|Natural Gas Price Benchmarks|
|AECO monthly index ($/Mcf)||4.59||4.94||2.93|
|AECO daily index ($/Mcf)||4.74||4.66||3.15|
|Foreign Exchange Rate (US$/CAD$)||0.7842||0.7909||0.7899|
(1) Net Earnings and Funds from Operations per Share are calculated using the weighted average number of basic and diluted common shares outstanding.
(2) A dividend of $0.12 per common share was declared on March 7, 2022. The dividend was paid on April 14, 2022 to shareholders of record as at March 31, 2022.
(3) See Note 14 “Capital Management” in the interim condensed consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021.
(4) See “Conversions of Natural Gas to BOE”.
(5) Operating Netback per BOE is defined under the Non-GAAP Measures and Ratios section of this press release.
CONFERENCE CALL DETAILS
A conference call to discuss the results will be held for the investment community on Tuesday, April 19, 2022, beginning at 6:30 a.m. MDT (8:30 a.m. EDT). To participate in the conference call, approximately 10 minutes prior to the conference call, please dial:
|(844) 657-2668 (toll free in North America)|
(612) 979-9882 (International)
Conference ID: 7958733
VIRTUAL ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
PrairieSky’s virtual annual general meeting of holders of common shares is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19, 2022 at 9:30 a.m. (MDT). The virtual meeting will be conducted via live audio webcast at https://virtual-meetings.tsxtrust.com/1287. Shareholders will have an opportunity to participate at the annual general meeting online regardless of their geographic location. Below is some additional information on attending the virtual meeting. Further details are provided on our website at www.prairiesky.com/investors.
Registered shareholders and duly appointed proxyholders will be able to listen to the virtual meeting, ask questions and vote online, all in real time, provided they are connected to the Internet and properly follow the instructions contained on the website. Non-registered (beneficial) shareholders who have not duly appointed themselves as proxyholders may still attend the virtual meeting as guests. Guests will be able to listen to the meeting but will not be able to vote at the meeting or ask questions. To attend the meeting:
- Follow the link https://virtual-meetings.tsxtrust.com/1287 in your web browser.
- Password: prairie2022 (case sensitive).
- If you have voting rights (Registered Shareholders and duly appointed proxyholders), select “I have a Control Number” and follow the instructions.
- If you do not have voting rights (Beneficial Shareholders and guests), select “I am a Guest” and fill in the form.
- For details, refer to the “Virtual Meeting Guide” that was provided with the enclosed form of proxy or voting instruction form and is available on our website at www.prairiesky.com/investors.
We recommend that you log in to the webcast at least one hour before the time of the virtual meeting. PrairieSky encourages all shareholders to participate in the virtual annual general meeting.
NORMAL COURSE ISSUER BID
PrairieSky will apply to extend its normal course issuer bid (“NCIB”) for an additional one-year period. Under the renewed NCIB, and subject to prior approval of the TSX, PrairieSky intends to repurchase up to 16,965,000 common shares over a 12-month period based on the calculation of 10% of the public float as of April 18, 2022. The NCIB has been approved by the Company’s board of directors; however, it is subject to acceptance by the TSX and, if accepted, will be made in accordance with the applicable rules and policies of the TSX and applicable securities laws. Under the NCIB, common shares may be repurchased in open market transactions on the TSX, and/or other Canadian exchanges or alternative trading systems. The price that PrairieSky will pay for common shares in open market transactions will be the market price at the time of purchase. Common shares acquired under the NCIB will be cancelled.
PrairieSky will file a Notice of Intention to Make a NCIB to purchase and cancel up to 10% of the public float. The 10% limit would be set based on the issued and outstanding shares, after excluding common shares beneficially owned by directors and executive officers of PrairieSky and persons who beneficially own or exercise control or direction over more than 10% of the issued and outstanding common shares of PrairieSky, which for illustrative purposes would be 169,656,768 common shares as of April 18, 2022. The actual number of common shares that may be purchased, and the timing of any such purchases, will be determined by PrairieSky based on its assessment of capital allocation priorities. The NCIB is expected to commence shortly after regulatory approvals are obtained and upon expiry of the current program on May 24, 2022. Common shares may be repurchased under the program over a period of up to one year. As of March 31, 2022, PrairieSky has purchased and cancelled an aggregate of 809,700 common shares at a weighted average price per share of $13.90 under a normal course issuer bid that commenced on May 25, 2021 and runs to May 24, 2022. Since instituting the normal course issuer bid in 2016 to March 31, 2022, PrairieSky has purchased and cancelled an aggregate of 16.7 million common shares at a weighted average price per share of $14.77.
PrairieSky will be entering into an automatic purchase plan with its broker in order to facilitate purchases of its common shares. The automatic purchase plan allows for purchases by the Company of its common shares at any time, including, without limitation, when the Company would ordinarily not be permitted to make purchases due to regulatory restriction or self-imposed blackout periods. Purchases will be made by PrairieSky’s broker based upon the parameters prescribed by the TSX and the terms of the parties’ written agreement.
PrairieSky believes renewing the NCIB as part of its capital management strategy is in the best interests of the Company and represents an attractive opportunity to use cash resources to reduce PrairieSky’s share count over time and thereby enhance the value of the shares held by remaining shareholders. The Board currently intends to evaluate the NCIB, and the level of purchases thereunder, on an annual basis in conjunction with PrairieSky’s annual financial results. The next regularly scheduled review will be in February 2023.
While PrairieSky currently intends to only purchase up to 16,965,000 common shares over the next 12 months based on the calculation of 10% of the public float as of April 18, 2022, the Company’s board of directors may consider, from time to time, applying to the TSX to increase the amount of NCIB purchases. Decisions regarding increases to the NCIB will be based on market conditions, share price, best use of funds from operations, and other factors including debt repayment and options to expand our portfolio of royalty assets.
This press release includes certain statements regarding PrairieSky’s future plans and operations and contains forward-looking statements that we believe allow readers to better understand our business and prospects. The use of any of the words “expect”, “anticipate”, “continue”, “estimate”, “objective”, “ongoing”, “may”, “will”, “project”, “should”, “believe”, “plans”, “intends”, “strategy” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking information or statements. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release include estimates regarding our expectations with respect to PrairieSky’s business and growth strategy, future growth from PrairieSky’s existing royalty asset portfolio and contributions from acquisitions, the quality of PrairieSky’s existing royalty asset portfolio, leasing being a leading indicator for third-party drilling and exploration on our royalty asset portfolio, optionality for oil and gas exploration and development as well as for energy transition opportunities, the Meadowbrook CCUS Hub Project providing safe, cost effective and permanent CO2 sequestration and the reduction of emissions, the timing of a commercial CCUS lease application, future opportunities for lithium or similar mineral specific leasing arrangements in Devonian-aged brine water across Alberta and Saskatchewan, drilling plans on recently completed Lithium leasing transactions, future collections from compliance activities, the expectation that cash administrative expense will be below $3.00 per BOE in 2022, the application of PrairieSky to renew the NCIB, and the timing thereof, the number of common shares which may be purchased under the NCIB in the future and the factors in determining the timing and quantum of such purchases, and PrairieSky’s belief that repurchasing such common shares under the NCIB is a good investment of PrairieSky’s resources.
With respect to forward-looking statements contained in this press release, we have made several assumptions including those described in detail in our MD&A and the Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2021. Readers and investors are cautioned that the assumptions used in the preparation of such forward-looking information and statements, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. Our actual results, performance, or achievements could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. We can give no assurance that any of the events anticipated will transpire or occur, or if any of them do, what benefits we will derive from them.
By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond our control, including the impact of general economic conditions including inflation, industry conditions, volatility of commodity prices, lack of pipeline capacity, currency fluctuations, imprecision of reserve estimates, competitive factors impacting royalty rates, environmental risks, taxation, regulation, changes in tax or other legislation, competition from other industry participants, the lack of availability of qualified personnel or management, stock market volatility, political and geopolitical instability and our ability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources. In addition, PrairieSky is subject to numerous risks and uncertainties in relation to acquisitions. These risks and uncertainties include risks relating to the potential for disputes to arise with counterparties, and limited ability to recover indemnification under certain agreements. The foregoing and other risks are described in more detail in PrairieSky’s MD&A, and the Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2021 under the headings “Risk Management” and “Risk Factors”, respectively, each of which is available at www.sedar.com and PrairieSky’s website at www.prairiesky.com.
Further, any forward-looking statement is made only as of the date of this press release, and PrairieSky undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement or statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, except as required by applicable securities laws. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for PrairieSky to predict all of these factors or to assess in advance the impact of each such factor on PrairieSky’s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. The forward-looking information contained in this document is expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.
CONVERSIONS OF NATURAL GAS TO BOE
To provide a single unit of production for analytical purposes, natural gas production and reserves volumes are converted mathematically to equivalent barrels of oil (BOE). PrairieSky uses the industry-accepted standard conversion of six thousand cubic feet of natural gas to one barrel of oil (6 Mcf = 1 bbl). The 6:1 BOE ratio is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip. It does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead and is not based on either energy content or current prices. While the BOE ratio is useful for comparative measures and observing trends, it does not accurately reflect individual product values and might be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. As well, given that the value ratio, based on the current price of crude oil to natural gas, is significantly different from the 6:1 energy equivalency ratio, using a 6:1 conversion ratio may be misleading as an indication of value.
NON-GAAP MEASURES AND RATIOS
Certain measures and ratios in this document do not have any standardized meaning as prescribed by International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) and, therefore, are considered non-GAAP measures and ratios. These measures and ratios may not be comparable to similar measures and ratios presented by other issuers. These measures and ratios are commonly used in the crude oil and natural gas industry and by PrairieSky to provide potential investors with additional information regarding the Company’s liquidity and its ability to generate funds to conduct its business. Non-GAAP measures and ratios include operating netback per BOE, payout ratio, cash administrative expenses and cash administrative expenses per BOE. Management’s use of these measures and ratios is discussed further below. Further information can be found in the Non-GAAP Measures and Ratios section of PrairieSky’s MD&A.
“Operating Netback per BOE” represents the cash margin for products sold on a BOE basis. Operating netback per BOE is calculated by dividing the operating netback (royalty production revenues less production and mineral taxes and cash administrative expenses) by the average daily production volumes for the period. Operating netback per BOE is used to assess the cash generating and operating performance per unit of product sold and the comparability of the underlying performance between years. Operating netback per BOE measures are commonly used in the crude oil and natural gas industry to assess performance comparability.
“Payout Ratio” is calculated as dividends declared as a percentage of funds from operations. Payout ratio is used by dividend paying companies to assess dividend levels in relation to the funds generated and used in operating activities.
“Cash Administrative Expenses” represent administrative expenses excluding the volatility and fluctuations in share-based compensation expense for RSUs, PSUs, ODSUs and DSUs and stock options that were not settled in cash in the current period. Cash administrative expenses are calculated as total administrative expenses, adjusting for share-based compensation expense in the period, plus any actual cash payments made under the RSU, PSU, ODSU or DSU plans. Management believes cash administrative expenses are a common benchmark used by investors when comparing companies to evaluate operating performance.
“Cash Administrative Expenses per BOE” represents cash administrative expenses on a BOE basis and is calculated by dividing cash administrative expenses by the average daily production volumes for the period. Cash administrative expenses per BOE assists management and investors in evaluating operating performance on a comparable basis.
Cash Administrative Expenses
The following table presents the computation of Cash Administrative Expenses:
|Three Months Ended|
|($ millions)|| March 31,|
|Total Administrative Expenses||$||15.0||$||9.8||$||10.2|
|Share-Based Compensation Expense||(9.7||)||(4.4||)||(5.2||)|
|Cash Payments Made – Share Unit Awards Incentive Plan||5.0||–||0.7|
|Cash Administrative Expenses||$||10.3||$||5.4||$||5.7|
ABOUT PRAIRIESKY ROYALTY LTD.
PrairieSky is a royalty company, generating royalty production revenues as petroleum and natural gas are produced from its properties. PrairieSky has a diverse portfolio of properties that have a long history of generating funds from operations and that represent the largest and most consolidated independently-owned fee simple mineral title position in Canada. PrairieSky’s common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol PSK.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
President & Chief Executive Officer
PrairieSky Royalty Ltd.
Vice President, Finance & Chief Financial Officer
PrairieSky Royalty Ltd.
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