Calgary, Alberta (November 10, 2021) – Birchcliff Energy Ltd. (“Birchcliff” or the “Corporation”) (TSX: BIR) is pleased
to announce its financial and operational results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, its
updated 2021 guidance and its preliminary outlook for 2022.
“Birchcliff delivered exceptional third quarter results, highlighted by record quarterly adjusted funds flow(1) of $168.1
million and free funds flow(1) of $150.1 million, with quarterly average production of 84,924 boe/d,” commented Jeff
Tonken, President and Chief Executive Officer of Birchcliff. “As a result of this excellent performance, we are swiftly
reducing our debt.”
Birchcliff Well Permits
“For the remainder of 2021, we will continue to focus on maintaining our low-cost structure, free funds flow
generation and strengthening our already strong balance sheet. We do not have any fixed price commodity hedges
in place, which will allow us to take full advantage of robust oil and natural gas prices. We are increasing our 2021
guidance for adjusted funds flow to $575 million(2) (up from $500 million) and free funds flow to $345 million to
$350 million (up from $270 million to $290 million),” said Mr. Tonken. “We are tightening our guidance for 2021
annual average production to 79,000 to 80,000 boe/d and our 2021 F&D capital expenditures to $225 million to
$230 million. We will continue to prioritize debt repayment and expect that our total debt(1) at year-end 2021 will
now be $450 million to $455 million, down from our previous guidance of $500 million to $520 million, a decrease
of as much as 42% ($327.4 million) from our peak 2021 quarter-end total debt of $777.4 million at March 31, 2021.
Based on our updated guidance, this would result in a year-end 2021 total debt to full-year 2021 adjusted funds flow
ratio of 0.8x
“Although we have not yet finalized our 2022 plans, we remain committed to maintaining a flat annual average
production profile, free funds flow generation and further debt reduction in 2022. We are targeting F&D capital
spending to be in the range of $240 million to $260 million, with annual average production expected to be 78,000
to 80,000 boe/d. Based on this targeted F&D capital spending and production, we expect to generate adjusted funds
flow of approximately $650 million and free funds flow of approximately $400 million using current strip pricing(4)
Q3 2021 Highlights
• Achieved quarterly average production of 84,924 boe/d, an 8% increase from Q3 2020. Liquids accounted for
approximately 19% of Birchcliff’s total production in Q3 2021 as compared to approximately 24% in Q3 2020.
• Generated a record $168.1 million of adjusted funds flow, or $0.63 per basic common share, a 183% increase
and a 186% increase, respectively, from Q3 2020. Cash flow from operating activities was $155.6 million, a 194%
increase from Q3 2020.
Delivered $150.1 million of free funds flow, a 426% increase from Q3 2020.
• Earned record net income to common shareholders of $138.4 million, or $0.52 per basic common share, as
compared to a net loss to common shareholders of $17.7 million and $0.07 per basic common share in Q3 2020.
• Reduced total debt at September 30, 2021 to $637.9 million, a reduction of $139.5 million from peak 2021
quarter-end total debt of $777.4 million at March 31, 2021, which will result in corresponding decreases in
• Achieved operating expense of $2.96/boe, an 8% increase from Q3 2020.
• Realized an operating netback(1) of $23.52/boe, a 96% increase from Q3 2020.
• F&D capital expenditures were $18.0 million in Q3 2021. During the quarter, Birchcliff continued with the safe
and efficient execution of its 2021 capital program (the “2021 Capital Program”), bringing 12 (12.0 net) wells
• Birchcliff has been active under its normal course issuer bid (the “NCIB”) in order to offset the dilution from the
exercise of stock options (“Options”) under the Corporation’s stock option plan. During Q3 2021, Birchcliff
purchased 3,200,000 common shares pursuant to the NCIB at an average price of $5.42 per common share for
an aggregate cost of $17.4 million. Year-to-date, Birchcliff has purchased 3,867,800 common shares pursuant
to the NCIB at an average price of $5.63 per common share for an aggregate cost of $21.8 million. A total of
3,276,165 Options, with an average exercise price of $3.11 per common share, have been exercised since
January 1, 2021 for aggregate proceeds to Birchcliff of $10.2 million, resulting in a net cost to Birchcliff of $11.6
OUTLOOK AND GUIDANCE
Preliminary Outlook for 2022
Based on current strip pricing, Birchcliff expects to generate adjusted funds flow of approximately $650 million and
free funds flow of approximately $400 million in 2022. Notwithstanding the current strength of Birchcliff’s balance
sheet, the Corporation will continue to prioritize free funds flow generation and further debt reduction in order to
significantly reduce the risks relating to lower commodity prices and unforeseen market events such as the industry
experienced in 2020. The strength of Birchcliff’s balance sheet also provides it with the optionality to increase
shareholder returns, including increased dividends and common share repurchases under its NCIB. Birchcliff does
not have any fixed price commodity hedges in place and does not currently intend to enter into any, which gives it
the ability to take advantage of the strong commodity prices forecast for 2022.
Although Birchcliff has not yet finalized its 2022 capital spending plans, it is currently targeting F&D capital spending
of $240 million to $260 million, which takes into account expected increases in materials, labour and services costs
as compared to the current year. Birchcliff remains committed to maintaining a flat annual average production
profile in 2022, supported by its low decline assets, and expects its 2022 annual average production to be 78,000 to
80,000 boe/d, which takes into account significant planned turnarounds at the Corporation’s 100% owned and
operated natural gas processing plant in Pouce Coupe (the “Pouce Coupe Gas Plant”) and AltaGas’s deep-cut sour
gas processing facility in Gordondale. The 2022 capital program will be designed to utilize two drilling rigs in order
to bring new wells onto production throughout the year, which will allow for a more consistent production profile
and be more operationally efficient for the Corporation. Birchcliff anticipates that this will result in comparable
annual average production rates year-over-year, with strong production in Q4 2022.
Birchcliff continues to work through its plans for 2022 and expects to announce details of its 2022 capital program
and guidance on January 19, 2022.
Revised 2021 Guidance
As a result of the continued successful results that Birchcliff has achieved this year and the ongoing strength of
forward commodity prices, Birchcliff is revising its commodity price assumptions for 2021 and its guidance for
adjusted funds flow, free funds flow and total debt. The Corporation is also updating its production and F&D capital
expenditures guidance. Significant changes to Birchcliff’s 2021 guidance include the following:
• Adjusted funds flow guidance has been increased to $575 million (previously $500 million), primarily as a result
of the improvement in the commodity price forecast.
• F&D capital expenditures are now expected to be between $225 million to $230 million, which is within the
Corporation’s previous guidance of $210 million to $230 million.
• Free funds flow guidance has been increased to $345 million to $350 million (previously $270 million to $290
million), as a result of higher anticipated adjusted funds flow in 2021.
• Total debt at year end is now expected to be $450 million to $455 million (previously $500 million to $520
million), primarily as a result of higher anticipated free funds flow in 2021. This would result in a year-end 2021
total debt to full-year 2021 adjusted funds flow ratio of 0.8x.
• Annual average production guidance has been tightened to 79,000 to 80,000 boe/d (within the Corporation’s
previous guidance range of 79,000 to 81,000 boe/d) and second half average production guidance has been
updated to 82,000 to 83,000 boe/d (previously 84,000 to 86,000 boe/d). Birchcliff’s production was impacted
by a force majeure event at a third-party fractionation facility and a significant outage on a third-party NGLs
pipeline system that occurred in the late third and early fourth quarters.
• Average royalty expense is now expected to be $2.60/boe to $2.80/boe (previously $2.40/boe to $2.60/boe),
primarily as a result of the improvement in the commodity price forecast.
• Average operating expense is now expected to be $3.00/boe to $3.20/boe (previously $2.90/boe to $3.10/boe),
primarily as a result of the strengthening commodity prices that have increased power and fuel costs.
Q3 2021 FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL RESULTS
Birchcliff’s production averaged 84,924 boe/d in Q3 2021, an 8% increase from 78,376 boe/d in Q3 2020. Production
in Q3 2021 was positively impacted by incremental production volumes from the new Montney/Doig light oil and
condensate-rich natural gas wells brought on production since September 30, 2020. Production was negatively
impacted by natural production declines and a force majeure event at a third-party fractionation facility and a
significant outage on a third-party NGLs pipeline system experienced in late September 2021.
Liquids accounted for approximately 19% of Birchcliff’s total production in Q3 2021, as compared to approximately
24% in Q3 2020, with total liquids production decreasing by 15% from Q3 2020. The change in the corporate
commodity production mix was primarily due to Birchcliff specifically targeting natural gas wells in the Pouce Coupe
and Gordondale areas since September 30, 2020.
Adjusted Funds Flow and Cash Flow From Operating Activities
Birchcliff’s adjusted funds flow in Q3 2021 was $168.1 million, or $0.63 per basic common share, a 183% increase
and a 186% increase, respectively, from $59.4 million and $0.22 per basic common share in Q3 2020. The increases
were primarily due to an 84% increase in petroleum and natural gas revenue, partially offset by a higher royalty
expense, both of which were largely impacted by a 70% increase in the average realized sales price received for
Birchcliff’s production in Q3 2021 as compared to Q3 2020. Birchcliff’s average realized sales price in Q3 2021
benefited from the significant increases in benchmark oil and natural gas prices since Q3 2020. See “Q3 2021
Financial and Operational Results – Commodity Prices”.
Birchcliff’s cash flow from operating activities in Q3 2021 was $155.6 million, a 194% increase from $53.0 million in
Q3 2020. The reason for the increase is consistent with the explanation for the increase to adjusted funds flow.
Net Income (Loss) to Common Shareholders
Birchcliff recorded net income to common shareholders of $138.4 million, or $0.52 per basic common share, in Q3
2021, as compared to a net loss to common shareholders of $17.7 million, or $0.07 per basic common share in Q3
The change to a net income position was primarily due to higher adjusted funds flow and an unrealized aftertax mark-to-market gain on financial instruments of $54.3 million in Q3 2021 as compared to an unrealized after-tax
mark-to-market loss on financial instruments of $19.7 million in Q3 2020.
Birchcliff’s operating expense was $2.96/boe in Q3 2021, an 8% increase from $2.73/boe in Q3 2020. The increase
was primarily due to stronger commodity prices, which resulted in higher power and fuel costs, partially offset by
higher average production in Q3 2021 as compared to Q3 2020.
Birchcliff’s operating netback was $23.52/boe in Q3 2021, a 96% increase from $12.03/boe in Q3 2020. The increase
was primarily due to higher per boe petroleum and natural gas revenue, partially offset by a higher per boe royalty
expense in Q3 2021.
Total Cash Costs
Birchcliff’s total cash costs were $11.81/boe in Q3 2021, a 26% increase from $9.37/boe in Q3 2020. The increase
was largely attributable to a higher per boe royalty expense.
Pouce Coupe Gas Plant Netbacks
During the nine months ended September 30, 2021, Birchcliff processed 69% of its total corporate natural gas
production and 62% of its total corporate production through the Pouce Coupe Gas Plant as compared to 69% and
59%, respectively, during the nine months ended September 30, 2020. The following table sets forth Birchcliff’s
average daily production and operating netback for wells producing to the Pouce Coupe Gas Plant f
Pouce Coupe 8-Well Pad (14-28-77-13W6) Update
Birchcliff’s 14-28 pad in Pouce Coupe was drilled in Q1 and Q2 2021 and brought on production in July 2021 through
Birchcliff’s owned and operated infrastructure. Wells were drilled in two different intervals (six in the Basal
Doig/Upper Montney and two in the Montney D1). The wells from the 14-28 pad have now been producing for over
60 days and have produced at better rates than previously forecast. During the initial 30 and 60 days of production,
the pad was flowing inline post-fracture condensate, raw natural gas and frac water. The production rates of the
wells are stabilized and the frac water flowing back to surface continues to diminish over time.