SM ENERGY REPORTS THIRD QUARTER 2021 RESULTS

DENVER, Oct. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — SM Energy Company (the “Company”) (NYSE: SM) today announced operating and financial results for the third quarter 2021 and provided certain fourth quarter and updated full year 2021 guidance.

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Third quarter 2021 highlights:

  • Production was 14.3 MMBoe (155.8 MBoe/d) and was 56% oil. Production volumes exceeded expectations, benefiting from higher base production, reduced flaring and the effect of larger fracture stimulations in the Midland Basin and the successful early completion of certain wells in South Texas. As a result, the Company is increasing guidance for 2021 production volumes to 49.5-50.0 MMBoe (135.6-137.0 MBoe/d).
  • Net income and Earnings per share were $85.6 million and $0.69 per diluted common share, respectively.
  • Capital expenditures reflected stable drilling and completion costs at approximately $520 per lateral foot. Capital expenditures of $180.1 million adjusted for decreased capital accruals of $20.1 million totaled $160.0 million.
  • Cash flows beat expectations due to higher-than-expected production volumes and realized prices. Net cash provided by operating activities of $328.1 million before net change in working capital of $(21.1) million totaled $307.0 million, up 66% year-over-year and up 44% sequentially. Free cash flow and Adjusted EBITDAX (non-GAAP measures defined and reconciled below) were $147.1 million and $346.7 million, respectively.
  • New Austin Chalk wells drilled at development spacing demonstrate consistent performance. Six wells drilled at spacing ranging between 675 and 1,000 feet had average 30-day peak IP rates of 2,000 Boe/d (3-stream) with 1,100 Bo/d oil, or 51-54% oil and 74-78% liquids.
  • Balance sheet strengthened and year-end 2022 leverage target met more than one year early. At quarter-end, net debt-to-Adjusted EBITDAX (non-GAAP measure defined and reconciled below) was less than 2 times, a target set for year-end 2022. As a result of a reduction in principal amount of long-term debt and a cash and cash equivalents balance at September 30, 2021, net debt (a non-GAAP measure defined and reconciled below) was reduced by $147.8 million during the quarter.
  • ESG disclosure for 2020 was completed in August with publication of the 2020 Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) report as well as tear sheets with updated metrics relevant to understanding the Company’s 2020 ESG performance.

Chief Executive Officer Herb Vogel comments: “Outstanding operational performance underscores a terrific quarter. The SM Energy team successfully completed six Austin Chalk wells at development spacing, delivered further improved well performance in the Midland Basin employing significantly larger completions in the majority of wells year-to-date, and solved a casing issue experienced last fall enabling five Austin Chalk wells to turn-in-line sooner than expected. This exceptional performance combined with continued strength in commodity prices generated strong free cash flow. We met our year-end 2022 leverage target during the quarter and will enter 2022 with substantial momentum toward generating a highly competitive free cash flow yield to market capitalization and reducing leverage to less than 1.5 times. On the ESG front, operations and IT have teamed up with a new effort to focus on evaluating and implementing emerging field technologies that will help the Company measure, monitor and decrease emissions. The team has already initiated a pilot project at Sweetie Peck with technology to provide continuous methane emissions detection.”

  • Production volumes were two-thirds from the Midland Basin and one-third from South Texas.
  • Total production volumes of 14.3 MMBoe (155.8 MBoe/d) were up 23% compared with the prior year period and up 15% sequentially. Production was 56% oil. The Company accelerated capital activity into the second and third quarters to take advantage of the prevailing cost structure and to optimize cash flow, resulting in strong sequential production growth.
  • Midland Basin production volumes exceeded expectations for the quarter, benefiting from higher base production, lower than expected flaring and the implementation of larger fracture stimulations initiated in the fall of 2020. The Company increased the proppant and fluid volumes applied to the majority of Midland Basin completions year-to-date, anticipating six-to-12 months to test the results. Proppant was increased from approximately 1800 pounds to 2800 pounds per foot.
  • South Texas production volumes benefited from turning-in-line five wells that had previously been deferred to 2022 as a result of casing issues. Following successful remediation, the need to redrill these wells was avoided. The wells were completed, with some having shorter effective lateral completion lengths than originally planned. Early production from these wells is indicating strong oil content of approximately 58-79%, and the wells have not reached 30-day peak IP rates.
  • The average realized price before the effect of hedges was $53.02 per Boe and the average realized price after the effect of hedges was $38.12 per Boe.
    • Benchmark pricing for the quarter included NYMEX WTI at $70.56/Bbl, NYMEX Henry Hub natural gas at $4.01/MMBtu and Hart Composite NGLs at $40.39/Bbl.
    • The average realized price per Boe of $53.02 before the effect of hedges was up 118% compared with the prior year period and up 17% sequentially.
    • The effect of commodity derivative settlements was a loss of $14.90 per Boe, or $213.6 million.

For additional operating metrics and regional detail, please see the Financial Highlights section below and the accompanying 3Q21 slide deck.

NET INCOME (LOSS), NET INCOME (LOSS) PER SHARE AND NET CASH PROVIDED BY OPERATING ACTIVITIES

Third quarter 2021 net income was $85.6 million, or $0.69 per diluted common share, compared with a net loss of $(98.3) million, or $(0.86) per diluted common share, for the same period in 2020. The current year period benefited from 46% higher oil production and a 118% increase in the realized price per Boe before the effects of hedges, leading to a 169% increase in revenue. Higher revenue in the current year period was partially offset by a $209.1 million net derivative loss, compared with a net derivative loss of $63.9 million in the prior year period and by a $41.0 million charge to other operating expense for various legal settlements. For the first nine months of 2021, net loss was $(388.7) million, or $(3.29) per diluted common share, compared with $(599.4) million, or $(5.28) per diluted common share, in the prior year period.

Third quarter 2021 net cash provided by operating activities of $328.1 million before net change in working capital of $(21.1) million totaled $307.0 million, which was up 66% from $184.8 million in the comparable prior year period. The increase in the third quarter 2021 reflected a 23% increase in production volumes and a 199% increase in the operating margin, before the effects of commodity derivative settlements, compared with the prior year period. This increase was partially offset by a $213.6 million derivative settlement loss in the current year period versus a $70.3 million derivative settlement gain in the prior year period. For the first nine months of 2021, net cash provided by operating activities of $730.1 million before net changes in working capital of $(52.2) million totaled $678.0 million, up 18% from the prior year period.

ADJUSTED EBITDAX, ADJUSTED NET INCOME (LOSS) AND NET DEBT-TO-ADJUSTED EBITDAX

The following paragraphs discuss non-GAAP measures including Adjusted EBITDAX, adjusted net income (loss), adjusted net income (loss) per diluted common share and net debt-to-Adjusted EBITDAX. Please reference the definitions and reconciliations of these measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures at the end of this release.

Third quarter 2021 Adjusted EBITDAX was $346.7 million, up 49% from the same period in 2020, and up 35% sequentially. The increase in Adjusted EBITDAX was primarily due to the increase in total production and higher operating margin, including the effect of derivative settlements. For the first nine months of 2021, Adjusted EBITDAX was $818.5 million, up 14% from the prior year period.

Third quarter 2021 adjusted net income was $91.5 million, or $0.74 per diluted common share, compared with adjusted net loss of $(5.5) million, or $(0.05) per diluted common share, for the same period in 2020. For the first nine months of 2021, adjusted net income was $86.7 million, or $0.73 per diluted common share, compared with an adjusted net loss of $(28.5) million, or $(0.25) per diluted common share, in the prior year period.

At September 30, 2021, net debt-to-Adjusted EBITDAX was 1.96 times, down from 2.35 times at June 30, 2021.

FINANCIAL POSITION, LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL EXPENDITURES

On September 30, 2021, the outstanding principal amount of the Company’s long-term debt was $2.14 billion and was comprised of $1.69 billion in unsecured senior notes, $446.7 million in secured senior notes, with zero drawn on the Company’s senior secured revolving credit facility.

Subsequent to September 30, 2021, the Company’s borrowing base and commitments under its senior secured revolving credit facility were reaffirmed by its lenders at $1.1 billion. At September 30, 2021, available liquidity was $1.13 billion including the revolving credit facility and a cash balance of $29.8 million. Net debt (non-GAAP measure defined and reconciled below) was reduced by $147.8 million during the quarter.

Third quarter 2021 capital expenditures of $180.1 million, adjusted for decreased capital accruals of $20.1 million, totaled $160.0 million. During the quarter, the Company drilled 14 net wells and completed 24 net wells in the Midland Basin and drilled 10 net wells and completed 11 net wells in South Texas. All of the South Texas completions were Austin Chalk wells. For the first nine months of 2021, capital expenditures of $550.3 million adjusted for change in capital accruals of $8.9 million totaled $559.2 million and the Company drilled 64 and completed 97 net wells, consistent with the full year plan. Full year capital expenditures adjusted for change in capital accruals is expected to range between $670-675 million and include approximately 80 net wells drilled and 110 net wells completed.

COMMODITY DERIVATIVES

As of October 22, 2021, commodity derivative positions for the fourth quarter include:

  • OIL: Approximately 70-75% of expected 4Q oil production is hedged to WTI at an average price of $41.70/Bbl.
  • Midland Basin oil differential: Approximately 60% of expected 4Q Midland Basin oil production is hedged to the local price point at a positive $0.71/Bbl basis.
  • NATURAL GAS: Approximately 80% of expected 4Q natural gas production is hedged (based on dry gas volumes). 12,412 BBtu is hedged to HSC at an average price of $2.41/MMBtu, and 7,627 BBtu is hedged to WAHA at an average price of $1.82/MMBtu.
  • NGL hedges are by individual product and include propane and normal butane swaps for the remainder of 2021.

As of October 22, 2021, commodity derivative positions for 2022, assuming comparable production volumes to 2021, would approximate (the Company expects to provide 2022 production guidance in February 2022):

  • OIL: Approximately 40% of expected 2022 oil production is hedged.
  • NATURAL GAS: Approximately 50% of expected 2022 natural gas production (based on dry gas volumes) is hedged.

A detailed schedule of these and other derivative positions are provided in the 3Q21 accompanying slide deck.

GUIDANCE

Full year 2021:

  • The production guidance range is increased and narrowed to 49.5-50.0 MMBoe, or 135.6-137.0 MBoe/d, with 54%-55% oil.
  • Capital expenditure guidance is narrowed to $670-675 million.
  • LOE per Boe is reduced to $4.50-$4.60.
  • Transportation per Boe is reduced to ~$2.75.
  • Ad valorem and production taxes per Boe are increased to correspond to higher commodity prices to $2.70-$2.75.
  • Exploration expense is reduced to ~$40 million.
  • DD&A expense per Boe is reduced to $15.00-$15.50.
  • G&A is updated to $100-110 million.

Fourth quarter 2021:

  • Production of 12.7-13.2 MMBoe or 138-143.5 MBoe/d. The production range reflects timing of new wells being turned-in-line.
  • Capital expenditures of $111-116 million.

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