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RockRose Energy - Year End Trading Update

RockRose Energy plc (LSE: RRE) (the "Company"), the independent oil and gas production company, is pleased to announce it has delivered on key financial and operational targets over the course of 2019 and is well placed to continue to make further progress in 2020. Key highlights of the Company's trading performance include:


·    Pro forma Group production for the year to 31st December 2019 was in-line with guidance at ~19,200 boepd. Excluding planned shutdowns, pro forma 2019 output was ~20,500 boepd and the Group produced ~21,000 boepd in December 2019. The Foinaven field was shut down for 34 days longer than anticipated for scheduled maintenance. Overall, pro forma production increased by 78% versus the prior year average including a contribution from the Marathon Oil UK acquisition from the effective economic date of 1stJanuary 2019. Completion of the transaction occurred on 1st July 2019.


·    After instigating a regular dividend policy with an interim payment of 60p per share in October 2019, the Company continues to anticipate paying a final dividend of 25p per share, bringing the total for 2019 to 85p per share.


·    At the year end, total cash was US$370.7 million, of which US$54.9 million is restricted. Cashflows have been underpinned by enhanced production following completion of the Marathon acquisition and the Company remains debt-free.


·    Operational progress continues as planned across the portfolio. The Company will participate in seven wells over the next 12 months as it continues to convert 2C resources to 2P reserves while delivering significant production growth, and extending field life. Planned activity in 2020 includes:


o Two RockRose-operated infill wells at West Brae (RockRose 40.0%), designed to access over 3 MMbbl of net 2P reserves and add net production of 2,500 bopd. Scheduled to come onstream in Q1 and Q2 2020, drilling activity on the first of these wells has commenced.


o Four development wells at the Shell-operated Arran gas/condensate field (RockRose 30.4%). Commencing drilling in Q1 2020, the wells are forecast to add net production of over 6,000 boepd when Arran comes onstream in H1 2021. The project remains on schedule and under budget.


o The drilling of one of two infill wells planned as part of the Blake (RockRose 30.8%) life extension project. This will contribute to extending production by 5 years to 2029.


o Repsol-Sinopec and RockRose continue to target mid-2020 for the submission of a field development plan and project sanction of the Tain field (RockRose 50.0%), which is estimated to contain mid-case recoverable resources of 11.5 MMbbl (5.8 MMbbl net to RockRose) close to existing infrastructure. This would lead to first oil in H2 2022.


o In the Dutch sector, following two successful appraisal wells in 2019, the partners in the A&B Blocks are moving forward with the B10 (RockRose 14.6%) and A15 (RockRose 28.2%) developments. Both projects are targeting sanction in mid-2020 and first gas in 2022. The fields contain total resources of over 5 MMboe net to RockRose. Elsewhere in the AB unit, it is possible drilling will commence before the end of 2020 on the UDS3 project (RockRose 14.6%), which consists of two new wells and a sidetrack.


·    Average production in 2020 is forecast to be around 21,000 boe/d, which represents a 9% increase versus pro forma 2019 output.


o  This is expected to be achieved despite the planned shutdown of the Forties Pipeline System (FPS) for three weeks from mid-June onwards.


·    Capital expenditure in 2019 was ~US$80 million, which is lower than previous guidance due to phasing, and is budgeted to be ~US$200 million in 2020. This commitment to capex is anticipated to lead to higher production in the next few years as the Company takes advantage of development and infill drilling opportunities within its existing portfolio.


·    Before taking account of the benefits of tax relief, abandonment expenditure in 2019 was ~US$10 million and currently is budgeted to be ~US$25 million in 2020.


·    RockRose carries out an active hedging programme to ensure liquidity for planned capex. Currently it has hedged 455,000 bbl of oil at US$65.70/bbl for the first quarter of 2020. In addition, RockRose has hedged 1,800 Gwh of gas production for 2020 at a price of €18.05 per Mwh. This is equivalent to ~63 million therms at ~45p per therm using an exchange rate of €1.18 to £1.


Commenting, Andrew Austin, Rockrose, Executive Chairman, said:


"RockRose is well placed to continue to offer substantial returns to shareholders. We delivered a strong increase in production in 2019, which resulted in significant cash generation. In turn, this enabled us to implement a regular dividend policy to return cash to investors while continuing to invest in projects designed to drive additional future returns. We have a busy schedule in 2020, which will see organic growth in our production, and we continue to look at opportunities to deploy our balance sheet strength to make acquisitions that meet our criteria. We look forward to reporting on further progress as the year unfolds".

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