Crew Energy Inc. Announces First Quarter 2018 Financial and Operating Results

CALGARY, Alberta, May 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Crew Energy Inc. (TSX:CR) (“Crew” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce our operating and financial results for the three month period ended March 31, 2018.  Our Financial Statements and Notes, as well as Management’s Discussion and Analysis (“MD&A”) for the three month period ended March 31, 2018 are available on Crew’s website and filed on SEDAR. 


  • Production Growth in Q1 2018:  At 25,939 boe per day, average volumes were 12% higher than Q1 2017 reflecting Crew’s program focused on completion of condensate-rich wells at West Septimus in northeast British Columbia (“NE BC”).
  • Increased Montney Condensate Production:  Crew’s continued focus on condensate-rich opportunities at West Septimus resulted in Montney condensate production increasing 41% to average 2,699 bbls per day and other natural gas liquids increasing 24% to average 1,792 bbls per day relative to Q1 2017.  Realized prices in Q1 2018 for condensate and other natural gas liquids were stronger relative to Q1 2017, averaging $73.82 per bbl and $24.81 per bbl, respectively.
  • Robust Greater Septimus Netbacks Support Adjusted Funds Flow:  Corporate operating netbacks averaged $14.70 per boe in Q1 2018, while Greater Septimus operating netbacks were 18% higher averaging $17.30 per boe.  Adjusted Funds Flow (“AFF”) of $26.4 million ($0.17 per diluted share) was 5% lower than Q1 2017, with higher production and stronger condensate and other natural gas liquids pricing offset by lower realized natural gas and heavy oil pricing.
  • Capital Activity Focused on Completion of Condensate-Rich Wells:  Net capital expenditures totaled $23.9 million ($33.9 million before dispositions), directed to the completion of nine (7.7 net) previously-drilled wells at West Septimus and the recompletion of 11 (10.5 net) heavy oil wells in Lloydminster.  Three of the nine West Septimus wells were brought on production during Q1 with the remaining six wells expected to be brought on in late Q2 or early Q3.  The Company also completed the majority of the construction of 83 km of line pipe from the West Septimus facility through Groundbirch to the Saturn meter station.
  • Balance Sheet Strength Maintained:  Net debt declined $6.7 million from year end 2017 to $338.3 million, including $300 million of term debt that has no repayment required until 2024. Crew completed our annual bank review maintaining the borrowing base of our syndicated credit facility at $235 million supported by our strong 2017 proved developed producing reserve additions.  The Company also closed a $10.0 million cash disposition of certain assets within the Lloydminster area comprised of 882 acres of land with no associated production.


($ thousands, except per share amounts)
    Three months

Mar. 31, 2018
  Three months
Mar. 31, 2017
Petroleum and natural gas sales     59,427   57,298  
Adjusted Funds Flow(1)     26,373   27,719  
  Per share  - basic     0.18   0.19  
                    - diluted     0.17   0.18  
Net income     4,148   8,056  
  Per share  - basic     0.03   0.05  
                    - diluted     0.03   0.05  
Exploration and Development expenditures     33,921   75,164  
Property acquisitions (net of dispositions)     (10,007 ) (352 )
Net capital expenditures     23,914   74,812  
Capital Structure 
($ thousands)
    As at 
Mar. 31, 2018
  As at 
Dec. 31, 2017
Working capital (surplus) deficiency(2)     (3,324 ) 29,143  
Bank loan     47,529   21,977  
      44,205   51,120  
Senior Unsecured Notes     294,121   293,862  
Total Net Debt     338,326   344,982  
Common Shares Outstanding (thousands)     149,346   149,328  


(1) Adjusted funds flow is calculated as cash provided by operating activities, adding the change in non-cash working capital, decommissioning obligation expenditures and accretion of deferred financing costs.  Adjusted funds flow is used to analyze the Company’s operating performance and leverage.  Adjusted funds flow does not have a standardized measure prescribed by International Financial Reporting Standards and therefore may not be comparable with the calculations of similar measures for other companies.  See “Non-IFRS Measures” contained within Crew’s MD&A. 
(2) Working capital (surplus) deficiency includes cash and cash equivalents plus accounts receivable less accounts payable and accrued liabilities.

Operations     Three months

Mar. 31, 2018
Three months
Mar. 31, 2017
Daily production        
  Light crude oil (bbl/d)     316 530
  Heavy crude oil (bbl/d)     1,747 1,857
  Condensate (bbl/d)     2,699 1,915
  Other natural gas liquids (bbl/d)     1,792 1,448
  Natural gas (mcf/d)     116,312 104,887
  Total (boe/d @ 6:1)     25,939 23,231
Average prices (1)        
  Light crude oil ($/bbl)     68.20 59.74
  Heavy crude oil ($/bbl)     36.09 42.93
  Condensate ($/bbl)     73.82 63.61
  Natural gas liquids ($/bbl)     24.81 22.06
  Natural gas ($/mcf)     2.85 3.54
  Oil equivalent ($/boe)     25.46 27.40


(1) Average prices do not include gains and losses on financial instruments.


      Three months

Mar. 31, 2018
  Three months

Mar. 31, 2017
Netback ($/boe)        
  Petroleum and natural gas sales     25.46   27.40  
  Royalties     (1.72 ) (2.18 )
  Realized commodity hedging loss     (0.93 ) (0.39 )
  Marketing revenue (1)     0.29   -  
  Net operating costs     (6.29 ) (5.38 )
  Transportation costs     (2.11 ) (2.29 )
  Operating netback (2)     14.70   17.16  
  G&A     (1.39 ) (1.50 )
  Other income     0.43   -  
  Financing costs on long-term debt       (2.44 ) (2.41 )
  Adjusted funds flow     11.30   13.25  
Drilling Activity        
  Gross wells     0   15  
  Working interest wells     0.0   15.0  
  Success rate, net wells (%)     -   93 %


(1) Marketing revenue was recognized from the monetization of forward physical sales contracts in the period.
(2) Operating netback equals petroleum and natural gas sales including realized hedging gains and losses on commodity contracts less royalties, operating costs and transportation costs calculated on a boe basis.  Operating netback and adjusted funds flow netback do not have a standardized measure prescribed by International Financial Reporting Standards and therefore may not be comparable with the calculations of similar measures for other companies. See “Non IFRS Measures” within Crew’s MD&A.


Higher Production from West Septimus

  • Q1 2018 production of 25,939 boe per day is a 12% increase over the first quarter of 2017 and 3% higher than the previous quarter and reflects continued strong results at West Septimus, with only three of the nine wells completed during Q1 2018 brought on stream through permanent facilities and two (1.6 net) wells that were flow-tested over an extended period. 
  • The Company continues to manage natural gas production given weak prices realized at delivery points in Canada.  In particular, legacy dry gas production, processed and transported through third party facilities, has been limited during times when realized prices at Station II have fallen below $1.50 per GJ.
  • Planned maintenance programs by all Canadian pipeline operators during Q2 2018 have impacted Canadian natural gas prices.  As such, Crew has budgeted to leave six of the West Septimus wells completed during the first quarter shut-in through most of Q2.  The Company currently plans to bring the wells on stream later in the year when prices are expected to recover.

Adjusted Funds Flow Exceeds Net Capital Expenditures

  • Q1 2018 AFF totaled $26.4 million ($0.17 per diluted share), exceeding net capital expenditures during the period.  AFF was 5% lower (6% on a diluted per share basis) relative to Q1 2017, and 23% lower on an absolute and per share basis compared to Q4 2017, as higher production volumes were offset by lower realized natural gas and heavy oil pricing.
  • Petroleum and natural gas sales in Q1 2018 increased 4% over Q1 2017 as a result of higher production volumes, in particular higher condensate production, and improved pricing for light oil, condensate and other natural gas liquids prices.  This was partially offset by lower heavy oil and natural gas prices and higher cash costs.
  • Cash costs per boe have increased 1% over Q1 2017 as lower royalties and general and administrative costs were offset by an increase in operating costs.  Operating costs have increased over the first and fourth quarter of 2017 with a full quarter of fixed costs associated with the expanded West Septimus facility realized in Q1 2018.  The expanded West Septimus facility provides Crew with the processing capacity to increase corporate production by over 50% from current levels, including the handling of an additional 5,000 barrels per day of incremental liquids production.  

Greater Septimus Netbacks Remain Robust

  • Greater Septimus operating netbacks were $17.30 per boe in Q1 2018, 18% higher than Crew’s corporate operating netback of $14.70 per boe. Year over year netbacks at Greater Septimus reflect lower realized natural gas pricing and an increase in unit operating costs at the recently expanded West Septimus gas processing facility, offset by an increase in condensate production, higher prices for condensate and NGLs and lower royalties.

Strong Liquids Pricing Partially Offset Weak Natural Gas Prices

  • Q1 2018 commodity prices averaged $25.46 per boe, a 7% decline over Q1 2017 and a 2% decline over the previous quarter.
  • Realized total liquids prices increased 9% to $50.09 per boe compared to Q1 2017, a decrease of 7% over Q4 2017.  Crew’s liquids pricing in the first quarter benefited from increased condensate production relative to other, lower valued liquids and stronger condensate pricing, offset by weaker pricing for the Company’s heavy oil sales.  A stronger West Texas Intermediate (“WTI”) benchmark price, which increased 13% quarter over quarter and 16% compared to Q1 2017, benefited Crew’s light oil and condensate pricing.  The WTI increase was supported by tightening world oil markets and geopolitical tensions that continue to build between several nations.
  • Conversely, Canadian heavy oil prices represented by the Western Canadian Select benchmark were 11% lower quarter over quarter and 1% lower compared to Q1 2017. Canadian heavy oil prices were negatively impacted by limited export transportation options out of western Canada and high inventory levels caused by a major export pipeline outage in the fourth quarter of 2017.
  • Realized natural gas prices decreased 19% to $2.85 per mcf compared to Q1 2017, while increasing 8% over Q4 2017.  Natural gas prices year over year have been impacted by increasing natural gas production throughout North America.  The oversupplied market situation has been amplified in Canada as bottlenecks in our natural gas pipeline system have limited the delivery of Canadian production to markets outside of western Canada.  This has significantly widened the differential between western Canadian benchmark prices and those outside of this region.  Crew’s diversified marketing portfolio, which had 42% exposure to Chicago City Gate prices in the first quarter, contributed to Crew outperforming the AECO 5A benchmark price by 37%.

Capital Expenditures Focused at West Septimus

  • Q1 2018 exploration and development expenditures of $33.9 million ($23.9 million net of the impact of dispositions) included the completion of nine (7.7 net) liquids-rich wells in West Septimus, of which three were tied-in during the quarter. 
  • During the first quarter, Crew closed a $10.0 million cash disposition of certain assets in the Lloydminster area comprised of 882 acres of land, directing the proceeds to offset a portion of the first quarter capital program.

Balance Sheet Strength and Financial Flexibility Remain a Priority

  • Balance sheet strength and ongoing financial flexibility were strengthened with net debt declining to $338.3 million, including $300 million of term debt with no financial covenants and no repayment required until 2024. 
  • Crew exited the period 20% drawn on our $235 million bank facility.  The Company’s bank syndicate recently completed its annual review extending the facility for an additional one-year term and maintaining the borrowing base at $235 million, supported by our strong 2017 proved developed producing reserve additions. 


  • Natural Gas Pricing Exposure:  Approximately 40% Chicago City Gate, 19% AECO, 16% Alliance ATP, 13% Dawn, 8% Malin and 4% Sumas through the second and third quarters of 2018.
  • Crystalizing Value:  During Q1 the Company elected to monetize the value inherent in our Dawn and Malin market exposure for Q2 and Q3 of 2018.  As a result, the Company realized $0.7 million of marketing revenue in Q1 related to the monetization of 50% of Crew’s Q2 and Q3 Malin exposure.  An additional amount of approximately $3.0 million of marketing revenue will be recognized over Q2 and Q3 related to the monetization of the remaining Malin and Crew’s Dawn exposure for those periods.
  • New Natural Gas Sales Exposure:  Commencing in Q4 2018, the Company will benefit from additional natural gas sales exposure that complements our long-standing market diversification strategy and offers access to further natural gas delivery points, including Nymex. 

Natural Gas & Liquids Hedging

  • Approximately 24% of budgeted 2018 natural gas volumes are hedged at an average of $2.50 per GJ or approximately $2.64 per mcf which increases to approximately $3.10 per mcf after adjusting for Crew’s heat conversion.
  • Through 2018, 2,750 bbls per day of WTI are hedged at a minimum average price of C$72.57 per bbl, 500 bbls per day of Western Canadian Select for the second half of 2018 at an average price of C$57.90 per bbl and 400 bbls per day of OPIS Conway propane hedged at US$0.7863 per gallon or US$33.03 per bbl.
  • The Company has started adding to our 2019 risk management program with 1,500 barrels per day of WTI hedged at an average price of C$72.88 per barrel.  As a result of the weak forward pricing for natural gas, the Company has only hedged 2,500 mmbtu per day of Chicago City Gate gas at C$3.16 per mmbtu.


NE BC Montney - Greater Septimus

  • Three (3.0 net) wells were placed on production at rates that were disclosed in Crew’s February 8, 2018 press release.  Six (4.7 net) new wells situated within the West Septimus core area were completed in the quarter with limited flow data.  To facilitate water management, two of the six wells were flow tested for an extended period and produced at an average rate of 7.4 mmcf per day and 325 bbls per day of NGLs (55% condensate) after ten days of post-frac flow at an average flowing casing pressure of 2,258 psi over the last six hours of the test, equating to an average per well sales rate of 1,473 boe per day.  Crew expects to have additional flow data from these wells in our Q2 2018 press release in August.  The cost for the six wells averaged approximately $4.3 million per well.
  • In the first quarter of 2018, Crew completed the majority of the construction of strategic line pipe infrastructure from the West Septimus facility through our Groundbirch acreage connecting into the existing TCPL Saturn meter station and expects the project to be finalized by the end of the third quarter.  This will complete Crew’s goal of accessing all three major export pipelines in BC.
  • Crew continuously evaluates the drilling and completion evolution in the ultra-condensate rich (“UCR”) Montney reservoirs across Western Canada and has developed a next generation plan for the development of this highly prospective area. Immediately after spring breakup we plan to begin drilling the next four well pad in the UCR area at lengths that are 30-50% longer and we intend to utilize a revised cased-hole plug and perf completion design which is expected to improve condensate recovery. 

Greater Septimus Operational Statistics

Production & Drilling Q1
  Average daily production (boe/d) 20,467 20,193 18,154 15,558 17,440
  Wells drilled (gross / net) - 5 / 3.9 13 / 12.3 5 / 5.0 10 / 10.0
  Wells completed (gross / net) 9 / 7.7 3 / 3.0 14 / 14.0 9 / 9.0 3 / 3.0


Operating Netback(1) 
($ per boe)
  Revenue 25.40   24.43   20.05   24.51   26.49  
  Royalties (1.50 ) (1.19 ) (0.89 ) (1.57 ) (1.66 )
% basis 5.9 % 4.9 % 4.4 % 6.4 % 6.3 %
  Realized commodity hedge (loss) / gain (1.01 ) 1.74   2.97   0.77   (0.41 )
  Marketing Income 0.37   -   -   -   -  
  Operating costs (4.45 ) (3.67 ) (3.38 ) (4.10 ) (3.34 )
  Transportation costs (1.51 ) (1.51 ) (1.65 ) (2.03 ) (1.67 )
  Operating netback 17.30   19.80   17.10   17.58   19.41  


(1) Operating netback equals petroleum and natural gas sales including realized hedging gains and losses on commodity contracts less royalties, operating costs and transportation costs calculated on a boe basis.  Operating netback does not have a standardized measure prescribed by International Financial Reporting Standards and therefore may not be comparable with the calculations of similar measures for other companies. See “Non IFRS Measures” within Crew’s MD&A.

NE BC Montney - Tower

  • Production in the Tower area averaged 1,065 boe per day in Q1 2018. Crew continues to evaluate the relative economics of Tower development as well as the encouraging early results from our peers in the Lower Montney.
  • A strategic partner completed construction of a water handling facility at Tower during Q1 2018, and Crew is a priority customer.  In light of reduced operating costs associated with improved water handling coupled with the strength in oil prices, Tower’s economics represent an attractive option for continued investment.

AB / SK Heavy Oil - Lloydminster

  • Crew’s previously announced sales process in respect of our Lloydminster asset is ongoing, while netbacks in the area continue to improve as benchmark crude oil prices have increased and differentials have narrowed.  During the first quarter, the Company divested of 882 acres of land at Lloydminster with no associated production and approximately $0.4 million of abandonment and reclamation obligations for cash proceeds of $10.0 million.
  • Despite limited capital investment, average production in the area was 1,748 boe per day during the first quarter, representing a 3% decline over the previous quarter.  Activities included the recompletion of 11 (10.5 net) oil wells for total capital cost of $0.5 million. 


Execution of Fully Funded Budget Remains on Track

  • Crew’s Q2 capital expenditures are expected to be approximately $12 to $15 million, reflecting reduced activity and restricted access typically associated with spring breakup.  The capital expenditure budget has been maintained at $80 to 85 million (gross) or net $70 to 75 million after the impact of the Q1 disposition. 

Annual Production on Budget with Second Quarter Forecast Reflecting Broader Market Conditions

  • Pipeline restrictions in Canada continue to plague the industry and have resulted in lower benchmark prices. Several third-party pipeline maintenance activities are scheduled in Alberta and BC during Q2 2018, leading to interruptible export and storage service restrictions that are currently being reflected in very low Western Canadian natural gas prices for May and June.
  • In light of weak pricing, Crew plans to shut-in volumes to preserve value.  However, with our diversified marketing strategy, the Company maintains optionality to reduce exposure to markets that do not offer economic pricing and we will continue to closely monitor natural gas market dynamics and adjust production levels to generate optimal returns.
  • Currently, Crew has six (4.7 net) completed wells and four (3.6 net) drilled uncompleted wells to bring on production when prices are supportive.  In addition, following spring breakup, the Company will commence drilling a four well pad in the UCR area.  Based on activity levels through spring break-up, the impact of shutting-in volumes and electing to defer producing the six wells completed in the first quarter, Q2 production is expected to average 22,000 to 23,000 boe per day, which is in-line with our original budget and supportive of Crew’s annual forecast average production of 23,500 to 24,500 boe per day.

We thank our employees, contractors and directors for their commitment and dedication through the current market conditions, and we thank all of our shareholders and bondholders for their continued support of Crew.

Cautionary Statements

Information Regarding Disclosure on Oil and Gas and Operational Information

This press release contains metrics commonly used in the oil and natural gas industry, such as “adjusted funds flow” and "operating netbacks".  These terms do not have standardized meanings or standardized methods of calculation and therefore may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies, and therefore should not be used to make such comparisons.  Such metrics have been included herein to provide readers with additional information to evaluate the Company’s performance, however such metrics should not be unduly relied upon. Management uses oil and gas metrics for its own performance measurements and to provide shareholders with measures to compare Crew's operations over time.  Readers are cautioned that the information provided by these metrics, or that can be derived from the metrics presented in this press release, should not be relied upon for investment or other purposes.

Forward-Looking Information and Statements

This news release contains certain forward–looking information and statements within the meaning of applicable securities laws.  The use of any of the words "expect", "anticipate", "continue", "estimate", "may", "will", "project", "should", "believe", "plans", "intends" “forecast” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking information or statements.  In particular, but without limiting the foregoing, this news release contains forward-looking information and statements pertaining to the following: the estimated volumes, including shut-ins, and product mix of Crew's oil and gas production;production estimates including Q2 and 2018 average production forecasts; commodity price expectations including Crew’s estimates of natural gas pricing exposure; Crew's commodity risk management programs; marketing, transportation and natural gas egress plans; future liquidity and financial capacity; future results from operations and operating metrics; potential for lower costs and efficiencies going forward; future development, exploration, acquisition and disposition activities (including drilling, completion and infrastructure plans and methodology and associated timing and cost estimates); the amount and timing of capital projects; the potential sale of our heavy oil assets; Q2 and 2018 capital expenditure and operational plans and priorities; and Crew’s 2018 budget and methods of funding our capital program.

In addition, forward-looking statements or information are based on a number of material factors, expectations or assumptions of Crew which have been used to develop such statements and information but which may prove to be incorrect.  Although Crew believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements or information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements because Crew can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct.  In addition to other factors and assumptions which may be identified herein, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things: that Crew will continue to conduct its operations in a manner consistent with past operations; results from drilling and development activities consistent with past operations; the quality of the reservoirs in which Crew operates and continued performance from existing wells; the continued and timely development of infrastructure in areas of new production; the accuracy of the estimates of Crew’s reserve volumes; certain commodity price and other cost assumptions; continued availability of debt and equity financing and cash flow to fund Crew’s current and future plans and expenditures; the impact of increasing competition; the general stability of the economic and political environment in which Crew operates; the general continuance of current industry conditions; the timely receipt of any required regulatory approvals; the ability of Crew to obtain qualified staff, equipment and services in a timely and cost efficient manner; drilling results; the ability of the operator of the projects in which Crew has an interest in to operate the field in a safe, efficient and effective manner; the ability of Crew to obtain financing on acceptable terms; field production rates and decline rates; the ability to replace and expand oil and natural gas reserves through acquisition, development and exploration; the timing and cost of pipeline, storage and facility construction and expansion and the ability of Crew to secure adequate product transportation; future commodity prices; currency, exchange and interest rates; regulatory framework regarding royalties, taxes and environmental matters in the jurisdictions in which Crew operates; and the ability of Crew to successfully market its oil and natural gas products. 

The forward-looking information and statements included in this news release are not guarantees of future performance and should not be unduly relied upon.  Such information and statements, including the assumptions made in respect thereof, involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to defer materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking information or statements including, without limitation: changes in commodity prices; changes in the demand for or supply of Crew's products, the early stage of development of some of the evaluated areas and zones the potential for variation in the quality of the Montney formation; unanticipated operating results or production declines; changes in tax or environmental laws, royalty rates or other regulatory matters; changes in development plans of Crew or by third party operators of Crew's properties, increased debt levels or debt service requirements; inaccurate estimation of Crew's oil and gas reserve volumes; limited, unfavourable or a lack of access to capital markets; increased costs; a lack of adequate insurance coverage; the impact of competitors; and certain other risks detailed from time-to-time in Crew's public disclosure documents (including, without limitation, those risks identified in this news release and Crew's Annual Information Form).

The forward-looking information and statements contained in this news release speak only as of the date of this news release, and Crew does not assume any obligation to publicly update or revise any of the included forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities laws.

Test Results and Initial Production Rates

A pressure transient analysis or well-test interpretation has not been carried out and thus certain of the test results provided herein should be considered to be preliminary until such analysis or interpretation has been completed.  Test results and initial production rates disclosed herein, particularly those short in duration, may not necessarily be indicative of long term performance or of ultimate recovery.

BOE equivalent

Barrel of oil equivalents or BOEs may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation.  A BOE conversion ratio of 6 mcf: 1 bbl is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead.  Given that the value ratio based on the current price of crude oil as compared to natural gas is significantly different than the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing the 6:1 conversion ratio may be misleading as an indication of value.

Crew is a growth-oriented oil and natural gas producer, committed to pursuing sustainable per share growth through a balanced mix of financially responsible exploration and development complemented by strategic acquisitions.  The Company’s operations are primarily focused in the vast Montney resource, situated in northeast British Columbia, and include a large contiguous land base.  Crew's liquids-rich Septimus and West Septimus areas ("Greater Septimus") along with Groundbirch and the light oil area at Tower in British Columbia offer significant development potential over the long-term.  The Company has access to diversified markets with operated infrastructure and access to multiple pipeline egress options.  Crew’s common shares are listed for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange (“TSX”) under the symbol “CR”.

Financial statements and Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the three month periods ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 are filed on SEDAR at and are available on the Company’s website at


Dale Shwed, President and C.E.O.   Phone: (403) 266-2088
John Leach, Senior Vice President and C.F.O.   Email: