COMSTOCK RESOURCES, INC. REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER 2023 FINANCIAL AND OPERATING RESULTS

COMSTOCK RESOURCES, INC. REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER 2023 FINANCIAL AND OPERATING RESULTS

FRISCO, TX, Feb. 13, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Comstock Resources, Inc. ("Comstock" or the "Company") (NYSE: CRK) today reported financial and operating results for the quarter and year ended December 31, 2023.

Highlights of 2023's Fourth Quarter

  • Continued weak natural gas prices weighed heavily on the fourth quarter results.
  • Natural gas and oil sales, including realized hedging gains, were $354 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDAX for the quarter was $244 million.
  • Operating cash flow was $207 million or $0.75 per share.
  • Solid results from the Haynesville shale drilling program with 22 (16.5 net) operated wells turned to sales since the Company's last update with an average initial production rate of 24 MMcf per day.
  • Added 23,000 net acres in the Western Haynesville, increasing our acreage in the play to over 250,000 net acres.
  • Latest Western Haynesville successful well is currently producing at a rate of 31 MMcf per day.

Financial Results for the Three Months Ended December 31, 2023

Comstock's natural gas and oil sales in the fourth quarter of 2023 totaled $353.5 million (including realized hedging gains of $4.1 million). Operating cash flow (excluding changes in working capital) generated in the fourth quarter of 2023 was $206.9 million, and net income available to common stockholders for the fourth quarter was $108.4 million or $0.39 per share. Net income in the quarter included a pre-tax $107.3 million unrealized gain on hedging contracts held for natural gas price risk management. Excluding this item, adjusted net income for the fourth quarter of 2023 was $27.9 million, or $0.10 per share.

Comstock's production cost per Mcfe in the fourth quarter averaged $0.81 per Mcfe, which was comprised of $0.33 for gathering and transportation costs, $0.23 for lease operating costs, $0.23 for production and other taxes and $0.02 for cash general and administrative expenses. Comstock's unhedged operating margin was 67% in the fourth quarter of 2023 and 68% after hedging.

Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2023

Natural gas and oil sales for the year ended December 31, 2023 totaled $1.3 billion (including realized hedging gains of $80.3 million). Operating cash flow (excluding changes in working capital) generated during the year was $774.5 million, and net income available to common stockholders was $211.9 million or $0.76 per share. Adjusted net income excluding unrealized gain on hedging contracts for the year ended December 31, 2023 was $132.7 million or $0.47 per share.

Comstock's production cost per Mcfe during the year ended December 31, 2023 averaged $0.83 per Mcfe, which was comprised of $0.35 for gathering and transportation costs, $0.25 for lease operating costs, $0.18 for production and other taxes and $0.05 for cash general and administrative expenses. Comstock's unhedged operating margin was 65% during 2023 and 68% after hedging.

2023 Drilling Results

Comstock drilled 67 (55.5 net) operated horizontal Haynesville/Bossier shale wells in 2023, which had an average lateral length of 10,796 feet. Comstock also turned 74 (55.7 net) operated wells to sales in 2023, which had an average initial production rate of 25 MMcf per day.

Since its last operational update in November, Comstock has turned an additional 22 (16.5 net) operated Haynesville/Bossier shale wells to sales. These wells had initial daily production rates that averaged 24 MMcf per day. The completed lateral length of these wells averaged 11,966 feet. Included in the wells turned to sales since the last operational update was the eighth successful Western Haynesville well – the Neyland MMM #1, which was drilled to a total vertical depth of 16,752 feet with a 10,438 foot completed lateral. The well is currently producing 31 MMcf per day and has not reached its maximum initial production rate.

2023 Proved Oil and Gas Reserves

Comstock also announced that proved natural gas and oil reserves as of December 31, 2023 were estimated at 4.9 trillion cubic feet equivalent ("Tcfe") as compared to 6.7 Tcfe as of December 31, 2022. The reserve estimates were determined under SEC guidelines and were audited by the Company's independent reserve engineering firm. The 4.9 Tcfe of proved reserves at December 31, 2023 were substantially all natural gas, 56% developed and 98% operated by Comstock. The decrease is the result of lower natural gas prices used in the determination. The present value, using a 10% discount rate, of the future net cash flows before income taxes of the proved reserves (the "PV-10 Value"), was approximately $2.5 billion using the Company's average first of month 2023 prices of $2.39 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas and $72.63 per barrel of oil. The natural gas and oil prices used in determining the December 31, 2023 proved reserve estimates were 56% lower for natural gas and 14% lower for oil as compared to prices used at December 31, 2022. Comstock's proved reserves would have been 6.6 Tcfe with a PV-10 Value of $5.2 billion using NYMEX reference prices of $3.50 per Mcf for natural gas and $75.00 per barrel of oil less the Company's differentials.

The following table reflects the changes in the SEC proved reserve estimates since the end of 2022:

 

Total
(Bcfe)

 

Proved Reserves:

 

 

Proved Reserves at December 31, 2022

 

6,700.9

 

Production

 

(524.9

)

Extensions and discoveries

 

571.4

 

Revisions

 

(1,803.9

)

Proved Reserves at December 31, 2023

 

4,943.5

 

Despite the lower prices used in determining proved reserves, Comstock replaced 109% of its 2023 production excluding revisions, which were related to the lower prices used in the determination.

2024 Budget

In response to weak natural gas prices, Comstock plans to suspend its quarterly dividend until natural gas prices improve. In addition, the Company plans to reduce the number of operating drilling rigs it is running from seven to five. Two of the five drilling rigs will continue to be deployed in the Company's Western Haynesville play. As a result, Comstock plans to spend approximately $750 million to $850 million in 2024 on its development and exploration projects to drill 46 (35.9 net) operated horizontal wells and to turn 44 (38.2 net) operated wells to sales in 2024. Comstock expects to spend $125 million to $150 million on its Western Haynesville midstream system, which will be funded by its midstream partnership.

Earnings Call Information

Comstock has planned a conference call for 10:00 a.m. Central Time on February 14, 2024, to discuss the fourth quarter 2024 operational and financial results. Investors wishing to listen should visit the Company's website at www.comstockresources.com for a live webcast. Investors wishing to participate in the conference call telephonically will need to register at:

https://register.vevent.com/register/BI9aed23e8af74454f89bd226e82af...

Upon registering to participate in the conference call, participants will receive the dial-in number and a personal PIN number to access the conference call. On the day of the call, please dial in at least 15 minutes in advance to ensure a timely connection to the call. The conference call will also be broadcast live in listen-only mode and can be accessed via the website URL: https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/jx7owzgq.

If you are unable to participate in the original conference call, a web replay will be available for twelve months beginning at 1:00 p.m. CT on February 14, 2024. The replay of the conference can be accessed using the webcast link: https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/jx7owzgq.

This press release may contain "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described herein. Although the Company believes the expectations in such statements to be reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Information concerning the assumptions, uncertainties and risks that may affect the actual results can be found in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") available on the Company's website or the SEC's website at sec.gov.

Comstock Resources, Inc. is a leading independent natural gas producer with operations focused on the development of the Haynesville shale in North Louisiana and East Texas. The Company's stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CRK.

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