EQT Corporation ( EQT Quick Quote EQT - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 30 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 27 cents and increasing from the year-ago figure of 15 cents. The strong first-quarter earnings were backed by increased gas equivalent production volumes and higher realized commodity price realizations. The positives were partially offset by higher processing expenses.
Total operating revenues decreased to $949.9 million from $1,107.1 million in the prior-year quarter. Moreover, the top line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,082 million.
Alta Resources Acquisition
EQT Corp. separately announced that it has agreed to acquire Alta Resources Development, an Appalachian basin rival, for a total value of $2.93 billion. The transaction — which will significantly boost the acquirer’s footprint in the basin — will include $1 billion in cash and $1.93 billion in EQT Corp. common stock. The deal, which is expected to conclude in the third quarter, will likely add 1 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) per day of net production to EQT Corp.’s portfolio.
Q1 Operations: Production
Sales volumes increased to 415.2 Bcfe of natural gas from the year-ago figure of 385.1 Bcfe. Natural gas sales volume was 390.3 Bcf for the first quarter, up from 369.7 Bcf a year ago. Moreover, total liquids sales volume for the quarter was recorded at 4,148 thousand barrels (MBbls) versus the year-ago period’s 2,555 MBbls.
Commodity Price Realizations
Average realized price was $2.61 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas equivalent (Mcfe), up from $2.49 in the year-ago quarter. Natural gas price was recorded at $2.84 per Mcf, up from the year-ago level of $2.05. Moreover, oil price was recorded at $61.98 per barrel, up from $31.63 in first-quarter 2020. Moreover, ethane sales price was recorded at $6.66 per barrel for the first quarter, higher than the year-ago level of $4.05.
Total operating expenses were $1.31 per Mcfe for first-quarter 2021, down from $1.33 in the prior-year period.
Processing expenses were 10 cents per Mcfe, up from the year-ago period’s 8 cents. Gathering expenses were flat year over year at 68 cents per Mcfe. Lease operating expenses were also flat with the year-ago level of 7 cents. However, transmission costs decreased to 30 cents per Mcfe from the year-ago level of 38 cents.
The company drilled 17 net wells in the first quarter. While nine wells were drilled in WV Marcellus, eight were drilled at PA Marcellus.
EQT Corp.’s adjusted operating cash flow was $495.4 million for the quarter, down from $512.6 million a year ago. However, free cash flow for the quarter rose to $258.5 million from the year-ago level of $250.5 million.
Capex & Balance Sheet
Total capital expenditure amounted to $238.2 million for the first quarter, down from $262.1 million a year ago.
As of Mar 31, 2021, the company had $40.7 million in cash and cash equivalents, up sequentially from $18.2 million. Total debt was reported at $4,806 million, down from $4,925.5 million at fourth quarter-end.
For 2021, the largest natural gas producer of the United States expects total sales volumes in the band of 1,620-1,700 Bcfe. Moreover, the company projects 2021 total per unit operating costs within $1.29-$1.41 per Mcfe.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for 2021 are expected within $1.85-$1.95 billion. Capital expenditure for the year is expected in the range of $1.025-$1.125 billion. Importantly, free cash flow is now projected in the band of $575-$675 million, up from the previous guidance of $500-$600 million.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
The partnership currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked players in the energy space include
National Energy Services Reunited Corp. ( NESR Quick Quote NESR - Free Report) , NOW Inc. ( DNOW Quick Quote DNOW - Free Report) and Hess Corporation ( HES Quick Quote HES - Free Report) , each having a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .
National Energy’s bottom line for 2021 is expected to rise 49.2% year over year.
NOW Inc.’s bottom line for 2021 is expected to rise 50.8% year over year.
Hess’ bottom line for 2021 is expected to surge 150.9% year over year.
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