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Last week we traveled to Calgary, AB and met with the management teams at:

  • Peyto Exploration & Development (PEY.TO)
  • Paramount Resources (POU.TO)
  • Trilogy Energy (TET.TO)
  • Arc Resources (ARX.TO)
  • Bonavista Energy (BNP.TO)
  • Vermilion Energy (VET.TO)
  • Trican Well Service (TCW.TO)
  • Secure Energy Services (SES.TO)
  • Insite Petroleum Consultants (private)


PEYTO’s COO Scott Robinson gave us perspective that we don’t quite get from our usual discussions with CEO Darren Gee; production should be +67k boe/d at YE13 and Robinson has eyes on the 100k boe/d mark......PARAMOUNT was the best surprise of the trip and a name we want to dig in on.  It’s Musreau/Resthaven Montney play alone may be worth more than POU’s enterprise value today……At this point, we see TRILOGY as a Duvernay bet.  It’s core Montney oil and gas pools are maturing and will begin generating a lot of FCF – that cash will likely get plowed back into the Duvernay in 2014+……ARC RESOURCES may be the best dividend/growth E&P in western Canada.  It’s NE BC Montney gas properties are best-in-class (IRRs like NE Marcellus), as is the Company’s focus on capital and balance sheet discipline……With the highly-anticipated dividend cut behind BONAVISTA, investors will again focus on the operations.  But we don’t like to buy E&Ps just because they’re “cheap,” and we struggle to get excited about much in BNP’s E&P portfolio today……Probably the same could be said about VERMILION.  The international strategy has its advantages (premium product prices is the big one), but also its risks, which don’t seem reflected in the stock.  France is the cash cow (~$200MM in FCF in 2012), and that has us a bit uneasy……Business is solid for TRICAN in Canada, where it’s a household name in a more disciplined frac market – and increased Montney and Duvernay activity in 2014+ could surprise to the upside.  But the US business is a boat anchor and we don’t see it improving without natural gas and oil prices working higher at the same time – a bet we’re not ready to make.  Pure play Canadian pumpers (Canyon) seem like a safer play here……SECURE is a niche service/midstream company with competitive advantages in a high barrier to entry, consolidated market.  We wish we met this management team 18 months ago, but there’s probably still value at this price (we like it, but we need to do the modeling work)……Our meeting with INSITE was a valuable learning experience on the methodology behind booking tight sand and shale reserves.  A “proved + probable” number for Canadian E&Ps looks a lot like what US companies book as “proved”.


No change to our longstanding bullish view.  Operationally, PEY is in the upper tier of North American gas producers.  We don’t think anyone does it better in Canada, and we’d put it right there with SWN, EQT, and COG in the US.  It’s the low cost gas producer with decades of inventory and profitable growth ahead of it.

  • New volumetric mapping is yielding significantly more locations that Peyto previously thought.
  • The 10 rig program is comfortable for the operations team, and it’s likely that Peyto keeps the 10th rig on all year and pushes the capital budget up to $550MM.
  • Production should be at or above the high-end of YE13 guidance (67k boe/d).
  • YE14 production should be in the high 70k boe/d range, implying YoY growth ~20%, with a ~$600MM capital budget.
  • Slide 41 of the 5/9 corporate presentation shows production hitting 100k boe/d by YE17, though Robinson seemed confident that it can get there before then.
  • Most excited about the Falher and Wilrich formations.
  • Open Range deal was a “phenomenal acquisition” for Peyto; properties exceeding expectations.
  • Tight-lipped on the new area down at Brazeau, but willingness to invest ~$30MM this year is a positive.
  • Looked at the Fairborne Deep Basin properties that BNP acquired, but couldn’t make the deal work (or BNP outbid them).
  • Currently have three different frac contractors: SLB, Calfrac, and Trican.  Using Nabors and CanElson drilling rigs.


Paramount was the positive surprise of the trip and a name we want to do more work on.  We like management and the fact that the insiders own +50% of the Company; for obvious reasons, we like owner-operators.  The Musreau gas plant comes online late in ’13 and will bring on ~30,000 boe/d on behind pipe volumes.  2014 will be a massive production growth year.

  • Long-term production goal is 1 Bcf/d plus liquids.
  • Celtic/XOM Montney lands adjacent to POU’s Musreau/Resthaven play.
  • Spent ~$75MM acquiring 125,000 net acre Montney position in 2010-11 after impressive Celtic well.
  • Attractive Montney project economics, ~50% IRR on large-scale, repeatable project.
  • Plan is to replicate Musreau 5-10x.
  • Liquids ratios vary across the Montney play between 10 – 300 bbl/MMcf, but in a predictable trend (liquids yield increases from SE to NW.
  • ~$800MM of investments ($600MM in TET).
  • Looking to raise enough equity capital to fund Cavalier’s Hoole Phase 1 (~$500MM).


A well-run, low cost producer with two core Montney assets that are entering their “drill-to-fill” stage.  Production is 40,000 boe/d today and there’s a line of sight to 60,000 - 70,000 boe/d over the next 2-3 years.  At that stage, the Duvernay will likely take over, though TET will wait for others to delineate that play.  We like TET, but would rather participate in the upside through POU.

  • 2013 capital budget of $350MM is mostly drilling/completion capital as opposed to higher infrastructure spend in 2011-12, which should lead to lower F&D costs.
  • Management believes its Montney gas pool is worth $1.0 – 1.5B and its Montney oil pool $2.0 - $3.0B.  Add in its Duvernay lands and the PV-10 of its 2P reserves, it comes up with a NAV of $55/share “based on what we know today.”
  • Testing extended reach horizontal wells in its Montney gas pool.
  • Duvernay will get $75MM of capital in 2013 (5 net wells) – really just holding acreage and testing the play for next two years.  Let other big players in area do the heavy delineation work (ECA, Shell, CVX).
  • Need to spend ~$100MM in 2014 and 2015 to hold its Duvernay lands.
  • Challenge in the Duvernay will be how to handle the NGLs.  Light on infrastructure now.
  • Financially conservative, keep capex near FFO.
  • Not hedging gas here, looking for ~$4.50/Mcf to start hedging.


In our view, Arc is one of the premier growth/income E&Ps in western Canada with a focus on and history of creating value.  Arc’s Montney Dawson play is one of the most economic dry gas plays in North America, with after-tax IRRs ~44% at $3.50/Mcf.

  • Engineering focus; 2/3 of the team are engineers.
  • “Imperial Oil-like” with top quartile returns, low volatility.
  • Majority of shareholders are long-only funds that seek stability, growth, and income.
  • Will not let corporate decline rate get above 25% (22% currently).
  • #3 producer of Montney gas behind ECA and Shell.
  • Ante Creek – target to exit ’13 at 15,000 boe/d; keep facilities full for 10 years (50/50 gas/oil).
  • Rate restrict Montney wells ~5 MMcf/d to keep sand in the well and not wear out the PVF.
  • Not all Montney wells created equally – Arc well performance 50% better than average.


After months of speculation, the dividend was finally cut in January 2013 to a more sustainable level, and investors can again focus on BNP’s operations.  We like BNP’s push to consolidate the asset base, focus its capital and attention on the Deep Basin, and its counter-cyclical investment strategy; but we can’t see a reason to own this over PEY, which does it all better and is already 100% Deep Basin.

  • Long-term organic growth target of ~5% per year.
  • Targeting 6% growth in 2013
  • Looking to sell $50 -$100MM of assets per year.  Will continue A&D program to consolidate the asset base; looking for opportunities in the Deep Basin.
  • Good time to “drill oil and buy gas.”
  • Not interested in selling its BC Montney acreage; only needs to spend ~$12MM per year to hold it.
  • West Central Glacounite play – repeatable, predictable.  Expect 5-10% annual production growth for 5-10 years.
  • West Central Cardium – higher risk, results more variable across the play.  Has been a challenge.
  • West Central Ellerslie – reminds management of Glauc play 4 years ago.
  • Deep Basin – want to make it a larger part of the portfolio, looking for opportunities.


A mid-cap E&P that has a significant international presence (France, Netherlands, Ireland, Australia), and 80% of its products are levered to oil (Brent oil, WTI oil, NGLs, European gas).  The Canadian portfolio is one of the less exciting asset bases we’ve seen, and the Company may soon do a cold-flow heavy oil acquisition.  Potentially a short if negative on Brent crude and/or France.

  • International focus has two key advantages – Brent-linked oil and gas prices, and less competition for asset deals.
  • Defined growth through 2017 – low decline rates, high netbacks.
  • #1 oil producer in France, producing ~11,000 bbl/d, or ~65% of France’s oil.
  • Acquired the French assets from XOM, TOT, and ZaZa
  • France generated ~$200MM of free cash flow in 2012.
  • Will take on debt to fund Corrib (Ireland).  Does not want to issue equity.  First production target now late 2014.
  • VET has 175k acres prospective for the Duvernay in the Edson area.  Thinner pay zone here.
  • Will let larger industry players delineate the Duvernay for now.
  • Positive on the Manville (below the Cardium).  Going to disclose meaningful inventory numbers soon.
  • Interested in a cold-flow heavy oil acquisition, which seems natural given new COO Tony Marino’s history at Baytex.


It’s a tale of two markets for this pressure pumper.  Trican is a household name (along with Calfrac) in a more disciplined market in western Canada, but its aggressive push into the US is weighing on the Company as that market remains oversupplied, and Trican is still trying to make a name for itself.  It’s not the right time in the cycle for us.

  • Canada is “okay” with pricing down 19% YoY but stabilizing.  Maybe another 100 – 200 bps of pricing to give up.
  • Canada is fully-booked for 3Q and a little softer for 4Q.  Believes that activity will be up YoY in 4Q.
  • Spot prices in Canada will be driven by gas price/activity.
  • In the US, 90% of revenues are frac, though slowly adding cementing and coiled.  Coiled has been tough in the US due to excess capacity.
  • Believes that US frac market is 20 – 30% oversupplied.  Needs an additional 200-300 rigs to improve utilization meaningfully, which must come from a pick-up in dry gas drilling.
  • Permian has been toughest market for TCW – high start-up costs and competitive.
  • Longer-term a believer in US market – gas activity will come back, already starting to see more activity in NE Marcellus.
  • Utilization more important than pricing in the US.  Needs to find consistent work to increase utilization from current 60 – 65% level.
  • If by mid-2014 the US frac market has not improved, TCW will consider strategic options, possibly moving equipment out.
  • Russia will grow as the pie goes.  Not overly optimistic on Russia, it has been somewhat of a disappointment.
  • Australia is solid – not enough wells drilled there to fill LNG plants.  Some signs of "panic" among operators.
  • “Not that hard” to generate $750MM of annual EBITDA with existing equipment.  Needs improvement in US market and a 22-25% company-wide operating margin.


Secure Energy Services is a quasi OFS/midstream company that operates mainly in western Canada.  It processes and disposes of oilfield waste; recycles waste oil, muds, and frac water; and treats, markets, and terminals crude oil.  It’s been a great story since the seasoned management team split from the industry leader CCS (private) and began taking market share.  It’s expensive at 12x EV/EBITDA, but probably built to stay that way.

  • Insiders own 20%.
  • Targets 30% annual EBITDA (per share) growth.
  • Looks expensive compared to OFS peers, but management argues for a midstream-like multiple given the stable nature of their services through cycle.
  • Regulatory approval for PRD facilities is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming to attain – a high barrier to entry.
  • Healthy industry structure with CCS, Newalta, and Secure the 3 key players, and Secure taking market share from both competitors (which have their own issues).
  • Peer CCS was taken private and saddled with debt (~7x debt/EBITDA); difficult for them to grow.
  • Operating margin ~60%, should remain fairly constant.
  • Long-term plan is to add 5 facilities per year for the next 5 years, which should cost ~$200MM per year.
  • Projects have an IRR ~20%.
  • Will continue to seek acquisitions (roll up model).  Can do deals for 4 – 5x EBITDA.


We met with Insite Petroleum Consultants, independent reserve engineers that have both Peyto and Trilogy as clients.  We gained knowledge on the reserve booking process in general, how US and Canadian companies differ in booking reserves, and on some of the most popular plays in western Canada today including the Wilrich and Duvernay.

  • Deep Basin is unique in that it does not produce any water.
  • Canadian producers tend to be conservative in booking reserves (at least compared to US peers).
  • A “2P” number in Canada may be closer to what US companies book as “1P.”
  • A Canadian PUD must have a PDP well on at least 3 sides.
  • TET’s and POU’s decision not to book PUD’s is unique and considered conservative.
  • Insite uses a 6% porosity cutoff in the Deep Basin, but may revise that cutoff lower if wells continue to outperform type curve.  It’s still early but starting to have those discussions.
  • Proven reserves should increase over time (positive technical revisions), as they are booked at a 90% confidence level.
  • Investors often underappreciate companies that own their own facilities.  Economics can be vastly different if the operator has to pay 3rd party processing fees.
  • Insite is positive on the Duverney.  It’s early days but quality resource is there, expect technology to catch up.
  • Peyto has huge potential in the Cadomin (basement gas play), though it may be a few years away.


Kevin Kaiser

Senior Analyst