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Impairment of Oil and Gas Properties. Prior to January 1997, the Company had completed operations on one exploratory well in each of three separate areas outside Masters Creek in the Louisiana Trend. Between April 1997 and July 1997, the Company completed operations on 10 Company operated exploratory wells located outside Masters Creek in the Louisiana Trend that resulted in the addition of only 0.5 Bcfe of proved reserves. Cumulative well costs on these non-Masters Creek properties were approximately $43 million as of June 30, 1997. Of the ten wells, one was completed on April 15, 1997, one on May 3, 1997 and eight after June 1, 1997. Based upon this information and similar data which had become available from outside operated properties in these non-Masters Creek areas of the Louisiana Trend, management determined that a significant portion of its leasehold in the Louisiana Trend outside of Masters Creek was impaired. During the quarters ended March 31, 1997 and June 30, 1997, the Company transferred $7.6 million and $86.3 million, respectively, of non-Masters Creek Louisiana Trend leasehold costs to the amortization base of the full cost pool. Oil and gas prices declined from $20.90 per Bbl and $2.41 per Mcf at June 30, 1996 to $18.38 per Bbl and $2.12 per Mcf at June 30, 1997. Drilling and equipment costs escalated rapidly in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1997 due primarily to higher day rates for drilling rigs, thus increasing the estimated future capital expenditures to be incurred to develop the Company's proved undeveloped reserves. The oil and gas price declines and the increased costs to drill and equip wells caused the Company to eliminate 35 gross proved undeveloped locations in the Knox Field which contained an estimated 45 net Bcfe of proved undeveloped reserves. Similar factors combined with unfavorable drilling and production results eliminated approximately 93 Bcfe of proved reserves in the Giddings and Louisiana Trend areas. In the Independence area of the Giddings Field of Texas, a single well completed in late March 1997, which the Company had estimated to contain 15.7 Bcfe of Company reserves at March 31, 1997, was significantly and adversely affected by another operator's offset well which damaged the reservoir and reduced the Company's estimated ultimate recovery to 8.0 Bcfe of reserves. In late June 1997, management reviewed its March 31, 1997 internal estimates of proved reserves and related present value and, after giving effect to the fourth quarter 1997 drilling and production results, oil and gas prices, higher drilling and completion costs, and additional leasehold acquisition costs and delay rentals, determined that the Company had less reserve potential than had previously been estimated. As a result, management estimated that at June 30, 1997 the Company would have capitalized costs of oil and gas properties which would exceed its full cost ceiling by approximately $150 million to $200 million. On June 27, 1997, the Company issued a press release which included this estimate. Subsequently, based on the Company's final year-end estimates of its proved reserves and related estimated future net revenues, which took into account additional drilling and production results, management determined that as of June 30, 1997, its capitalized costs exceeded its full cost ceiling by approximately $236 million. No such writedown was experienced by the Company in fiscal 1996 or fiscal 1995. Oil and Gas Depreciation, Depletion and Amortization. DD&A of oil and gas properties for fiscal 1997 was $103.3 million, $52.4 million higher than fiscal 1996's expense of $50.9 million, and $77.9 million higher than fiscal 1995's expense of $25.4 million. The expense in fiscal 1997 excluded the effects of the asset writedown. The average DD&A rate per Mcfe, which is a function of capitalized costs, future development costs, and the related underlying reserves in the periods presented, increased to $l.31 in fiscal 1997 compared to $0.85 in fiscal 1996 and $0.80 in fiscal 1995.

Depreciation and Amortization of Other Assets. D&A of other assets increased to $3.8 million in fiscal 1997, compared to $3.2 million in fiscal 1996 and $l.8 million in fiscal 1995. This increase in fiscal 1997 was caused by an increase in D&A as a result of increased investments in depreciable buildings and equipment and increased amortization of debt issuance costs as a result of the issuance of Senior Notes in May 1995, April 1996 and March 1997. General and Administrative. G&A expenses, which are net of capitalized internal payroll and non-payroll expenses (see Note 11 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements), were $8.8 million in fiscal 1997, up 83% from $4.8 million in fiscal 1996 and up from $3.6 million in fiscal 1995. The increases in fiscal 1997 compared to fiscal 1996 and 1995 result primarily from increased personnel expenses required by the 31

Profile for Chesapeake Energy

Transition Report 1997  

Transition Report 1997