Southwestern Posts Loss in 4Q But Lauds Fayetteville Shale Results

Southwestern Energy Co. of Houston reported a fourth-quarter $355 million loss but praised activities stemming from its natural gas assets, including the Fayetteville Shale in Arkansas.

According to a news release, the loss was mostly due to lower natural gas prices and came on revenue of $773 million.

Southwestern CEO Steve Mueller said he was pleased with results from the Fayetteville Shale.

"We grew production by 13 percent, set records both for highest average initial producing rates and lowest well costs in the Fayetteville Shale and ramped our Marcellus production dramatically," Mueller said. "I am especially excited about the way we eliminated some of our operating costs. We didn't just reduce costs. A team made up of several disciplines found ways to eliminate the need for two of our three salt water disposal facilities in the Fayetteville Shale.

"Working with agencies in Arkansas, our staff developed new methods to creatively and effectively reuse the water leading to less road use, less water to dispose of and significant long-term cost savings."

The release noted that the company's natural gas gathering and marketing income was $77.7 million, up from $67.6 million in the same period in 2011. Most of that, it said, came from increase in gathering revenue from the Fayetteville and Marcellus Shale properties.

Southwestern has 3,228 total gross producing wells in the Fayetteville and owns 788,849 acres across the play. Earlier this year, Southwestern stated it would reduce its expenditure in the shale this year by about $200 million.