Gulfport to trim gas exploration costs as low prices plague industry



Gulfport Energy Corporation reported a major drop in net income in the fourth quarter 2023 compared to the previous quarter. As a result of low natural gas prices, the firm is doing what others across the U.S. are doing….reducing some of its expenditures on natural gas exploration.

The Oklahoma City company released its latest financial report this week showing $245.7 million in net income and $190.8 million of adjusted EBITDA. It compared to $608.4 million in net income and $160 million in adjusted EBITDA in the third quarter of the year.

Net cash fell from operating activities fell from $156.3 million in the third quarter to $155.5 million in the fourth quarter. But the firm’s adjusted free cash flow went from $48.9 million in the third quarter to $85.4 million in the most recent quarter.

Gulfport’s total net production for the year was 1,054.3 MMcfe a day and its net income was $1.5 billion and $725 million in adjusted EBITDA. The company also reported its operating activities generated $723.2 million in net cash.

Gulfport continued its progress n the Marcellus natural gas play and during the fourth quarter developed the first of a two-well pad in Belmont County, Ohio. It believes as a result, it has approximately 50 to 60 locations “representing multiple years of additional liquids-rich drilling inventory.”

For 2024, Gulfport leadership expects its operations will deliver “relativelly flat year-over-year net production with a range of 1,045 MMcfe to 1,080 MMcfe a day. The company plans to invest $380 millon to $420 million in its exploration operations which is about a 10% reduction from the full year 2023 efforts.

Sagging natural gas prices have sent other natural gas focused energy companies into retrenching from their exploration efforts as well. As a result, Gulfport stated that itintends to focus more on “liquids-rich development in the Utica and the SCOOP play.

“As we move into 2024, the current natural gas pricing environment is challenged and reinforces the importance of developing our assets in an efficient and sustainable manner,” explained John Reinhart, CEO of Gulfport.

“Building on the momentum from 2023, we plan to remain focused on further optimizing our development programs cycle times and operating costs, and we laid out a program today expected to deliver similar production year over year on 10% less capital invested.”

He said despite the drop of invested capital this year, the company still anticipates returning capital to its shareholders.