Form 10-K ANTERO RESOURCES Corp For: Dec 31
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SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
Commission File No.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. ◻ Yes ⌧
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. ◻ Yes ⌧
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. ⌧
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). ⌧
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b 2 of the Exchange Act.
Accelerated filer ◻
Non-accelerated filer ◻
Smaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
The aggregate market value of the voting common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2021, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, was approximately $
The registrant had
Documents incorporated by reference: Portions of the registrant’s proxy statement for its annual meeting of stockholders to be filed pursuant to Regulation 14A within 120 days after the registrant’s fiscal year end are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GLOSSARY OF COMMONLY USED TERMS
The following are abbreviations and definitions of certain terms used in this document, some of which are commonly used in the oil and gas industry:
“ASC.” Accounting Standards Codification.
“ASU.” Accounting Standards Update.
“Basin.” A large natural depression on the earth’s surface in which sediments, generally brought by water, accumulate.
“Bbl.” One stock tank barrel, of 42 U.S. gallons liquid volume, used herein in reference to crude oil, condensate, NGLs or water.
“Bbl/d.” Bbl per day.
“Bcf.” One billion cubic feet of natural gas.
“Bcfe.” One billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent with one barrel of oil, condensate, or NGLs converted to six thousand cubic feet of natural gas.
“Btu.” British thermal unit.
“C3+ NGLs.” Natural gas liquids excluding ethane, consisting primarily of propane, isobutane, normal butane and natural gasoline.
“Completion.” The process of treating a drilled well followed by the installation of permanent equipment for the production of natural gas or oil, or in the case of a dry hole, the reporting of abandonment to the appropriate agency.
“Credit Facility.” The Prior Credit Facility and the New Credit Facility collectively.
“DD&A.” Depletion, depreciation, and amortization.
“Delineation.” The process of placing a number of wells in various parts of a reservoir to determine its boundaries and production characteristics.
“Developed acreage.” The number of acres that are allocated or assignable to productive wells or wells capable of production.
“Development well.” A well drilled within the proved area of an oil or natural gas reservoir to the depth of a stratigraphic horizon known to be productive.
“Dry hole.” A well found to be incapable of producing hydrocarbons in sufficient quantities such that proceeds from the sale of such production exceed production expenses and taxes.
“EPA.” United States Environmental Protection Agency.
“ESG.” Environmental, social and governance.
“Exploratory well.” A well drilled to find and produce natural gas or oil reserves not classified as proved, to find a new reservoir in a field previously found to be productive of natural gas or oil in another reservoir, or to extend a known reservoir.
“FASB.” Financial Accounting Standards Board.
“Field.” An area consisting of a single reservoir or multiple reservoirs all grouped on, or related to, the same individual geological structural feature or stratigraphic condition. The field name refers to the surface area, although it may refer to both the surface and the underground productive formations.
“Formation.” A layer of rock which has distinct characteristics that differs from nearby rock.
“Fresh water.” Water that is either (i) raw fresh water or (ii) produced or flowback water that has been treated, including through blending operations.
“Gross acres or gross wells.” The total acres or wells, as the case may be, in which a working interest is owned.
“GHG.” Greenhouse gas.
“Horizontal drilling.” A drilling technique where a well is drilled vertically to a certain depth and then drilled along a horizontal path oriented at approximately 85 to 95 degrees from a vertical direction within a specified interval.
“Joint Venture.” The joint venture entered into on February 6, 2017 between Antero Midstream Partners LP (“Antero Midstream Partners”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Antero Midstream and MarkWest, a wholly owned subsidiary of MPLX, LP, to develop processing and fractionation assets in Appalachia.
“Liquids-rich.” Natural gas with a heating value of at least 1,100 Btu per Mcf.
“LPG.” Liquefied petroleum gas consisting of propane and butane.
“MarkWest.” MarkWest Energy Partners, L.P.
“MBbl.” One thousand barrels of crude oil, condensate or NGLs.
“Mcf.” One thousand cubic feet of natural gas.
“Mcfe.” One thousand cubic feet of natural gas equivalent, with liquids converted to an equivalent volume of natural gas using the ratio of one barrel of oil to six Mcf of natural gas.
“MMBbl.” One million barrels of crude oil, condensate or NGLs.
“MMBtu.” One million British thermal units.
“MMBtu/d.” MMBtu per day.
“MMcf.” One million cubic feet of natural gas.
“MMcf/d.” MMcf per day.
“MMcfe.” One million cubic feet of natural gas equivalent with one barrel of oil, condensate or NGLs converted to six thousand cubic feet of natural gas.
“MMcfe/d.” MMcfe per day.
“Net acres.” The percentage of total acres an owner has out of a particular number of gross acres, or a specified tract. An owner who has 50% working interest in 100 gross acres owns 50 net acres.
“Net well.” The percentage ownership interest in a well that an owner has based on the working interest. An owner who has a 50% working interest in a well has a 0.50 net well.
“New Credit Facility.” The senior secured revolving credit facility in effect on and after October 26, 2021.
“NGLs.” Natural gas liquids. Hydrocarbons found in natural gas that may be extracted as purity products such as ethane, propane, isobutane, normal butane and natural gasoline.
“NYMEX.” The New York Mercantile Exchange.
“Prior Credit Facility.” The senior secured revolving credit facility in effect for periods before October 26, 2021.
“Potential well locations.” Total gross locations that we may be able to drill on our existing acreage. Actual drilling activities may change depending on the availability of capital, regulatory approvals, seasonal restrictions, natural gas, NGLs and oil prices, costs, drilling results, and other factors.
“Productive well.” A well that is found to be capable of producing hydrocarbons in sufficient quantities such that proceeds from the sale of the production exceed production expenses and taxes.
“Prospect.” A specific geographic area which, based on supporting geological, geophysical, or other data, and also preliminary economic analysis using reasonably anticipated prices and costs, is deemed to have potential for the discovery of commercial hydrocarbons.
“Proved developed reserves.” Reserves that can be expected to be recovered through existing wells with existing equipment and operating methods.
“Proved reserves.” The estimated quantities of natural gas, NGLs and oil that geological and engineering data demonstrate with reasonable certainty to be commercially recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions.
“Proved undeveloped reserves” or “PUD.” Proved reserves that are expected to be recovered from new wells on undrilled acreage or from existing wells where a relatively major expenditure is required for recompletion.
“PV-10.” When used with respect to oil and gas reserves, PV-10 means the estimated future gross revenue to be generated from the production of proved reserves, net of estimated production, future development and abandonment costs, using average yearly prices computed using Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rules, before income taxes, and without giving effect to non-property-related expenses, discounted to a present value using an annual discount rate of 10% in accordance with the guidelines of the SEC. PV-10 is not a financial measure calculated in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) and generally differs from Standardized measure, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure, because it does not include the effects of income taxes on future net revenues. Neither PV-10 nor Standardized measure represents an estimate of the fair market value of our natural gas and oil properties. We and others in the industry use PV-10 as a measure to compare the relative size and value of proved reserves held by companies without regard to the specific tax characteristics of such entities.
“Reservoir.” A porous and permeable underground formation containing a natural accumulation of producible oil and/or natural gas that is confined by impermeable rock or water barriers and is separate from other reservoirs.
“Simplification Transactions.” On March 12, 2019, pursuant to the Simplification Agreement, dated as of October 9, 2018, by and among Antero Midstream GP LP (“AMGP”), Antero Midstream Partners LP (“Antero Midstream Partners”) and certain of Antero Midstream Partners’ affiliates (the “Simplification Agreement”) (i) AMGP was converted from a limited partnership to a corporation under the laws of the State of Delaware and changed its name to Antero Midstream Corporation (together with its consolidated subsidiaries, as appropriate, “Antero Midstream”), and (ii) an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Antero Midstream was merged with and into Antero Midstream Partners, with Antero Midstream Partners surviving the merger as an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Antero Midstream.
“Spacing.” The distance between wells producing from the same reservoir. Spacing is often expressed in terms of acres, e.g., 40-acre spacing, or distance between two horizontal well legs, and is often established by regulatory agencies.
“Standardized measure.” Discounted future net cash flows estimated by applying year-end prices to the estimated future production of year-end proved reserves. Future cash inflows are reduced by estimated future production and development costs based on period-end costs to determine pre-tax cash inflows. Future income taxes, if applicable, are computed by applying the statutory tax rate to the excess of pre-tax cash inflows over our tax basis in the natural gas and oil properties. Future net cash inflows after income taxes are discounted using a 10% annual discount rate.
“Strip prices.” The daily settlement prices of commodity futures contracts, such as those for natural gas, NGLs and oil. Strip prices represent the prices at which a given commodity can be sold at specified future dates, which may not represent actual market prices available upon such date in the future.
“Swaption.” An instrument that provides the holder with the right, but not the obligation, to enter into a fixed price swap at a specified future date.
“Tcf.” One trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
“Tcfe.” One trillion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent with one barrel of oil, condensate, or NGLs converted to six thousand cubic feet of natural gas.
“Undeveloped acreage.” Lease acreage on which wells have not been drilled or completed to a point that would permit the production of commercial quantities of natural gas, NGLs and oil regardless of whether such acreage contains proved reserves.
“Working interest.” The right granted to the lessee of a property to explore for and to produce and own natural gas or other minerals. The working interest owners bear the exploration, development, and operating costs on either a cash, penalty, or carried basis.
“WTI.” West Texas Intermediate light sweet crude oil.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Some of the information in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). All statements, other than statements of historical fact included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, regarding our strategy, future operations, financial position, estimated revenues and losses, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management are forward looking statements. Words such as “may,” “assume,” “forecast,” “position,” “predict,” “strategy,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “project,” “budget,” “potential,” or “continue,” and similar expressions are used to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. When considering these forward-looking statements, investors should keep in mind the risk factors and other cautionary statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current beliefs, based on currently available information, as to the outcome and timing of future events. Factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the results contemplated by such forward-looking statements include:
|●||our ability to execute our business strategy;|
|●||our production and oil and gas reserves;|
|●||our financial strategy, liquidity and capital required for our development program;|
|●||our ability to obtain debt or equity financing on satisfactory terms to fund additional acquisitions, expansion projects, working capital requirements and the repayment or refinancing of indebtedness;|
|●||ability to successfully complete our share repurchase program;|
|●||natural gas, NGLs and oil prices;|
|●||impacts of world health events, including the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic;|
|●||timing and amount of future production of natural gas, NGLs and oil;|
|●||our hedging strategy and results;|
|●||our ability to meet minimum volume commitments and to utilize or monetize our firm transportation commitments;|
|●||our future drilling plans;|
|●||our projected well costs and cost savings initiatives, including with respect to water handling services provided by Antero Midstream Corporation;|
|●||competition and government regulations;|
|●||pending legal or environmental matters;|
|●||marketing of natural gas, NGLs and oil;|
|●||leasehold or business acquisitions;|
|●||costs of developing our properties;|
|●||operations of Antero Midstream Corporation;|
|●||general economic conditions;|
|●||expectations regarding the amount and timing of jury awards;|
|●||uncertainty regarding our future operating results; and|
|●||our other plans, objectives, expectations and intentions contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.|
We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties incidental to our business, most of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. These risks include, but are not limited to, commodity price volatility, inflation, availability of drilling, completion and production equipment and services, environmental risks, drilling and completion and other operating risks, marketing and transportation risks, regulatory changes, the uncertainty inherent in estimating natural gas, NGLs and oil reserves and in projecting future rates of production, cash flows and access to capital, the timing of development expenditures, conflicts of interest among our stockholders, impacts of world health events (including the COVID-19 pandemic), cybersecurity risks and the other risks described under the heading “Item 1A. Risk Factors” in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Reserve engineering is a process of estimating underground accumulations of natural gas, NGLs and oil that cannot be measured in an exact manner. The accuracy of any reserve estimate depends on the quality of available data, the interpretation of such data, and the price and cost assumptions made by reservoir engineers. In addition, the results of drilling, testing, and production activities, or changes in commodity prices, may justify revisions of estimates that were made previously. If significant, such revisions would change the schedule of any further production and development drilling. Accordingly, reserve estimates may differ significantly from the quantities of natural gas, NGLs and oil that are ultimately recovered.
Should one or more of the risks or uncertainties described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K occur, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results and plans could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements.
All forward-looking statements, expressed or implied, included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. This cautionary statement should also be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that we or persons acting on our behalf may issue.
Except as otherwise required by applicable law, we disclaim any duty to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
SUMMARY RISK FACTORS
|●||Natural gas, NGLs and oil price volatility, or a substantial or prolonged period of low natural gas, NGLs and oil prices, may adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations and our ability to meet our capital expenditure obligations and financial commitments.|
|●||Historically, we have received significant incremental cash flows as a result of our hedging activity. To the extent we are unable to obtain future hedges at effective prices consistent with those we have received to date and commodity prices do not improve, our cash flows may be adversely impacted. Furthermore, our derivative activities could result in financial losses or could reduce our earnings. In certain circumstances, we may have to make cash payments under our hedging arrangements and these payments could be significant.|
|●||If commodity prices decrease to a level such that our future undiscounted cash flows from our properties are less than their carrying value, we will be required to take write-downs of the carrying values of our properties.|
|●||The imbalance between the supply of and demand for oil, natural gas and NGLs at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic caused extreme market volatility, increased costs and decreased availability of storage capacity.|
|●||The development of our estimated proved undeveloped reserves may take longer and may require higher levels of capital expenditures than we currently anticipate. Therefore, our estimated proved undeveloped reserves may not be ultimately developed or produced.|
|●||Reserve estimates depend on many assumptions that may turn out to be inaccurate. Any material inaccuracies in our reserve estimates or underlying assumptions will materially affect the quantities and present value of our reserves.|
|●||Unless we replace our reserves with new reserves and develop those reserves, our reserves and, eventually, production will decline, which would adversely affect our future cash flows and results of operations.|
|●||Approximately 54% of our net leasehold acreage is undeveloped, and that acreage may not ultimately be developed or become commercially productive, which could cause us to lose rights under our leases as well as have a material adverse effect on our oil and natural gas reserves and future production and, therefore, our future cash flows and income.|
|●||Drilling for and producing oil and gas are high risk activities with many uncertainties that could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.|
|●||Properties that we decide to drill may not yield natural gas, NGLs or oil in commercially viable quantities, which may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.|
|●||Market conditions or operational impediments, such as the unavailability of satisfactory transportation arrangements, may hinder our access to natural gas, NGLs and oil markets or delay our production.|
|●||Our ability to produce natural gas, NGLs and oil economically and in commercial quantities is dependent on the availability of adequate supplies of water for drilling and completion operations and access to water and waste disposal or recycling facilities and services at a reasonable cost. Restrictions on our ability to obtain water or dispose of produced water and other waste may have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.|
|●||Our failure to develop, obtain, access or maintain the necessary infrastructure to successfully deliver natural gas, NGLs and oil to market may adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.|
|●||Increased attention to ESG matters and conservation measures may adversely impact our business.|
|●||A pandemic, epidemic or outbreak of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, may materially adversely affect our business.|
Customer Concentration and Credit Risk
|●||Our hedging transactions expose us to counterparty credit risk and may become more costly or unavailable to us.|
|●||We are required to pay fees to our service providers based on minimum volumes under long-term contracts regardless of actual volume throughput.|
|●||Interruptions in operations at facilities that process and fractionate our gas may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.|
Acquisitions, Divestitures and Takeovers
|●||Our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, as well as Delaware law, contain provisions that could discourage acquisition bids or merger proposals, which may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.|
Capital Structure and Access to Capital
|●||Our exploration and development projects require substantial capital expenditures. We may be unable to obtain required capital or financing on satisfactory terms, which could lead to a decline in our oil and gas reserves.|
|●||We may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service all of our indebtedness and may be forced to take other actions to satisfy our obligations under our indebtedness, which may not be successful.|
|●||The borrowing base under the Credit Facility may be reduced if commodity prices decline, which could hinder or prevent us from meeting our future capital needs. We may also be required to post additional collateral as financial assurance of our performance under certain contractual arrangements, which could adversely impact available liquidity under our Credit Facility.|
|●||Restrictions in our existing and future debt agreements could limit our growth and our ability to engage in certain activities.|
Compliance with Regulations
|●||Federal, state and local legislative and regulatory initiatives relating to hydraulic fracturing as well as governmental reviews of such activities could result in increased costs and additional operating restrictions or delays in the completion of oil and natural gas wells and adversely affect our production.|
|●||Our operations may be exposed to significant delays, costs and liabilities as a result of environmental and occupational health and safety requirements applicable to our business activities.|
|●||We are subject to complex federal, state, local and other laws and regulations that could adversely affect the cost, manner or feasibility of conducting our operations or expose us to significant liabilities.|
|●||Our operations are subject to a series of risks related to climate change that could result in increased operating costs, limit the areas in which we may conduct oil and natural gas exploration and production activities, and reduce demand for our products.|
ITEMS 1 AND 2. BUSINESS AND PROPERTIES
Our Company and Organizational Structure
Antero Resources Corporation (individually referred to as “Antero”) and its consolidated subsidiaries (collectively referred to as “Antero Resources,” the “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our”) are engaged in the development, production, exploration and acquisition of natural gas, NGLs and oil properties located in the Appalachian Basin. The Company targets large, repeatable resource plays where horizontal drilling and advanced fracture stimulation technologies provide the means to economically develop and produce natural gas, NGLs and oil from unconventional formations. As of December 31, 2021, we held approximately 502,000 net acres of natural gas, NGLs and oil properties located in the Appalachian Basin primarily in West Virginia and Ohio. Our corporate headquarters is in Denver, Colorado.
Ownership in Antero Midstream
Antero Midstream Corporation (“Antero Midstream”) is a growth-oriented midstream energy company formed to own, operate and develop midstream energy assets that primarily service our production and completion activity in the Appalachian Basin. Antero Midstream’s assets consist of gathering systems and compression facilities, water handling and blending facilities, and interests in processing and fractionation plants, through which it provides services to us under long-term contracts. As of December 31, 2021, we owned 29.1% of Antero Midstream’s common stock.
We consolidated Antero Midstream Partners, a wholly owned subsidiary of Antero Midstream, in our consolidated financial statements through March 12, 2019, and as a result of the Simplification Transactions, we now have an interest in Antero Midstream that provides significant influence, but not control, over Antero Midstream. Thus, effective March 13, 2019, we no longer consolidate Antero Midstream Partners in our consolidated financial statements and account for our interest in Antero Midstream using the equity method of accounting. See Note 3—Deconsolidation of Antero Midstream Partners LP to the consolidated financial statements for more information on the Simplification Transactions.
The following table provides a summary of selected data for our Appalachian Basin natural gas, NGLs and oil assets as of the date and for the period indicated.
Three Months Ended
As of December 31, 2021
December 31, 2021
Reserves (1) (2)
Discounted future income taxes
Standardized Measure (6)
|(1)||Estimated proved reserve volumes and values were calculated assuming partial ethane recovery, with rejection of the remaining ethane and using the unweighted twelve-month average of the first-day-of-the-month prices for the period ended December 31, 2021, which were $3.73 per MMBtu for natural gas based on a $3.84 per MMBtu NYMEX reference price, $14.43 per Bbl for ethane, $48.12 per Bbl for C3+ NGLs and $58.61 per Bbl for oil for the Appalachian Basin based on a $66.34 per Bbl WTI reference price.|
|(2)||Proved reserves for the noncontrolling interest in Martica Holdings LLC (“Martica”) as of December 31, 2021 were 167 Bcfe.|
|(3)||PV-10 is a non-GAAP financial measure. We believe that the presentation of PV-10 is relevant and useful to our investors as supplemental disclosure to the standardized measure of future net cash flows, or after-tax amount, because it presents the discounted future net cash flows attributable to our proved reserves prior to taking into account future corporate income taxes and our current tax structure. While the standardized measure is dependent on the unique tax situation of each company, PV-10 is based on a pricing methodology and discount factors that are consistent for all companies. Because of this, PV-10 can be used within the industry and by creditors and securities analysts to evaluate estimated net cash flows from proved reserves on a more comparable basis. The difference between the standardized measure and the PV-10 amount is the discounted amount of estimated future income taxes. Future income taxes are not basin specific, and therefore, the standardized measure is only at a company level. See Note 20—Supplemental Information on Oil and Gas Producing Activities to the consolidated financial statements for more information about the calculation of standardized measure.|
|(4)||Excludes certain vertical wells with no proved reserves booked that were primarily acquired in conjunction with leasehold acreage acquisitions.|
|(5)||Gross potential drilling locations are comprised of 276 locations classified as proved undeveloped, 1,807 locations classified as probable and possible. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” for risks and uncertainties related to developing our potential well locations contained in our proved, probable and possible reserve categories.|
|(6)||Standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows for the noncontrolling interest in Martica as of December 31, 2021 was $501 million.|
For the year ended December 31, 2021, our total consolidated capital expenditures were approximately $749 million, including drilling and completion expenditures of $627 million, leasehold additions of $79 million and other capital expenditures of $43 million. Our net capital budget for 2022 is $740 million to $775 million. Our budget includes: a range of $675 million to $700 million for drilling and completion and a range of $65 million to $75 million for leasehold expenditures. We do not budget for acquisitions. During 2022, we plan to complete 60 to 65 net horizontal wells in the Appalachian Basin. We periodically review our capital expenditures and adjust our budget and its allocation based on liquidity, drilling results, leasehold acquisition opportunities and commodity prices.
Business Strategy and Competitive Strengths
Experienced Management Team
Our management team has worked together for many years and has established a successful track record of reserve and production growth as well as significant expertise in unconventional resource plays. We intend to leverage our team’s experience delineating and developing natural gas resource plays to continue developing our reserves and production, primarily on our existing multi-year project inventory.
Strong Balance Sheet and Sustainable Leverage Profile
We are focused on maintaining a strong balance sheet, which includes total debt reduction from historic levels and maintaining a sustainable leverage profile. As of December 31, 2021, we had total debt of $2.1 billion, which is a reduction of $876 million from December 31, 2020. See Note 8—Long-Term Debt to the consolidated financial statements and “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Capital Resources and Liquidity—Debt Agreements” for further information on our outstanding debt and debt agreements.
Focused, Long-Lived Asset Base with Sufficient Takeaway Capacity
We have assembled a portfolio of long-lived properties that are characterized by what we believe to be low geologic risk and repeatability. Our drilling opportunities are focused in the Appalachian Basin where we have a substantial inventory of liquids-rich locations. Additionally, we have secured sufficient long-term firm takeaway capacity on major pipelines in our core operating area to accommodate our current development plans.
Integrated Business Platform
We operate in the following reportable segments: (i) the exploration, development and production of natural gas, NGLs and oil; (ii) marketing of excess firm transportation capacity; and (iii) midstream services through our equity method investment in Antero Midstream. As described above and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, effective March 13, 2019, the results of Antero Midstream Partners are no longer consolidated in our results. See Note 18—Reportable Segments to the consolidated financial statements for further discussion on our industry segment operations.
Culture of Continuous Improvement and Responsible Stewardship
We are committed to a culture of continuous improvement, which serves as our foundation to develop and achieve our ESG goals as well as further our goal of environmental stewardship. Innovation, collaboration, technology and establishing meaningful goals have enabled us to improve our safety record, partner with Antero Midstream to recycle or reuse a substantial majority of our produced and flowback water and further our commitment to lowering GHG emissions intensity across our operations. We believe natural gas is key to the energy transition because of its ability to provide energy security to developing nations and replace more GHG-intensive sources of fuel. We embrace our role in supporting the goal of a low-carbon future and seek to build upon past GHG emission reduction efforts. Our 2020 ESG Report, available on our website at www.anteroresources.com/community-sustainability, includes more information on our ESG goals, as well as specific initiatives we have in place to help achieve these goals. Our 2020 ESG Report and other information on our website is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or our other filings with the SEC and is not a part of them. Additionally, see “—Regulation of Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Matters” for more information on GHG emissions and “Item 1A. Risk Factors” for risks and uncertainties related to our business operations.
We maintain an active hedging program designed to mitigate volatility in commodity prices and to protect certain of our expected future cash flows for our future operations and capital spending plans. As of December 31, 2021, we had fixed price swap contracts in place for January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2023 for 438 Bcf of our projected natural gas production at a weighted average index price of $2.49 per MMBtu and a swaption agreement for the year ending December 31, 2024 for 156 Bcf of natural gas production at a weighted average index price of $2.77 per MMBtu. These hedging contracts include contracts for the year ending December 31, 2022 of 422 Bcf of natural gas at a weighted average price of $2.50 per MMBtu. Additionally, we have basis swaps in place for January 1, 2022 through December 31, 2024 for 58 Bcf of our projected natural gas production with pricing differentials ranging from $0.414 to $0.53 per MMBtu. As of December 31, 2021, the estimated fair value of our commodity net derivative contracts was a liability of $727 million. See Note 12—Derivative Instruments to the consolidated financial statements for more information on our current hedge position.
Asset Sales Program
On February 17, 2021, we announced the formation of a drilling partnership with QL Capital Partners (“QL”), an affiliate of Quantum Energy Partners, for our 2021 through 2024 drilling program. Under the terms of the arrangement, each year in which QL participates represents an annual tranche, and QL will be conveyed a working interest in any wells spud by us during such tranche year. For 2021 and 2022, together with QL, we agreed to the estimated internal rate of return (“IRR”) of our capital budget for each annual tranche, and QL agreed to participate in the 2021 and 2022 tranches. For each subsequent year through 2024, we will propose a capital budget and estimated IRR for all wells to be spud during such year and, subject to the mutual agreement of the parties that the estimated IRR for the year exceeds a specified return, QL will be obligated to participate in such tranche. We develop and manage the drilling program associated with each tranche, including the selection of wells. Additionally, for each annual tranche in which QL participates, together with QL, we will enter into assignments, bills of sale and conveyances pursuant to which QL will be conveyed a proportionate working interest percentage in each well spud in that year, which conveyances will not be subject to any reversion.
Under the terms of the arrangement, QL funded approximately 20% of development capital for wells spud in 2021 and (i) is expected to fund approximately 15% of development capital for wells spud in 2022 and (ii) between 15% and 20% of development capital for wells spud in each of 2023 and 2024, which funding amounts represent QL’s proportionate working interest in such wells. Additionally, we may receive a carry in the form of a one-time payment from QL for each annual tranche if the IRR for such tranche exceeds certain specified returns, which will be determined no earlier than October 31 and no later than December 1 following the end of each tranche year. Capital costs in excess of, and cost savings below, a specified percentage of budgeted amounts for each annual tranche will be for our account. Subject to the preceding sentence, for any wells included in a tranche, QL is obligated and responsible for its working interest share of costs and liabilities, and is entitled to its working interest share of revenues, associated with such wells for the life of such wells. If we present a capital budget for an annual tranche with an estimated IRR equal to or exceeding a specified return that QL in good faith believes is less than such specified return and QL elects not to participate, we will not be obligated to offer QL the opportunity to participate in subsequent annual tranches. See Note 4—Transactions to the consolidated financial statements for more information.
Our Properties and Operations
The table below summarizes our estimated proved reserves as of December 31, 2020 and 2021, which were prepared assuming partial ethane recovery, and rejection of the remaining ethane. When ethane is rejected at the processing plant, it is left in the gas stream and sold with the methane gas.
As of December 31, 2020 (1)
Proved developed reserves (2)
Proved undeveloped reserves (3)
As of December 31, 2021 (1)
Proved developed reserves (2)
Proved undeveloped reserves (3)
|(1)||Unweighted 12 month average prices of the first-day-of-the-month for the period ended December 31, 2020 were $1.82 per MMBtu for natural gas, $9.30 per Bbl for ethane, $21.90 per Bbl for C3+ NGLs and $30.03 per Bbl for oil for the Appalachian Basin based on a $39.72 WTI reference price. Unweighted 12 month average prices of the first-day-of-the-month for the period ended December 31, 2021 were $3.73 per MMBtu for natural gas, $14.43 per Bbl for ethane, $48.12 per Bbl for C3+ NGLs and $58.61 per Bbl for oil for the Appalachian Basin based on a $66.34 WTI reference price.|
|(2)||Proved developed reserves for the noncontrolling interest in Martica as of December 31, 2020 were 181 Bcfe, which consisted of 110 Bcf of natural gas, 11 MMBbl of NGLs and 0.3 MMBbl of oil and condensate. Proved developed reserves for the noncontrolling interest in Martica as of December 31, 2021 were 133 Bcfe, which consisted of 78 Bcf of natural gas, 9 MMBbl of NGLs and 0.2 MMBbl of oil and condensate.|
|(3)||Proved undeveloped reserves for the noncontrolling interest in Martica as of December 31, 2020 were 73 Bcfe, which consisted of 49 Bcf of natural gas, 4 MMBbl of NGLs and 0.2 MMBbl of oil and condensate. Proved undeveloped reserves for the noncontrolling interest in Martica as of December 31, 2021 were 34 Bcfe, which consisted of 23 Bcf of natural gas, 2 MMBbl of NGLs and 0.2 MMBbl of oil and condensate.|
The following table summarizes the changes in our estimated proved reserves during 2021 (in Bcfe):
Proved reserves, December 31, 2020
Extensions, discoveries, and other additions
Revisions to five-year development plan
Revisions to ethane recovery
Sales of reserves in place
Proved reserves, December 31, 2021
Extensions and discoveries of 472 Bcfe of proved reserves resulted from delineation and developmental drilling in the Appalachian Basin. Performance revisions resulted in a net upward revision of 565 Bcfe. Revisions to five-year development plan of 651 Bcfe include an upward revision of 1,475 Bcfe for previously proved undeveloped properties reclassified from non-proved properties due to their addition to the Company’s five-year development plan, partially offset by a downward revision of 824 Bcfe for locations that were not developed within five years of initial booking as proved reserves. Price revisions of 149 Bcfe are due to increases in prices for natural gas, NGLs and oil. Upward revisions to ethane recovery of 121 Bcfe are due to an increase in assumed future ethane recovery. Sales of reserves of 670 Bcfe are related to the drilling partnership. Estimated proved reserves as of December 31, 2021 totaled 17,729 Bcfe, an increase of 0.5% from the prior year.
Proved Undeveloped Reserves
Proved undeveloped reserves are included in the previous table of total proved reserves. The following table summarizes the changes in our estimated proved undeveloped reserves during 2021 (in Bcfe):
Proved undeveloped reserves, December 31, 2020
Extensions, discoveries, and other additions
Revisions to five-year development plan
Revisions to ethane recovery
Reclassifications to proved developed reserves
Sales of reserves in place
Proved undeveloped reserves, December 31, 2021
Extensions and discoveries during 2021 of 445 Bcfe of proved undeveloped reserves resulted from delineation and developmental drilling in the Appalachian Basin. Performance revisions resulted in a net upward revision of 342 Bcfe. Revisions to five-year development plan of 641 Bcfe included an upward revision of 1,457 Bcfe for previously proved undeveloped properties reclassified from non-proved properties due to their addition to the Company’s five-year development plan, partially offset by a downward revision of 816 Bcfe for locations that were not developed within five years of initial booking as proved reserves. Downward revisions to ethane recovery of 140 Bcfe due to a decrease in assumed future ethane recovery. Sales of reserves of 670 Bcfe are related to the drilling partnership.
During the year ended December 31, 2021, we converted approximately 1,404 Bcfe, or 24%, of our proved undeveloped reserves to proved developed reserves at a total capital cost of approximately $414 million. We spent an additional $167 million on development costs related primarily to drilled and uncompleted wells and properties in the proved undeveloped classification as of December 31, 2020, resulting in total development spending of $581 million, as disclosed in Note 20—Supplemental Information on Oil and Gas Producing Activities to the consolidated financial statements. Estimated future development costs relating to the development of our proved undeveloped reserves as of December 31, 2021 are approximately $1.5 billion, or $0.31 per Mcfe, over the next five years. We maintain a five-year development plan, which is reviewed by our Board of Directors, which supports our corporate production target. The development plan is reviewed annually to ensure capital is allocated to the wells that have the highest risk-adjusted rates of return within our inventory of undrilled well locations. Based on strip pricing as of December 31, 2021, we believe that net cash provided by operating activities will be sufficient to finance such future development costs. While we will continue to drill leasehold delineation wells and build on our current leasehold position, we will also continue drilling our proved undeveloped reserves. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors—The development of our estimated proved undeveloped reserves may take longer and may require higher levels of capital expenditures than we currently anticipate. Therefore, our estimated proved undeveloped reserves may not be ultimately developed or produced.”
As of December 31, 2021, an estimated 12,243 of our net leasehold acres, containing 222 locations associated with proved undeveloped reserves, are subject to renewal prior to scheduled drilling. Some of these leases have contract renewal options and some will need to be renegotiated. We estimate a potential cost of approximately $37.4 million to renew the 12,243 acres based upon current leasing authorizations and option to extend payments. Proved undeveloped reserves of 983 Bcfe are related to these leases. Historically, we have had a high success rate in renewing leases, and we expect that we will be able to renew substantially all of the leases underlying this acreage prior to the scheduled drilling dates. Based on our historical success rate in renewing leases, we estimate that we may not be able to renew leases covering approximately 147 Bcfe of these proved undeveloped reserves.
If we are not able to renew these leases prior to the scheduled drilling dates, our quantities of net proved undeveloped reserves will be somewhat reduced on those locations.
Preparation of Reserve Estimates
Our proved reserve estimates as of December 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021 included in this Annual Report on Form 10-K were prepared by our internal reserve engineers in accordance with petroleum engineering and evaluation standards published by the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers and definitions and guidelines established by the SEC. These proved reserve estimates have been audited by our independent engineers, DeGolyer and MacNaughton (“D&M”). A copy of the summary report of D&M with respect to our reserves as of December 31, 2021 is filed as Exhibit 99.1 to this Annual Report on Form 10 K. The technical person at D&M primarily responsible for reviewing our reserves estimates was Dilhan Ilk, P.E. Mr. Ilk is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas (License No. 139334), is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and has in excess of 10
years of experience in oil and gas reservoir studies and reserves evaluations. Mr. Ilk graduated from the Istanbul Technical University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering, a Master of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2005 and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University in 2010. The technical persons responsible for overseeing the audit of our reserve estimates presented herein meet the requirements regarding qualifications, independence, objectivity and confidentiality set forth in the Standards Pertaining to the Estimating and Auditing of Oil and Gas Reserves Information promulgated by the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Our internal staff of petroleum engineers and geoscience professionals works closely with D&M to ensure the integrity, accuracy and timeliness of data furnished to our independent reserve engineers in their reserve auditing process. Periodically, our technical team meets with D&M to review properties and discuss methods and assumptions used by us to prepare reserve estimates. Our internally prepared reserve estimates and related reports are reviewed and approved by our Senior Vice President - Reserves, Planning and Midstream, W. Patrick Ash. Mr. Ash has served as Senior Vice President-Reserves, Planning and Midstream since June 2019. Previously, he served as Vice President of Reservoir Engineering and Planning from December 2017 to June 2019. Prior to December 2017, Mr. Ash was at Ultra Petroleum for six years in management positions of increasing responsibility, most recently serving as Vice President, Development. In this position he led the reservoir engineering, geoscience, and corporate engineering groups. From 2001 to 2011, Mr. Ash served in engineering roles at Devon Energy, NFR Energy and Encana Corporation. Mr. Ash holds a B.S. in Petroleum Engineering from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis.
Our senior management and Board of Directors also reviews our reserve estimates and related reports with Mr. Ash and other members of our technical staff. Additionally, our senior management reviews and approves any significant changes to our proved reserves on a quarterly basis.
Identification of Potential Well Locations
Our identified potential well locations represent locations to which proved, probable, or possible reserves were attributable based on SEC pricing as of December 31, 2021.
Production, Price and Cost History
Natural gas, NGLs and oil are commodities, and the prices that we receive for our production are largely a function of market supply and demand. Demand for our products is impacted by general economic conditions, weather and other seasonal conditions. Over or under supply of natural gas, NGLs or oil can result in substantial price volatility. A substantial or extended decline in commodity prices, or poor drilling results, could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations, cash flows, quantities of reserves that may be economically produced and our ability to access capital markets. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors— Natural gas, NGLs and oil price volatility, or a substantial or prolonged period of low natural gas, NGLs and oil prices, may adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations and our ability to meet our capital expenditure obligations and financial commitments.”
Exploration and Production and Marketing Segments
The following table sets forth information regarding our production, realized prices, and production costs for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021. For additional information on price calculations, see information set forth in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
Year Ended December 31,
Production data (1) (2):
Natural gas (Bcf)
C2 Ethane (MBbl)
C3+ NGLs (MBbl)
Daily combined production (MMcfe/d)
Average prices before effects of derivative settlements (3):
Natural gas (per Mcf)
C2 Ethane (per Bbl)
C3+ NGLs (per Bbl)
Oil (per Bbl)
Combined average sales prices before effects of derivative settlements (per Mcfe) (1)
Combined average sales prices after effects of derivative settlements (per Mcfe) (1)
Average Costs (per Mcfe) (4):
Gathering, compression, processing, and transportation
Production and ad valorem taxes
Depletion, depreciation, amortization, and accretion
General and administrative (excluding equity-based compensation)
|(1)||Production data excludes volumes related to the volumetric production payment transaction (the “VPP”).|
|(2)||Oil and NGLs production was converted at 6 Mcf per Bbl to calculate total Bcfe production and per Mcfe amounts. This ratio is an estimate of the equivalent energy content of the products and may not reflect their relative economic value.|
|(3)||Average prices reflect the before and after effects of our settled commodity derivatives. Our calculation of such after effects includes gains or losses on settlements of commodity derivatives (but does not include proceeds from or payments for the derivative monetizations in 2020 and 2021, respectively). These commodity derivatives do not qualify for hedge accounting because we do not designate or document them as hedges for accounting purposes.|
|(4)||Average costs prior to the deconsolidation of Antero Midstream Partners on March 12, 2019 have been adjusted to reflect our operating without eliminating intercompany transactions for midstream and water services provided by Antero Midstream Partners. Following the deconsolidation of Antero Midstream Partners, average costs reflect Antero’s actual operating costs.|
The following table sets forth certain information regarding the total developed and undeveloped acreage in which we own an interest as of December 31, 2021. A majority of our developed acreage is subject to liens securing the Credit Facility. Approximately 82% of our net Appalachian Basin acreage is held by production. Acreage related to royalty, overriding royalty, and other similar interests is excluded from this table.
Undeveloped Acres (2)
Total Acres (2)
Appalachian Basin (1)
|(1)||Our acreage is located in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.|
|(2)||There are 48,580 gross (43,442 net), 26,753 gross (23,038 net) and 10,294 gross (9,167 net) acres subject to expiration during the years ending December 31, 2022, 2023 and 2024, respectively, if production is not established within the spacing units covering the acreage prior to the expiration dates and they are not otherwise extended or renewed.|
The following table summarizes gross and net productive wells as of December 31, 2021, all of which are natural gas wells. Net wells reflect the sum of our percentage ownership in gross wells.
December 31, 2021
The following table sets forth the results of our drilling activity for wells drilled and completed during the years ended December 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Gross wells reflect the number of wells in which we own an interest and include historical drilling activity in the Appalachian Basin. Net wells reflect the sum of our working interests in gross wells.
Year Ended December 31,
Total development wells
Total exploratory wells
|(1)||Well counts exclude 26 gross wells (20.6 net wells) that were drilled and uncompleted or in the process of being completed as of December 31, 2021.|
Gathering and Compression
Our exploration and development activities are supported by the natural gas gathering and compression assets of Antero Midstream and by third-party gathering and compression arrangements. Our agreements with Antero Midstream allow us to obtain the necessary gathering and compression capacity for our production, and we have leveraged our relationship with Antero Midstream to support our development. For the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2021, Antero Midstream spent approximately $158 million and $233 million, respectively, on gas gathering and compression infrastructure that services our production. Subject to pre-existing dedications and other third-party commitments, we have dedicated to Antero Midstream substantially all of our current and future acreage in West Virginia and Ohio for gathering and compression services.
As of December 31, 2021, Antero Midstream owned and operated 494 miles of gas gathering pipelines in the Appalachian Basin. We also have access to additional low-pressure and high-pressure pipelines owned and operated by third parties. As of December 31, 2021, Antero Midstream owned and operated 21 compressor stations, and we utilized 15 additional third-party compressor stations. The gathering, compression, and dehydration services provided by third parties are contracted on a fixed-fee basis.
Natural Gas Processing
Many of our wells in the Appalachian Basin allow us to produce liquids-rich natural gas that contains a significant amount of NGLs. Liquids-rich natural gas is processed, which involves the removal and separation of NGLs from the wellhead natural gas.
NGLs are valuable commodities once removed from the natural gas stream in a cryogenic processing facility yielding y-grade liquids. Y-grade liquids are then fractionated, thereby breaking up the y-grade liquid into its key components. Fractionation refers to the process by which an NGL y-grade stream is separated into individual NGL products such as ethane, propane, normal butane, isobutane and natural gasoline. Fractionation occurs by heating the y-grade liquids to allow for the separation of the component parts based on the specific boiling points of each product. Each of the individual products has its own market price.
The combination of infrastructure constraints in the Appalachian Basin and low ethane prices has resulted in many producers “rejecting” rather than “recovering” ethane. Ethane rejection occurs when ethane is left in the wellhead gas stream when the gas is processed, rather than being extracted and sold as a liquid after fractionation. When ethane is left in the gas stream, the Btu content of the residue gas at the tailgate of the processing plant is higher. Producers generally elect to “reject” ethane when the price received for the ethane in the gas stream is greater than the net price received for the ethane being sold as a liquid after fractionation. When ethane
is recovered, the Btu content of the residue gas is lower, but a producer is then able to recover the value of the ethane sold as a separate product.
Given the existing commodity price environment and the current limited ethane market in the northeast, we are currently rejecting the majority of the ethane obtained in the natural gas stream when processing our liquids-rich gas. However, we realize a pricing upgrade when selling the remaining NGLs product stream at current prices. We may elect to recover more ethane when ethane prices result in a value for the ethane that is greater than the Btu equivalent residue gas and incremental recovery costs.
We contract with MarkWest to provide cryogenic processing capacity for our Appalachian Basin production. Antero Midstream owns a 50% interest in a joint venture with MarkWest to develop processing and fractionation assets in Appalachia. Below is a summary of the nameplate capacity of the processing plants owned by MarkWest and the Joint Venture, our contracted capacity at these plants and their completion status.
Sherwood 1 through 13 (1)
Smithburg 1 (1)
Seneca 1 through 4 (1)
|(1)||MarkWest owns the gas processing plants referred to as Sherwood 1 through 6 and Seneca 1 through 4 and the Joint Venture owns the gas processing plants referred to as Sherwood 7 through 13 and Smithburg 1. The Joint Venture also owns a 33 1/3% interest in two fractionation facilities located at MarkWest’s Hopedale complex.|
Transportation and Takeaway Capacity
We have entered into firm transportation agreements with various pipelines that enable us to deliver natural gas to the Midwest, Gulf Coast, Eastern Regional, and Mid-Atlantic markets. Our primary firm transportation commitments include the following:
Midwest-Chicago Regional Markets
We have several firm transportation contracts with pipelines that have capacity to deliver natural gas to the Chicago and Michigan markets. The Chicago directed pipelines include the Rockies Express Pipeline (“REX”), the Midwestern Gas Transmission pipeline (“MGT”), the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America pipeline (“NGPL”), and the ANR Pipeline Company pipeline (“ANR”). The firm transportation contract on REX provides firm capacity for 400,000 MMBtu per day and delivers gas to downstream contracts on MGT, NGPL and ANR.
We have 125,000, 310,000 and 200,000 MMBtu per day of firm transportation on MGT, NGPL and ANR, respectively. The MGT and NGPL contracts deliver gas to the Chicago city gate area and the ANR contract delivers natural gas to Chicago in the summer and Michigan in the winter. The Chicago and Michigan contracts expire at various dates from 2022 through 2035.
Gulf Coast, Atlantic Seaboard and International Markets
We have firm transportation contracts with various pipelines to access the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Seaboard and international markets. These contracts include firm capacity on the following pipelines: (i) Columbia Gas Transmission pipeline (“TCO”), (ii) Columbia Gulf Transmission pipeline (“Columbia Gulf”), (iii) DTE Energy’s Stonewall Gas Gathering (“SGG”), (iv) Tennessee Gas Pipeline (“Tennessee”), (v) ANR Pipeline (“ANR-Gulf” or “ANR-Chicago”), (vi) Energy Transfer Rover Pipeline (“ET Rover”), (vii) Equitrans pipeline (“EQT”), (vii) Texas Eastern Transmission Corp. - M2 Zone (“TETCO M2”) (viii) DTE Energy’s Appalachia Gathering System (“AGS”), (ix) Mountaineer Xpress pipeline (“MXP”), (x) Columbia Gas Transmission IPP pool (“TCO IPP”), (xi) Gulf Xpress pipeline (“GXP”), (xii) Enterprise Products Partners ATEX pipeline (“ATEX”) and (xiii) Sunoco pipeline (“Mariner East 2”). Our diverse portfolio of firm capacity gives us the flexibility to move natural gas to the local Appalachia market or other preferred markets with more favorable pricing. These firm capacity contracts include:
|●||TCO firm capacity of approximately 474,000 MMBtu per day. Of the 474,000 MMBtu per day of firm capacity on TCO, we have the ability to utilize 430,000 MMbtu per day on Columbia Gulf, which provides access to the Gulf Coast|
|markets. These contracts expire at various dates from 2022 through 2058.|
|●||SGG firm capacity of 900,000 MMBtu per day which transports gas from various gathering system interconnection points and the MarkWest Sherwood plant complex to the TCO WB System. Additionally, we have firm transportation contracts with TCO for both the western and eastern directions on the pipeline. Our firm capacity of 800,000 MMBtu per day west bound on TCO (“TCO WB”) provides us access to the local Appalachia and the Gulf Coast markets via the Columbia Gulf or Tennessee pipelines. Our firm capacity of 330,000 MMBtu per day east bound on TCO delivers natural gas to the Cove Point LNG facility These contracts expire at various dates from 2033 through 2038.|
|o||Tennessee firm capacity of 790,000 MMBtu per day to deliver natural gas from the Broad Run interconnect on TCO WB to the Gulf Coast market. This contract expires in 2030.|
|o||ANR-Gulf firm capacity of 600,000 MMBtu per day to deliver natural gas from West Virginia and Ohio to the Gulf Coast market. This contract expires in 2045.|
|o||ET Rover Pipeline firm capacity of 840,000 MMBtu per day, which connects the Appalachian Basin to Midwest and Gulf Coast markets via the ANR Chicago and ANR Gulf. These contracts expire at various dates from 2025 through 2033.|
|o||EQT firm capacity of 250,000 MMBtu per day to deliver natural gas to TETCO M2 and other various delivery points. These contracts expire at various dates from 2022 through 2025.|
|o||AGS firm capacity of 275,000 MMBtu per day to deliver natural gas to TETCO M2 and other various local delivery points. These contracts expire in 2023.|
|o||MXP firm capacity of 700,000 MMBtu per day to deliver (i) 517,000 MMBtu per day to TCO IPP and (ii) 183,000 MMBtu per day to GXP, which continues to Leach, Kentucky. These contracts allow us to deliver natural gas to the U.S. Gulf Coast and they expire in 2034.|
|●||ATEX firm capacity of 20,000 Bbl per day to deliver ethane to Mont Belvieu, Texas. This contract expires in 2028.|
|●||Mariner East 2 firm capacity for ethane of 11,500 Bbl per day and propane and butane of 60,000 Bbl per day to deliver to Marcus Hook, Pennsylvania. These contracts expire October 2028 and January 2029, respectively. The propane and butane contract increases 5,000 Bbl per day each year through 2022, resulting in an ultimate total firm capacity of 65,000 Bbl per day. Mariner East 2 provides access to international markets via trans-ocean LPG carriers.|
Under firm transportation contracts, we are obligated to deliver minimum daily volumes or pay fees for any deficiencies in deliveries. See Note 15—Commitments to the consolidated financial statements for information on our minimum fees for such contracts. Based on current projected 2022 annual production guidance, we estimate that we could incur annual net marketing costs of $0.06 per Mcfe to $0.08 per Mcfe in 2022 for unutilized transportation capacity depending on the amount of unutilized capacity that can be marketed to third parties or utilized to transport third party gas and capture positive basis differentials. Where permitted, we continue to actively market any excess capacity in order to offset minimum commitment fees and those activities are recorded in our net marketing expense.
We have entered into various firm sales contracts to deliver and sell gas and NGLs. We believe we will have sufficient production quantities to meet substantially all of such commitments. We may purchase gas from third parties to satisfy shortfalls should they occur.
As of December 31, 2021, our firm sales commitments through 2026 included:
Year Ending December 31,
We utilize a part of our firm transportation capacity to deliver gas and NGLs under the majority of these firm sales contracts. We have firm transportation contracts that require us to either ship products on said pipelines or pay demand charges for shortfalls. The minimum demand fees are reflected in our table of contractual obligations. See Note 15—Commitments to the consolidated financial statements.
Water Handling and Treatment Operations
Our agreements with Antero Midstream allow us to obtain fresh water for use in our drilling and completion operations, as well as services to dispose of wastewater resulting from our operations.
Antero Midstream owns two independent fresh water distribution systems that distribute fresh water from the Ohio River and several regional water sources, for well completion operations in the Appalachian Basin. These systems consist of permanent buried pipelines, portable surface pipelines and water storage facilities, as well as pumping stations to transport the water throughout the pipeline networks. The surface pipelines are moved to well pads to service completion operations to the extent necessary and feasible. As of December 31, 2021, Antero Midstream had the ability to store 5.5 million barrels of fresh water in 36 impoundments located throughout our leasehold acreage.
As of December 31, 2021, Antero Midstream owned and operated 216 miles of buried water pipelines and 133 miles of portable surface water pipelines in the Appalachian Basin, as well as 36 water storage facilities equipped with transfer pumps. Through Antero Midstream, we also recycle and reuse the majority of our flowback and produced water through blending.
Our sales to major customers (purchasers in excess of 10% of total sales) for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2020 and 2021 were as follows:
Year Ended December 31,
Six One Commodities LLC (1)
Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC
|(1)||Six One Commodities LLC acquired WGL Midstream during the year ended December 31, 2021. WGL Midstream was our major customer during the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020.|
Sabine Pass Liquefaction LLC was not a major customer during the year ended December 31, 2021.
Title to Properties
We believe that we have satisfactory title to all of our producing properties in accordance with generally accepted industry standards. As is customary in the industry, often in the case of undeveloped properties and acquisitions of producing properties, cursory investigation of record title is made at the time of such acquisitions. Further investigations may be made before commencement of drilling operations on undeveloped properties. Individual properties may be subject to burdens that we believe do not materially interfere with the use, or affect the value of, the properties. Burdens on properties may include:
|●||customary royalty interests;|
|●||liens incident to operating agreements and for current taxes;|
|●||obligations or duties under applicable laws;|
|●||development obligations under natural gas leases; or|
|●||net profits interests.|
Demand for natural gas generally decreases during the spring and fall months and increases during the summer and winter months. However, cold winters, hot summers or severe weather events can significantly increase demand and price fluctuations, while seasonal anomalies, such as mild winters, mild summers or severe weather events can sometimes lessen the impact of these fluctuations. In addition, certain natural gas users utilize natural gas storage facilities and purchase some of their anticipated winter requirements during the spring, summer and fall. This can also reduce seasonal demand fluctuations. Seasonal anomalies can also increase competition for equipment, supplies and personnel during the spring and summer months, which could lead to shortages and increase costs or delay our operations.
The oil and natural gas industry is intensely competitive, and we compete with other companies in our industry that have greater resources than we do. Many of these companies not only explore for and produce natural gas, but also carry on refining operations and market petroleum and other products on a regional, national or worldwide basis. These companies may be able to pay more for productive natural gas properties and exploratory prospects or define, evaluate, bid for, and purchase a greater number of properties and prospects than our financial or human resources permit, and may be able to expend greater resources to attract and maintain industry personnel. In addition, these companies may have a greater ability to continue exploration activities during periods of low natural gas market prices. Our larger competitors may be able to absorb the burden of existing, and any changes to, federal, state, and local laws and regulations more easily than we can, which would adversely affect our competitive position. Our ability to acquire additional properties and to discover reserves in the future will be dependent upon our ability to evaluate and select suitable properties and to consummate transactions in a highly competitive environment.
Regulation of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry
We operate exclusively on private lands and have no production from federal mineral interests. Our oil and natural gas operations are subject to extensive, and frequently changing, laws and regulations related to well permitting, drilling, and completion, and to the production, transportation and sale of natural gas, NGLs and oil. We believe compliance with existing requirements will not have a material adverse effect on our financial position, cash flows or results of operations. However, such laws and regulations are frequently amended or reinterpreted. Additional proposals and proceedings that affect the oil and natural gas industry are regularly considered by Congress, federal agencies, the states, local governments and the courts. We cannot predict when or whether any such proposals may become effective. Therefore, we are unable to predict the future costs or impact of compliance. The regulatory burden on the industry increases the cost of doing business and affects profitability. We do not believe that any regulatory changes will affect us materially differently from the way they will affect our competitors.
Regulation of Production of Natural Gas and Oil
We own interests in properties located onshore in West Virginia and Ohio, and our production activities on these properties are subject to regulation under a wide range of local, state and federal statutes, rules, orders and regulations. These statutes and regulations address requirements related to permits for drilling of wells, bonding to drill or operate wells, the location of wells, the method of drilling and casing wells, the surface use and restoration of properties upon which wells are drilled, sourcing and disposal of water used in the drilling and completion process, the plugging and abandonment of wells, venting or flaring of natural gas, and the ratability or fair apportionment of production from fields and individual wells. In addition, all of the states in which we own and operate properties have regulations governing environmental and conservation matters, including provisions for the handling and disposing or discharge of waste materials, the unitization or pooling of natural gas and oil properties, the establishment of maximum allowable rates of production from natural gas and oil wells, and the size of drilling and spacing units or proration units and the density of wells that may be drilled. Some states also have granted their oil and gas regulators the power to prorate production to the market demand for oil and gas, and other states may elect to do so in the future. The effect of these regulations is to limit the amount of natural gas and oil that we can produce from our wells and to limit the number of wells or the locations at which we can drill, although we can apply for exceptions to such regulations or to have reductions in well spacing or density. Moreover, each state
generally imposes a production or severance tax with respect to the production and sale of natural gas, NGLs and oil within its jurisdiction.
The failure to comply with these rules and regulations can result in substantial penalties. Our competitors in the oil and natural gas industry are subject to the same regulatory requirements and restrictions that affect our operations.
Regulation of Transportation of Natural Gas
The transportation and sale, or resale, of natural gas in interstate commerce are regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”), under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 (“NGA”), the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (“NGPA”), and regulations issued under those statutes. FERC regulates interstate natural gas transportation rates and service conditions, which affects the marketing of natural gas that we produce, as well as the revenues we receive for sales of our natural gas. Since 1985, FERC has endeavored to make natural gas transportation more accessible to natural gas buyers and sellers on an open and non-discriminatory basis. Although FERC’s orders do not directly regulate natural gas producers, they are intended to foster increased competition within all phases of the natural gas industry.
Gathering services, which occurs upstream of jurisdictional transmission services, are regulated by the states onshore and in state waters. Section 1(b) of the NGA exempts natural gas gathering facilities from regulation by FERC. Although FERC has not made any formal determinations with respect to any of our facilities, we believe that the natural gas pipelines in our gathering systems meet the traditional tests FERC has used to establish a pipeline’s status as a gatherer not subject to regulation as a natural gas company. The distinction between FERC-regulated transmission services and federally unregulated gathering services, however, has been the subject of substantial litigation, and FERC determines whether facilities are gathering facilities on a case-by-case basis, so the classification and regulation of our gathering facilities may be subject to change based on future determinations by FERC, the courts or Congress. State regulation of natural gas gathering facilities generally includes various safety, environmental and, in some circumstances, nondiscriminatory-take requirements. Although such regulation has not generally been affirmatively applied by state agencies, natural gas gathering may receive greater regulatory scrutiny in the future.
Intrastate natural gas transportation is also subject to regulation by state regulatory agencies. The basis for intrastate regulation of natural gas transportation and the degree of regulatory oversight and scrutiny given to intrastate natural gas pipeline rates and services varies from state to state. Insofar as such regulation within a particular state will generally affect all intrastate natural gas shippers within the state on a comparable basis, we believe that the regulation of similarly situated intrastate natural gas transportation in any states in which we operate and ship natural gas on an intrastate basis will not affect our operations in any way that is of material difference from those of our competitors. Like the regulation of interstate transportation rates, the regulation of intrastate transportation rates affects the marketing of natural gas that we produce, as well as the revenues we receive for sales of our natural gas.
Regulation of Sales of Natural Gas, NGLs and Oil
The prices at which we sell natural gas, NGLs and oil are not currently subject to federal regulation and, for the most part, are not subject to state regulation. FERC, however, regulates interstate natural gas transportation rates, and terms and conditions of transportation service, which affects the marketing of the natural gas we produce, as well as the prices we receive for sales of our natural gas. Similarly, the price we receive from the sale of oil and NGLs is affected by the cost of transporting those products to market. FERC regulates the transportation of oil and liquids on interstate pipelines under the provision of the Interstate Commerce Act, the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and regulations issued under those statutes. Intrastate pipeline transportation of oil, NGLs and other products, is dependent on pipelines whose rates, terms and conditions of service are subject to regulation by state regulatory bodies under state statutes. In addition, while sales by producers of natural gas and all sales of crude oil, condensate, and NGLs can currently be made at uncontrolled market prices, Congress could reenact price controls in the future.
With regard to our physical sales of these energy commodities and any related hedging activities that we undertake, we are required to observe anti-market manipulation laws and related regulations enforced by the FERC as described below, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission under Commodity Exchange Act (“CEA”), and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”). We are also subject to various reporting requirements that are designed to facilitate transparency and prevent market manipulation. Should we violate the anti-market manipulation laws and regulations, we could be subject to fines and penalties as well as related third party damage claims by, among others, market participants, sellers, royalty owners and taxing authorities.
The Domenici Barton Energy Policy Act of 2005 (“EPAct of 2005”) amended the NGA to add an anti-market manipulation provision which makes it unlawful for any entity to engage in prohibited behavior to be prescribed by FERC, and furthermore provided FERC with additional civil penalty authority. In Order No. 670, FERC promulgated rules implementing the anti-market
manipulation provision of the EPAct of 2005, which make it unlawful to: (1) in connection with the purchase or sale of natural gas subject to the jurisdiction of FERC, or the purchase or sale of transportation services subject to the jurisdiction of FERC, for any entity, directly or indirectly, to use or employ any device, scheme or artifice to defraud; (2) to make any untrue statement of material fact or omit to make any such statement necessary to make the statements made not misleading; or (3) to engage in any act or practice that operates as a fraud or deceit upon any person. The anti-market manipulation rules do not apply to activities that relate only to intrastate or other non-jurisdictional sales or gathering, but do apply to activities of gas pipelines and storage companies that provide interstate services, as well as otherwise non-jurisdictional entities to the extent the activities are conducted “in connection with” gas sales, purchases or transportation subject to FERC jurisdiction, which now includes the annual reporting requirements under Order No. 704 described below. Under the EPAct of 2005, FERC has the power to assess civil penalties of up to $1,000,000 (adjusted annually for inflation) per day for each violation of the NGA and the NGPA. In January 2022, FERC issued an order (Order No. 882) increasing the maximum civil penalty amounts under the NGA and NGPA to adjust for inflation. FERC may now assess civil penalties under the NGA and NGPA of up to $1,388,496 per violation per day.
Under Order No. 704, wholesale buyers and sellers of more than 2.2 million MMBtu of physical natural gas in the previous calendar year, including interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines, natural gas gatherers, natural gas processors, natural gas marketers and natural gas producers are required to report, on May 1 of each year, aggregate volumes of natural gas purchased or sold at wholesale in the prior calendar year. It is the responsibility of the reporting entity to determine which individual transactions should be reported based on the guidance of Order 704. Order 704 also requires market participants to indicate whether they report prices to any index publishers, and if so, whether their reporting complies with FERC’s policy statement on price reporting.
The CEA prohibits any person from manipulating or attempting to manipulate the price of any commodity in interstate commerce or futures on such commodity. The CEA also prohibits knowingly delivering or causing to be delivered false or misleading or knowingly inaccurate reports concerning market information or conditions that affect or tend to affect the price of a commodity. In November 2009, the FTC issued regulations pursuant to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 intended to prohibit market manipulation in the petroleum industry. Violators of the regulations face civil penalties of up to approximately $1.2 million (adjusted annually for inflation) per violation per day. Together with FERC, these agencies have imposed broad rules and regulations prohibiting fraud and manipulation in oil and gas markets and energy futures markets.
Changes in law and to FERC policies and regulations may adversely affect the availability and reliability of firm and/or interruptible transportation service on interstate pipelines, and we cannot predict what future action FERC will take. We do not believe that any regulatory changes will affect us materially differently from the way they will affect our competitors.
Regulation of Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Matters
Our operations are subject to numerous stringent federal, regional, state and local statutes and regulations governing occupational safety and health and the discharge of materials into the environment or otherwise relating to environmental protection. Violations of these laws can result in substantial administrative, civil and criminal penalties. These laws and regulations may require the acquisition of permits before drilling or other regulated activity commences, restrict the types, quantities and concentrations of various substances that can be released into the environment in connection with drilling, completing, producing and transporting through pipelines, govern the sourcing and disposal of water used in the drilling and completion process, limit or prohibit activities in certain areas and on certain lands lying within wilderness, wetlands, frontier and other protected areas or areas with endangered or threatened species restrictions, require some form of remedial action to prevent or mitigate pollution from former operations such as plugging abandoned wells or closing earthen pits, establish specific safety and health criteria addressing worker protection and impose substantial liabilities for pollution resulting from operations or failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations. In addition, these laws and regulations may restrict the rate of production.
The following is a summary of the more significant existing environmental and occupational health and workplace safety laws and regulations, as amended from time to time, to which our business operations are subject and for which compliance may have a material adverse impact on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
Hazardous Substances and Waste Handling
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), also known as the “Superfund” law, and comparable state laws impose liability, without regard to fault or the legality of the original conduct, on certain classes of persons that are considered to have contributed to the release of a “hazardous substance” into the environment. These persons include the current and past owner or operator of the disposal site or the site where the release occurred and companies that
disposed or arranged for the disposal of the hazardous substances at the site where the release occurred. Under CERCLA, such persons may be subject to joint and several strict liability for the costs of cleaning up the hazardous substances that have been released into the environment and for damages to natural resources, and it is not uncommon for neighboring landowners and other third parties to file claims for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by the hazardous substances released into the environment. In addition, despite the “petroleum exclusion” of Section 101(14) of CERCLA, which currently encompasses crude oil and natural gas, we generate materials in the course of our operations that may be regulated as hazardous substances based on their characteristics; however, we are unaware of any liabilities arising under CERCLA for which we may be held responsible that would materially and adversely affect us.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), and analogous state laws, establish detailed requirements for the generation, handling, storage, treatment and disposal of nonhazardous and hazardous solid wastes. RCRA specifically excludes drilling fluids, produced waters, and other wastes associated with the exploration, development, or production of crude oil, natural gas or geothermal energy from regulation as hazardous wastes. However, these wastes may be regulated by the EPA, or state agencies under RCRA’s less stringent nonhazardous solid waste provisions, or under state laws or other federal laws. Moreover, it is possible that these particular oil and natural gas exploration, development and production wastes now classified as nonhazardous solid wastes could be classified as hazardous wastes in the future. In addition, in the course of our operations, we generate some amounts of ordinary industrial wastes, such as waste solvents, laboratory wastes and waste compressor oils that may become regulated as hazardous wastes if such wastes have hazardous characteristics. Although the costs of managing hazardous waste may be significant, we do not believe that our costs in this regard are materially more burdensome than those for similarly situated companies.
We currently own, lease, or operate numerous properties that have been used for oil and natural gas exploration and production activities for many years. Although we believe that we have utilized operating and waste disposal practices that were standard in the industry at the time, hazardous substances, wastes or petroleum hydrocarbons may have been released on, under or from the properties owned or leased by us, or on, under or from other locations, including offsite locations, where such substances have been taken for recycling or disposal. In addition, some of our properties have been operated by third parties or by previous owners or operators whose treatment and disposal of hazardous substances, wastes, or petroleum hydrocarbons was not under our control. We are able to control directly the operation of only those wells with respect to which we act or have acted as operator. The failure of a prior owner or operator to comply with applicable environmental regulations may, in certain circumstances, be attributed to us as current owners or operators under CERCLA. These properties and the substances disposed or released on, under or from them may be subject to CERCLA, RCRA and analogous state laws. Under such laws, we could be required to undertake response or corrective measures, regardless of fault, which could include removal of previously disposed substances and wastes, cleanup of contaminated property or performance of remedial plugging or waste pit closure operations to prevent future contamination.
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act, or the Clean Water Act (the “CWA”), and comparable state laws impose restrictions and strict controls regarding the discharge of pollutants, including produced waters and other oil and natural gas wastes, into federal and state waters. The discharge of dredge and fill material in regulated waters, including wetlands, is also prohibited, unless authorized by a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”). The scope of these regulated waters has been subject to substantial controversy. In 2015 and 2020, respectively, the Obama and Trump Administrations each published final rules attempting to define the federal jurisdictional reach over waters of the United States (“WOTUS”); however, both of these rulemakings have been subject to legal challenge. Most recently, the EPA and Corps published a proposed rulemaking to revoke the 2020 rule in favor of a pre-2015 definition until a new definition is proposed, which the Biden Administration has announced is underway. Additionally, in January 2022, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case on the scope and authority of the CWA and the definition of WOTUS. As a result of these developments, the scope of jurisdiction under the CWA is uncertain at this time. To the extent any rule expands the scope of the CWA’s jurisdiction in areas where we operate, we could face increased costs and delays with respect to obtaining permits for dredge and fill activities in wetland areas, which could delay the development of our natural gas and oil projects. Similarly, any increased costs or delays for such permits may impact the development of pipeline infrastructure, which may impact our ability to transport our products. Also, pursuant to these laws and regulations, we may be required to obtain and maintain approvals or permits for the discharge of wastewater or storm water and are required to develop and implement spill prevention, control and countermeasure plans, also referred to as “SPCC plans,” in connection with on-site storage of significant quantities of oil. These laws and any implementing regulations provide for administrative, civil and criminal penalties for any unauthorized discharges of oil and other substances in reportable quantities and may impose substantial potential liability for the costs of removal, remediation and damages.
The federal Clean Air Act and comparable state laws restrict the emission of air pollutants from many sources, such as, for example, compressor stations, through air emissions standards, construction and operating permitting programs and the imposition of other compliance requirements. These laws and regulations may require us to obtain pre-approval for the construction or modification of certain projects or facilities expected to produce or significantly increase air emissions, obtain and strictly comply with stringent air permit requirements or utilize specific equipment or technologies to control emissions of certain pollutants, the costs of which could be significant. The need to obtain permits has the potential to delay the development of our oil and natural gas projects. Over the next several years, we may be required to incur certain capital expenditures for air pollution control equipment or other air emissions related issues. For example, in October 2015, the EPA lowered the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (“NAAQS”), for ozone from 75 to 70 parts per billion for both the 8-hour primary and secondary standards, and completed attainment/non-attainment designations in July 2018. Subsequently, in 2020, the Trump Administration decided to leave this standard in place, but the Biden Administration has announced plans to formally review this decision and consider instituting a more stringent standard. These decisions are subject to legal challenge, and any proposed rule will likely be subject to such challenge as well. The EPA has also issued final rules under the Clean Air Act that subject oil and natural gas production, processing, transmission and storage operations to regulation under the New Source Performance Standards, or NSPS, and National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants programs. These final rules require, among other things, capturing or combustion of certain emissions, as well as emission leak detection and repair programs. These regulations also establish specific new requirements regarding emissions from production related wet seal and reciprocating compressors, and from pneumatic controllers and storage vessels. Compliance with these and other air pollution control and permitting requirements has the potential to delay the development of natural gas and oil projects and increase our costs of development and production, which costs could be significant. However, we do not believe that compliance with such current requirements will have a material adverse effect on our operations.
Regulation of “Greenhouse Gas” Emissions
In response to findings that emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other GHG, present an endangerment to public health and the environment, the EPA has adopted regulations under existing provisions of the federal Clean Air Act that, among other things, establish Prevention of Significant Deterioration (“PSD”), construction and Title V operating permit reviews for certain large stationary sources that are already major sources of criteria pollutant emissions regulated under the statute. Facilities required to obtain PSD permits for their GHG emissions also will be required to meet “best available control technology” standards that will be established by the states or, in some cases, by the EPA for those emissions. These EPA rulemakings could adversely affect our operations and restrict or delay our ability to obtain air permits for new or modified sources. In addition, the EPA has adopted rules requiring the monitoring and reporting of GHG emissions from specified onshore and offshore oil and gas production sources in the United States on an annual basis, which include certain of our operations.
The federal regulation of methane from oil and gas facilities has been subject to substantial uncertainty in recent years. In June 2016, the EPA finalized NSPS, known as Subpart OOOOa, that establish emission standards for methane and volatile organic compounds (“VOCs”) from new and modified oil and natural gas production and natural gas processing and transmission facilities. In September 2020, the EPA finalized amendments to the 2016 standards that removed the transmission and storage segment from the oil and natural gas source category and rescinded the methane-specific requirements for production and processing facilities. However, President Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office calling for the suspension, revision, or rescission of the September 2020 rule and the reinstatement or issuance of methane emission standards for new, modified, and existing oil and gas facilities. Subsequently, the U.S. Congress approved, and President Biden has signed into law, a resolution under the Congressional Review Act to repeal the September 2020 revisions to the methane standards, effectively reinstating the prior standards. In response to President Biden’s executive order, in November 2021, the EPA issued a proposed rule that, if finalized, would establish Quad Ob as new source and Quad Oc as first-time existing source standards of performance for methane and VOC emissions for the crude oil and natural gas source category. Owners or operators of affected emission units or processes would have to comply with specific standards of performance that may include leak detecting using optical gas imaging and subsequent repair requirements, reduction of regulated emissions through capture and control systems and zero-emission requirements for certain equipment or processes, operations and maintenance requirements. The EPA plans to issue a supplemental proposal enhancing the proposed rulemaking in 2022 that will contain proposed rule text, which was not included in the November 2021 proposed rule, and anticipates issuing a final rule by the end of 2022. Once finalized, the regulations are likely to be subject to legal challenge and will also need to be incorporated into the states’ implementation plans, which will need to be approved by the EPA in individual rulemakings that could also be subject to legal challenge. As a result, we cannot predict the scope of any final methane regulatory requirements or the cost to comply with such requirements. Given the long-term trend toward increasing regulation, future federal GHG regulations of the oil and gas industry remain a possibility, and several states have separately imposed their own regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas production activities.
We have developed a program to reduce and manage our methane and other air emissions that is guided by the following principles: (i) monitoring the science of climate change and air quality, (ii) addressing stakeholder inquiries regarding our position on climate change, methane emissions and air quality matters, (iii) monitoring our measures to reduce methane and air emissions, and (iv) overseeing development of methane and air emission reductions from activities, including implementation of best-management practices and new technology.
For example, in 2017, Antero incorporated a balanced drill out technique as the final step in the completions process where the majority of gas from the wellbore is maintained downhole. This is followed by a controlled emission flowback process that captures gas and sends it to sales. We have a long history of managing methane emissions from our operations, as demonstrated by our early use of emission reduction techniques and equipment.
When we permit a facility, we install air pollution control equipment to comply with federal Clean Air Act NSPS and applicable Best Available Control Technology standards. The control equipment includes Vapor Recovery Towers and Vapor Recovery Units, which capture methane emissions and direct them to a sales line. This technology allows us to recover a valuable product and reduce emissions. Additionally, residual storage tank emissions are controlled with vapor combustors that reduce methane emissions by 98%. We continue to transition away from intermittent and low bleed natural gas supplied pneumatics to air supplied pneumatics at all new production facilities and select existing pads. In 2021, we eliminated or replaced over 5,400 natural gas driven pneumatic devices.
Our methane and air emission control program also includes a Leak Detection and Repair (“LDAR”) program. Periodic inspections are conducted to minimize emissions by detecting leaks and repairing them promptly. The LDAR program inspections utilize a state-of-the-art Optical Gas Imaging, Forward Looking Infrared Radar camera to identify equipment leaks. In addition, our Operations group has a maintenance program in place, which includes cleaning and replacing thief hatch seals and worn equipment to prevent leaks from occurring. Our efforts to date have resulted in a declining volume of methane emissions based on the decreasing number of leaks detected by our LDAR program.
We participate in the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR Program, which provides a framework for companies with U.S. oil and gas operations to implement methane reduction technologies and practices and document their emission reduction activities. We are also members of ONE Future, a voluntary industry collective that seeks to reduce methane emission intensity across the natural gas supply chain, as well as The Environmental Partnership, which focuses on voluntary measures that the oil and gas industry can take to reduce emissions of methane and VOCs through the implementation of LDAR, equipment emission monitoring, and maintenance and repair programs. By joining these programs, we committed to: (i) evaluate our methane emission reduction opportunities, (ii) implement methane reduction projects where feasible and (iii) annually report our methane emissions and/or our methane reduction activities.
Since 2017, we have published an annual Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) report, which highlights our most significant environmental program improvements and initiatives. As highlighted in our ESG report, our methane leak loss rate in 2020 was 0.046%, calculated in accordance with ONE Future, well below the ONE Future voluntary industry target of 1%.
During 2021, our GHG/methane emission reduction efforts included the following activities:
|1)||Established an ESG Advisory Council comprised of a cross-disciplinary group of internal subject matter experts to partner with our GHG/Methane Reduction Team to manage ESG (including climate change) risks, opportunities and strategies.|
|2)||Held quarterly meetings with the GHG/Methane Reduction team to review emerging methane detection and quantification technologies applicable to exploration and production operations.|
|3)||Conducted quarterly facility LDAR inspections, which is twice the frequency required by current federal regulation.|
|4)||Installed lockdown thief hatches on storage tanks at all new production facilities.|
|5)||Operated burner management systems with two stages of pressure control to optimize combustor efficiency. We utilize combustors that are certified by the manufacturer to meet EPA performance standards.|
|6)||Utilized vapor recovery systems such that we incorporate up to three stages of vapor recovery in our process.|
|7)||Utilized low pressure separators (Green Completion Units) after drill out during separation flowback operations to recover methane and send it down a sales line. This enables us to recover a salable product and reduce methane|
|emissions during completion operations.|
|8)||Ensured that pressure relief valves are tested and repaired or replaced as necessary, reducing the amount of methane that is accidently released.|
|9)||Utilized balanced-pressure well drill outs, which minimize the potential for venting and/or flaring of gas from our wells during the well completion process.|
|10)||Plugged and abandoned on a periodic basis certain older vertical wells that were acquired in conjunction with property acquisitions. Plugging and abandoning older, low producing wells can reduce methane emissions.|
|11)||Eliminated or replaced over 5,400 intermittent and low-bleed natural gas-controlled pneumatics.|
|12)||Utilized mobile gas lift units instead of swabbing and liquids unloading, which reduces emissions that were previously not captured.|
We continue to assess various opportunities for emission reductions. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to implement any of the opportunities that we may review or explore. For any such opportunities that we do choose to implement, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to implement them within a specific timeframe or across all operational assets. For risks and uncertainties related to ESG matters, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors—Business Operations—Increasing attention to ESG matters and conservation measures may adversely impact our business.”
Increasingly, fossil fuel companies are exposed to litigation risks associated with the threat of climate change. A number of parties have brought suits against fossil fuel companies in state or federal court for alleged contributions to, or failures to disclose the impacts of, climate change. We are not currently party to any such litigation, but could be named in future actions making similar claims of liability. To the extent that societal pressures or political or other factors are involved, it is possible that such liability could be imposed without regard to our causation of or contribution to the asserted damage, or to other mitigating factors.
In the United States, no comprehensive climate change legislation has been implemented at the federal level. However, President Biden has highlighted addressing climate change as a priority of his administration, which includes certain potential initiatives for climate change legislation to be proposed and passed into law. On January 27, 2021, President Biden signed an executive order calling for substantial action on climate change, including, among other things, the increased use of zero-emissions vehicles by the federal government, the elimination of subsidies provided to the fossil fuel industry, and increased emphasis on climate-related risks across agencies and economic sectors. Additionally, in November 2021, the Biden Administration released “The Long-Term Strategy of the United States: Pathways to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050,” which establishes a roadmap to net zero emissions in the United States by 2050 through, among other things, improving energy efficiency; decarbonizing energy sources via electricity, hydrogen and sustainable biofuels; and reducing non-CO2 GHG emissions, such as methane and nitrous oxide. Other actions that could be pursued by the Biden Administration may include the imposition of more restrictive requirements for the establishment of pipeline infrastructure or the permitting of LNG export facilities, as well as more restrictive GHG emissions limitations for oil and gas facilities. Internationally, the United Nations-sponsored “Paris Agreement” requires member states to individually determine and submit non-binding emissions reduction targets every five years after 2020. President Biden recommitted the United States to the Paris Agreement and, in April 2021, announced a goal of reducing the United States’ emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by 2030. In November 2021, the international community gathered again in Glasgow at the 26th Conference to the Parties on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (“COP26”), during which multiple announcements were made, including a call for parties to eliminate certain fossil fuel subsidies and pursue further action on non-CO2 GHGs. Relatedly, the United States and European Union jointly announced the launch of the “Global Methane Pledge,” which aims to cut global methane pollution at least 30% by 2030 relative to 2020 levels, including “all feasible reductions” in the energy sector. The impacts of these orders, pledges, agreements and any legislation or regulation promulgated to fulfill the United States’ commitments under the Paris Agreement, COP26, or other international conventions cannot be predicted at this time.
Additionally, our access to capital may be impacted by climate change policies. Financial institutions may adopt policies that have the effect of reducing the funding provided to the fossil fuel sector. Many of the largest U.S. banks have made net zero commitments and have announced that they will be assessing financed emissions across their portfolios and taking steps to quantify and reduce those emissions. For example, at COP26, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (“GFANZ”) announced that commitments from over 450 firms across 45 countries had resulted in over $130 trillion in capital committed to net zero goals. The various sub-alliances of GFANZ generally require participants to set short-term, sector-specific targets to transition their financing, investing and/or underwriting activities to net zero emissions by 2050. These and other developments in the financial sector could lead to some lenders restricting access to capital for or divesting from certain industries or companies, including the oil and natural gas
sector, or requiring that borrowers take additional steps to reduce their GHG emissions. Additionally, financial institutions may be required to adopt policies that have the effect of reducing the funding provided to the fossil fuel sector. For example, the Federal Reserve has joined the Network for Greening the Financial System, a consortium of financial regulators focused on addressing climate-related risks in the financial sector and, in November 2021, issued a statement in support of the efforts of the NGFS to identify key issues and potential solutions for the climate-related challenges most relevant to central banks and supervisory authorities. While we cannot predict what policies may result from this, a material reduction in the capital available to the fossil fuel industry could make it more difficult to secure funding for exploration, development, production, transportation and processing activities, which could impact our business and operations. In addition, the SEC has announced that it will propose rules that, amongst other matters, will establish a framework for the reporting of climate risks. However, no such rules have been proposed to date, and we cannot predict what any such rules may require. To the extent the rules impose additional reporting obligations, we could face increased costs. Separately, the SEC has also announced that it is scrutinizing existing climate-change related disclosures in public filings, increasing the potential for enforcement if the SEC were to allege an issuer’s existing climate disclosures to be misleading or deficient.
Moreover, climate change may also result in various physical risks, such as the increased frequency or intensity of extreme weather events or changes in meteorological and hydrological patterns, that could adversely impact our financial condition and operations, as well as those or our suppliers and customers. Such physical risks may result in damage to our facilities or otherwise adversely impact our operations, such as if we become subject to water use curtailments in response to drought, or demand for our products, such as to the extent warmer winters reduce the demand for energy for heating purposes. Such physical risks may also impact the infrastructure we rely on to produce or transport our products. One or more of these developments could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and operations.
Hydraulic Fracturing Activities
Hydraulic fracturing is an important and common practice that is used to stimulate production of natural gas and/or oil from low permeability subsurface rock formations. The hydraulic fracturing process involves the injection of water, sand, and chemicals under pressure through a cased and cemented wellbore into targeted subsurface formations to fracture the surrounding rock and stimulate production. We regularly use hydraulic fracturing as part of our operations, as does most of the domestic oil and natural gas industry. Hydraulic fracturing typically is regulated by state oil and natural gas commissions, but the EPA has asserted federal regulatory authority pursuant to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA”), over certain hydraulic fracturing activities. For example, although we do not use diesel fuel down hole in our hydraulic fracturing operations, in February 2014, the EPA issued permitting guidance for the industry regarding such activities. In addition, the EPA finalized rules in June 2016 to prohibit the discharge of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations to publicly owned wastewater treatment plants.
In addition, Congress has from time to time considered legislation to provide for federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing under the SDWA and to require disclosure of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. New legislation regulating hydraulic fracturing may be considered again in future, though we cannot predict when or the scope of any such legislation at this time. At the state level, several states have adopted or are considering legal requirements that could impose more stringent permitting, disclosure, and well construction requirements on hydraulic fracturing activities. For example, the Ohio Legislature has adopted a law requiring oil and natural gas operators to disclose chemical ingredients used to hydraulically fracture wells and to conduct pre-drill baseline water quality sampling of certain water wells near a proposed horizontal well. Local government also may seek to adopt ordinances within their jurisdictions regulating the time, place and manner of drilling activities in general or hydraulic fracturing activities in particular. Some states and municipalities have banned and others seek to ban hydraulic fracturing altogether. We believe that we are in compliance with the applicable standard industry practices and legal requirements for groundwater protection in our hydraulic fracturing activities. Nonetheless, if new or more stringent federal, state, or local legal restrictions relating to the hydraulic fracturing process are adopted in areas where we operate, we could incur potentially significant added costs to comply with such requirements, experience delays or curtailment in the pursuit of exploration, development, or production activities, and perhaps even be precluded from drilling wells.
Occupational Safety and Health Act
We are also subject to the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, as amended (“OSHA”), and comparable state laws that regulate the protection of the health and safety of employees. In addition, OSHA’s hazard communication standard, the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act and implementing regulations and similar state statutes and regulations require that information be maintained about hazardous materials used or produced in our operations and that this information be provided to employees, state and local government authorities, and citizens. We do not believe that any noncompliance with worker health and safety requirments has occurred or will have a material adverse effect on our business or operations.
Endangered Species Act
The federal Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), provides for the protection of endangered and threatened species. Pursuant to the ESA, if a species is listed as threatened or endangered, restrictions may be imposed on activities adversely affecting that species’ habitat. Similar protections are offered to migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We conduct operations on natural gas and oil leases in areas where certain species that are listed as threatened or endangered are known to exist and where other species that potentially could be listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA may exist. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (“USFWS”), may designate critical habitat and suitable habitat areas that it believes are necessary for survival of a threatened or endangered species. A critical habitat or suitable habitat designation could result in further material restrictions to federal land use and may materially delay or prohibit access to protected areas for natural gas and oil development. Moreover, as a result of a settlement, the USFWS was required to make a determination as to whether more than 250 species classified as endangered or threatened should be listed under the ESA by the completion of the agency’s 2017 fiscal year. For example, in April 2015, the USFWS listed the northern long-eared bat, whose habitat includes the areas in which we operate, as a threatened species under the ESA; however, on January 28, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the USFWS to reconsider its decision to list the northern long-eared bat as threatened instead of endangered, and in March 2021 the same court ordered USFWS to make a determination by December 2022 whether a listing as endangered is warranted. The designation of previously unprotected species as threatened or endangered, or redesignation of a threatened species as endangered, in areas where underlying property operations are conducted could cause us to incur increased costs arising from species protection measures or could result in limitations on our exploration and production activities that could have an adverse impact on our ability to develop and produce reserves. If we were to have a portion of our leases designated as critical or suitable habitat, it could adversely impact the value of our leases.
Although we have not experienced any material adverse effect from compliance with environmental requirements, there is no assurance that this will continue. We did not have any material capital or other non-recurring expenditures in connection with complying with environmental laws or environmental remediation matters in 2021, nor do we anticipate that such expenditures will be material in 2022.
We believe that our employees and contractors are significant contributors to our success and the future success of our Company, which depends on our ability to attract, retain and motivate qualified personnel. The skills, experience and industry knowledge of key employees significantly benefit our operations and performance.
As of December 31, 2021, we had 519 full-time employees, including 38 in executive, finance, treasury, legal and administration, 20 in information technology, 16 in geology, 217 in production and operations, 139 in midstream and water, 48 in land and 41 in accounting and internal audit. Additionally, we utilize the services of independent contractors to perform various field and other services. We are not a party to any collective bargaining agreements and have not experienced any strikes or work stoppages. We consider our relations with our employees to be generally good.
We have demonstrated a history of investing in our workforce by offering competitive salaries, wages and benefits. To foster a stronger sense of ownership and align the interests of our personnel with shareholders, we provide long-term incentive programs that include restricted stock units, performance share units and cash awards. Additionally, we offer short-term cash incentive programs, which are discretionary and are based on individual and company performance factors, among others. Furthermore, we offer comprehensive benefits to our full-time employees working 30 hours or more per week. To be an employer of choice and maintain the strength of our workforce, we consistently assess the current business environment and labor market to refine our compensation and benefits programs and other resources available to our personnel. Among other benefits, these include:
|●||comprehensive health insurance, including vision and dental; we have not increased employee premiums in over 15 years;|
|●||employee Health Savings Accounts, including contributions to these accounts by us;|
|●||401(k) retirement savings plan with discretionary contribution matching opportunities;|
|●||competitive paid time off and sick leave programs; and|
|●||wellness support benefits including an employee assistance program and short-term and long-term disability coverage, among others.|
Role Based Support
We support our employees’ professional development. To help our personnel succeed in their roles, we emphasize continuous formal and informal training and development opportunities. We provide training by department to focus on job and area specific training. Additionally, we have a robust performance evaluation program, which includes tools to facilitate goals and career progression.
Workforce Health and Safety
The safety of our employees is a core tenet of our values, and our safety goal is zero incidents and zero injuries. A strong safety culture reduces risk, enhances productivity and builds a strong reputation in the communities in which we operate. We have earned a reputation as a safe and an environmentally responsible operator through continuous improvement in our safety performance. This makes us more attractive for current and new employees.
We invest in safety training and coaching, promote risk assessments and encourage visible safety leadership. Employees are empowered and expected to stop or refuse to perform a job if it is not safe or cannot be performed safely. We sponsor emergency preparedness programs, conduct regular audits to assess our performance and celebrate our successes in which we acknowledge employees and contractors alike who have exhibited strong safety leadership during the course of the year. These many efforts combine to create a culture of safety throughout the company and provide a positive influence on our contractor community.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented significant changes that we believe to be in the best interest of our employees, as well as the communities in which we operate, and that comply with government orders. These include having our office employees work from home to the extent they are able and implementing additional safety measures, including required weekly testing and other recommended public health measures for our field and other employees (including on-site contract workers) continuing critical on-site work. We continue to monitor the COVID-19 environment in order to (i) protect the health and safety of our employees and contract workers and (ii) determine when a return to in-office working arrangements will be appropriate.
Diversity, Inclusion and Workplace Culture
We are committed to building a culture where diversity and inclusion are core philosophies across our operations, including, but not limited to, our decisions around recruitment, promotion, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, opportunities for career support and advancement, job performance and other relevant job-related criteria. We embrace an approach to hiring and advancement that considers the value of diversity, and we are also committed to making opportunities for development and progress available to all employees so their talents can be fully developed to maximize our and their success. We believe that creating an environment that cultivates a sense of belonging requires encouraging employees to continue to educate themselves about each other’s experiences, and we strive to promote the respect and dignity of all persons. We also believe it is important that we foster education, communication and understanding about diversity, inclusion and belonging. Finally, in line with our commitments to equal employment opportunity and diversity and inclusion, we expect recruiters operating on our behalf to provide us with a diverse pool of candidates.
Address, Internet Website and Availability of Public Filings
Our principal executive offices are located at 1615 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado 80202 and our telephone number is (303) 357-7310. Our website is located at www.anteroresources.com.
We furnish or file our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, our Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to such reports and other documents with the SEC under the Exchange Act. The SEC also maintains an internet website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements and other information regarding issuers, including us, that file electronically with the SEC.
We also make these documents available free of charge at www.anteroresources.com under the “Investors” link as soon as reasonably practicable after they are filed or furnished with the SEC.
Information on our website is not incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K or our other filings with the SEC and is not a part of them.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
We are subject to certain risks and hazards due to the nature of the business activities we conduct. The risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. We may experience additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us. Furthermore, as a result of developments occurring in the future, conditions that we currently deem to be immaterial may also materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Natural gas, NGLs and oil price volatility, or a substantial or prolonged period of low natural gas, NGLs and oil prices, may adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations and our ability to meet our capital expenditure obligations and financial commitments.
The prices we receive for our natural gas, NGLs and oil production heavily influence our revenue, profitability, access to capital and future rate of growth. Natural gas, NGLs and oil are commodities and, therefore, their prices are subject to wide fluctuations in response to relatively minor changes in supply and demand. The prices we receive for our production, and the levels of our production, depend on numerous factors beyond our control. These factors include the following:
|●||worldwide and regional economic conditions impacting the global supply and demand for natural gas, NGLs and oil;|
|●||the price and quantity of imports of foreign, and exports of domestic, oil, natural gas and NGLs including liquefied natural gas;|
|●||political conditions in or affecting other producing countries, including conflicts in or among the Middle East, Africa, South America and Russia;|
|●||the level of global exploration and production;|
|●||the level of global inventories;|
|●||events that impact global market demand (e.g., the reduced demand resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic);|
|●||prevailing prices on local price indexes in the areas in which we operate;|
|●||localized and global supply and demand fundamentals and transportation availability;|
|●||technological advances affecting energy consumption;|
|●||the price and availability of alternative fuels; and|
|●||domestic, local and foreign governmental regulation and taxes.|
The daily spot prices for NYMEX Henry Hub natural gas ranged from a high of $23.86 per MMBtu to a low of $2.43 per MMBtu in 2021, and the daily spot prices for NYMEX West Texas Intermediate crude oil ranged from a high of $85.64 per barrel to a low of $47.47 per barrel during the same period. While oil and natural gas prices were generally higher in 2021 than they were in 2020, the markets for these commodities have historically been volatile, and these markets will likely continue to be volatile in the future. In addition, the market price for natural gas in the Appalachian Basin continues to be lower relative to NYMEX Henry Hub as a result of the significant increases in the supply of natural gas in the Northeast region in recent years. NGLs are made up of ethane, propane, isobutane, normal butane and natural gasoline, all of which have different uses and different pricing characteristics, which adds further volatility to the pricing of NGLs. Due to the volatility of commodity prices, we are unable to predict future potential movements in the market prices for natural gas, oil and NGLs at our ultimate sales points and, thus, cannot predict the ultimate impact of prices on our operations.
Prolonged low, and/or significant or extended declines in, natural gas, NGLs and oil prices may adversely affect our revenues, operating income, cash flows and financial position, particularly if we are unable to control our development costs during periods of lower natural gas, NGLs and oil prices. Declines in prices could also adversely affect our drilling activities and the amount of natural gas, NGLs and oil that we can produce economically, which may result in our having to make significant downward adjustments to the value of our assets and could cause us to incur non-cash impairment charges to earnings in future periods, similar to the aggregate $1.3 billion impairment charges we recognized in 2019. Reductions in cash flows from lower commodity prices have required us to reduce our capital spending and could reduce our production and our reserves, negatively affecting our future rate of growth. Lower prices for natural gas, NGLs and oil may also adversely affect our credit ratings and result in a reduction in our borrowing capacity and access to other capital. We are also exposed to the risk of non-performance by our hedge counterparties in the event that changes, positive or negative, in natural gas prices result in our derivative contracts having a positive fair value in our favor. Further, adverse economic and market conditions could negatively affect the collectability of our trade receivables and cause our hedge counterparties to be unable to perform their obligations or to seek bankruptcy protection.
Increases in natural gas, NGLs and oil prices may be accompanied by or result in increased well drilling costs, increased production taxes, increased lease operating expenses, increased volatility in seasonal gas price spreads and increased end-user conservation or conversion to alternative fuels. In addition, to the extent we have hedged our current production at prices below the current market price, we are unable to benefit fully from an increase in the price of natural gas, NGLs and oil.
We have received significant incremental cash flows as a result of our hedging activity. To the extent we are unable to obtain future hedges at effective prices consistent with those we have received to date and commodity prices do not improve, our cash flows may be adversely impacted. Furthermore, our derivative activities could result in financial losses or could reduce our earnings. In certain circumstances, we may have to make cash payments under our hedging arrangements and these payments could be significant.
To achieve more predictable cash flows and reduce our exposure to downward price fluctuations, as of December 31, 2021, we had entered into forward swap contracts for approximately 438 Bcf of our projected natural gas production through December 31, 2023 and basis swap contracts for approximately 58 Bcf through December 31, 2024. Historically, we have realized a significant benefit from our hedge positions. For example, for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020, we received approximately $325 million and $795 million, respectively, in revenues from cash settled derivatives pursuant to our hedging arrangements, including $9 million for certain natural gas hedges that were monetized prior to their contractual settlement dates during the year ended December 31, 2020. Many of the hedge agreements that resulted in these realized gains for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2020 were executed at times when spot and future prices were higher than prices that we are currently able to obtain in the futures market, and the prices at which we have been able to hedge future production have decreased as a result. Sustained weaknesses in commodity prices adversely affect our ability to hedge future production. If we are unable to enter into new hedge contracts in the future at favorable pricing and for sufficient volumes, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.
Additionally, because we have financial derivatives in place to hedge against price declines for a significant part of our estimated future production, we have fixed or limited a significant part of our overall future revenues. Assuming our 2022 production is the same as our production in 2021, approximately 54% of our production for 2022 will be hedged through either forward swaps or basis swaps. If natural gas prices upon settlement of our derivative contracts exceed the price at which we have hedged our commodities, we will be obligated to make cash payments to our hedge counterparties, which could, in certain circumstances, be significant for our natural gas contracts. For example, during the year ended December 31, 2021, we paid approximately $1.2 billion, net, related to cash settled derivatives pursuant to our hedging arrangements due to increased commodity prices. If development drilling costs increase significantly because of inflation, increased demand for oilfield services, increased costs to comply with regulations governing our industry or other factors, the payments we receive under these derivative contracts may not be sufficient to cover our costs.
If commodity prices decrease to a level such that our future undiscounted cash flows from our properties are less than their carrying value for a significant period of time, we will be required to take write-downs of the carrying values of our properties.
Accounting rules require that we periodically review the carrying value of our properties for possible impairment if the estimated future undiscounted cash flows are less than the carrying value of our properties. Based on specific market factors and circumstances at the time of prospective impairment reviews, and the continuing evaluation of development plans, production data, economics and other factors, we may be required to write-down the carrying value of our properties. A write-down constitutes a non-cash charge to earnings. For example, see the discussion of the impairment charges we recorded in 2019 with respect to our Utica Shale properties in Note 2—Significant Accounting Policies to the consolidated financial statements. We may incur significant
impairment charges in the future, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations for the periods in which such charges are taken.
The imbalance between the supply of and demand for oil, natural gas and NGLs at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic caused extreme market volatility, increased costs and decreased availability of storage capacity.
The marketing of our natural gas, NGLs and oil production is substantially dependent upon the existence of adequate markets for our products. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments tried to slow the spread of the virus by imposing social distancing guidelines, travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders, among other actions, which caused a significant decrease in the demand for oil and to a lesser extent, natural gas and NGLs. The imbalance between the supply of and demand for these products, as well as the uncertainty around the extent and timing of an economic recovery, caused extreme market volatility and a substantial adverse effect on commodity prices in 2020. Also, as a result of this imbalance, the industry experienced storage capacity constraints with respect to certain NGL products and oil. Without sufficient transportation and storage capacity, many producers were forced to temporarily shut in portions of our their production or sell portions of their production at below-market prices.
The extent to which the pandemic will impact our business results and operations remains uncertain in light of the rapidly evolving environment, duration and severity of the spread of the virus and emerging variants, effectiveness of vaccine and booster shots, public acceptance of safety protocols and government measures, including vaccine mandates, designed to slow and contain the spread of COVID-19, among others. As vaccines have become widely available, social distancing guidelines, travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders have eased, activity in the global economy has increased, demand for oil, natural gas and NGLs and related commodity pricing has improved and storage capacity constraints have subsided. However, a worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic or other circumstances that could give rise to an imbalance between the supply of and demand for our products could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
The development of our estimated proved undeveloped reserves may take longer and may require higher levels of capital expenditures than we currently anticipate. Therefore, our estimated proved undeveloped reserves may not be ultimately developed or produced.
As of December 31, 2021, 28% of our total estimated proved reserves were classified as proved undeveloped. Our approximately 5.0 Tcfe of estimated proved undeveloped reserves will require an estimated $1.5 billion of development capital over the next five years. Moreover, the development of probable and possible reserves will require additional capital expenditures and such reserves are less certain to be recovered than proved reserves. Development of these undeveloped reserves may take longer and require higher levels of capital expenditures than we currently anticipate. Delays in the development of our reserves, increases in costs to drill and develop such reserves, or decreases in commodity prices will reduce the value of our estimated proved undeveloped reserves and future net revenues estimated for such reserves and may result in some projects becoming uneconomic. In addition, delays in the development of reserves could require us to reclassify our proved undeveloped reserves as unproved reserves.
Reserve estimates depend on many assumptions that may turn out to be inaccurate. Any material inaccuracies in our reserve estimates or underlying assumptions will materially affect the quantities and present value of our reserves.
The process of estimating oil and gas reserves is complex. It requires interpretations of available technical data and many assumptions, including assumptions relating to current and future economic conditions and commodity prices. Any significant inaccuracies in these interpretations or assumptions could materially affect our estimated quantities and present value of our reserves.
To prepare our estimates, we must project production rates and timing of development expenditures. We must also analyze available geological, geophysical, production and engineering data. The extent, quality and reliability of this data can vary.
The process also requires economic assumptions about matters such as realized prices, drilling and operating expenses, capital expenditures, taxes and availability of funds.
Actual future production, realized prices, revenues, taxes, development expenditures, operating expenses and quantities of recoverable reserves will vary from our estimates. Any significant variance could materially affect the estimated quantities and present value of our reserves. In addition, we may adjust our reserve estimates to reflect production history, results of exploration and development, existing commodity prices and other factors, many of which are beyond our control.
Investors should not assume that the present value of future net revenues from our reserves is the current market value of our estimated reserves. We generally base the estimated discounted future net cash flows from our reserves on prices and costs on the date of the estimate. Actual future prices and costs may differ materially from those used in the present value estimate.
The standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows from our proved reserves is not the same as the current market value of our estimated oil and gas reserves.
Investors should not assume that the standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows from our proved reserves is the current market value of our estimated oil and gas reserves. In accordance with SEC requirements, we based the discounted future net cash flows from our proved reserves on the twelve-month unweighted arithmetic average of the first-day-of-the-month price for the preceding twelve months without giving effect to derivative transactions. Actual future net cash flows from our properties will be affected by factors such as the actual prices we receive for natural gas, NGLs and oil, the amount, timing and cost of actual production and changes in governmental regulations or taxation. In addition, the 10% discount factor we use when calculating the standardized measure is based on SEC guidelines, and may not be the most appropriate discount factor based on interest rates in effect from time to time and risks associated with us or the oil and gas industry in general.
Unless we replace our reserves with new reserves and develop those reserves, our reserves and, eventually, production will decline, which would adversely affect our future cash flows and results of operations.
Producing oil and gas reservoirs generally are characterized by declining production rates that vary depending upon reservoir characteristics and other factors. Unless we conduct successful ongoing exploration and development activities or continually acquire properties containing proved reserves, our proved reserves will decline as those reserves are produced. Our future reserves and production, and therefore, our future cash flow and results of operations are highly dependent on our success in efficiently developing our current reserves and economically finding or acquiring additional recoverable reserves. We may not be able to develop, find or acquire sufficient additional reserves to replace our current and future production, and any such acquisition and development may be offset by any asset disposition. If we are unable to replace our current and future production, the value of our reserves will decrease, and our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected.
Approximately 54% of our net leasehold acreage is undeveloped, and that acreage may not ultimately be developed or become commercially productive, which could cause us to lose rights under our leases as well as have a material adverse effect on our oil and natural gas reserves and future production and, therefore, our future cash flow and income.
Approximately 54% of our net leasehold acreage is undeveloped, or acreage on which wells have not been drilled or completed to a point that would permit the production of commercial quantities of oil and natural gas regardless of whether such acreage contains proved reserves. We have proved undeveloped reserves of 983 Bcfe related to such acreage that is subject to renewal prior to drilling. In addition, approximately 18% of our natural gas leases related to our Appalachian Basin acreage require us to drill wells that are commercially productive, and if we are unsuccessful in drilling such wells, we could lose our rights under such leases. Our future oil and gas reserves and production and, therefore, our future cash flow and income are highly dependent on successfully developing our undeveloped leasehold acreage. For more information on our future potential acreage expirations, see “Item 1. Business and Properties—Our Properties and Operations—Undeveloped Acreage Expirations.”
Drilling for and producing oil and gas are high risk activities with many uncertainties that could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Our future financial condition and results of operations will depend on the success of our exploration, development and acquisition activities, which are subject to numerous risks beyond our control, including the risk that drilling will not result in commercially viable hydrocarbons. Our decisions to purchase, explore, or develop prospects or properties will depend in part on the evaluation of data obtained through geophysical and geological analyses, production data and engineering studies, the results of which are often inconclusive or subject to varying interpretations. For a discussion of the uncertainty involved in these processes, see “—Reserves—Reserve estimates depend on many assumptions that may turn out to be inaccurate. Any material inaccuracies in our reserve estimates or underlying assumptions will materially affect the quantities and present value of our reserves.” In addition, our cost of drilling, completing and operating wells is subject to operational uncertainties.
Further, many factors may curtail, delay or cancel our scheduled drilling projects, including the following:
|●||prolonged declines in natural gas, NGLs and oil prices;|
|●||limitations in the market for natural gas, NGLs and oil;|
|●||delays imposed by, or resulting from, compliance with regulatory requirements;|
|●||pressure or irregularities in geological formations;|
|●||shortages of, or delays in, obtaining equipment, qualified personnel or water for hydraulic fracturing activities;|
|●||equipment failures or accidents;|
|●||adverse weather conditions, such as blizzards, tornadoes, hurricanes and ice storms;|
|●||issues related to compliance with environmental regulations;|
|●||environmental hazards, such as natural gas leaks, oil spills, pipeline and tank ruptures, encountering naturally occurring radioactive materials, and unauthorized discharges of brine, well stimulation and completion fluids, toxic gases or other pollutants into the surface and subsurface environment;|
|●||limited availability of financing at acceptable terms; and|
|●||mineral interest or other title problems.|
Certain of these risks can cause substantial losses, including personal injury or loss of life, damage to or destruction of property, natural resources and equipment, environmental contamination or loss of wells and regulatory fines or penalties.
Properties that we decide to drill may not yield natural gas, NGLs or oil in commercially viable quantities, which may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Prior to drilling and testing a prospect, we are unable to predict with certainty whether any particular prospect will yield natural gas, NGLs or oil in sufficient quantities to recover drilling or completion costs or to be economically viable. Seismic data and other technologies and the study of producing fields in the same area will not enable us to know conclusively prior to drilling whether natural gas or oil will be present or, if present, whether natural gas or oil will be present in commercial quantities. We cannot make any assurances that the analogies we draw from available data from other wells, more fully explored prospects or producing fields will be applicable to our drilling prospects. Further, our drilling operations may be curtailed, delayed or cancelled as a result of numerous factors, including:
|●||unexpected drilling conditions;|
|●||mineral interest or other title problems;|
|●||pressure or lost circulation in formations;|
|●||equipment failure or accidents;|
|●||adverse weather conditions;|
|●||compliance with environmental and other governmental or contractual requirements; and|
|●||increase in the cost of, or shortages or delays in the availability of, electricity, supplies, materials, drilling or workover rigs, equipment and services.|
Market conditions or operational impediments, such as the unavailability of satisfactory transportation arrangements or necessary infrastructure, may hinder our access to natural gas, NGLs and oil markets or delay our production.
The availability of a ready market for our natural gas, NGLs and oil production depends on a number of factors, including the demand for and supply of natural gas, NGLs and oil and the proximity of reserves to, and capacity of, pipelines, other transportation facilities, gathering and processing, fractionation facilities and the availability of other third-party transportation services. The capacity of transmission, gathering and processing and fractionation facilities and the availability of third-party transportation services may be insufficient to accommodate potential production from existing and new wells, which may result in substantial discounts in the prices we receive for our natural gas, NGLs and oil. While our investment in midstream infrastructure through Antero Midstream is intended to address access to and potential curtailments on existing midstream infrastructure, we also deliver to and are serviced by third-party natural gas, NGLs and oil transmission, gathering, processing, storage and fractionation facilities and transportation services that are limited in number, geographically concentrated and subject to significant risks. These risks include the availability of capital, materials and qualified contractors and work force, as well as weather conditions, natural gas, NGLs and oil price volatility, delays in obtaining permits and other government approvals, title and property access problems, geology, public opposition to infrastructure development, compliance by Antero Midstream and/or third parties with their contractual obligations to us and other factors.
An extended interruption of access to or service from pipelines and facilities operated by Antero Midstream and/or third parties, or of transportation services provided by Antero Midstream and/or third parties for any reason, including our failure to obtain such services on acceptable terms, cyberattacks on such pipelines and facilities or service interruptions due to gas quality, could materially harm our business by causing delays in producing and selling our natural gas, NGLs and oil. In such an event, we might have to shut in our wells awaiting a pipeline connection or capacity and/or sell our production at prices lower than market prices or at prices lower than we currently project, all of which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. If we shut-in or curtail production for any of these or other reasons, we would be unable to realize revenue from those wells until other arrangements were made to deliver the products to market.
Our ability to produce natural gas, NGLs and oil economically and in commercial quantities is dependent on the availability of adequate supplies of water for drilling and completion operations and access to water and waste disposal or recycling facilities and services at a reasonable cost. Restrictions on our ability to obtain water or dispose of produced water and other waste may have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
The hydraulic fracture stimulation process on which we depend to produce commercial quantities of natural gas, NGLs and oil requires the use and disposal of significant quantities of water. The availability of water recycling facilities and other disposal alternatives to receive all of the water produced from our wells may affect our production. Our inability to secure sufficient amounts of water, or to dispose of or recycle the water used in our operations, or to timely obtain water sourcing permits or other rights, could adversely impact our operations. The availability of water may change over time in ways that we cannot control, including as a result of climate change-related effects such as shifting weather patterns. Additionally, the imposition of new environmental initiatives and regulations could include restrictions on our ability to obtain water or dispose of waste and adversely affect our business and operating results.
Our identified potential well locations are scheduled out over many years, making them susceptible to uncertainties that could materially alter the occurrence or timing of their drilling. In addition, we may not be able to obtain the substantial amount of capital necessary to drill our potential well locations.
Our management team has specifically identified and scheduled certain well locations as an estimation of our future multi-year drilling activities on our existing acreage. These well locations represent a significant part of our development strategy. Our ability to drill and develop these locations depends on a number of uncertainties, including natural gas, NGLs and oil prices, the availability and cost of capital, drilling and production costs, availability of drilling services and equipment, drilling results, lease expirations, unitization agreements, lease acquisitions, surface agreements, gathering system and pipeline transportation constraints, access to and availability of water sourcing and distribution systems, regulatory approvals and other factors. Because of these uncertainties, we do not know if the numerous potential well locations we have identified will ever be drilled or if we will be able to produce natural gas, NGLs or oil from these or any other potential well locations. In addition, unless production is established within the spacing units covering the undeveloped acres on which some of the potential locations are obtained, the leases for such acreage will expire. As such, our actual drilling activities may materially differ from those presently identified. For more information on our future potential acreage expirations, see “Item 1. Business and Properties—Our Properties and Operations—Undeveloped Acreage Expirations.”
As of December 31, 2021, we had 2,083 identified potential horizontal well locations located in our proved, probable, and possible reserve base. As a result of the limitations described above, we may be unable to drill many of our potential well locations. In addition, we will require significant additional capital over a prolonged period to pursue the development of these locations, and we may not be able to obtain or generate the capital required to do so. Any drilling activities we are able to conduct on these potential locations may not be successful or result in our ability to add additional proved reserves to our overall proved reserves, or may result in a downward revision of our estimated proved reserves, which could have a material adverse effect on our future business and results of operations. For more information on our identified potential well locations, see “Item 1. Business and Properties—Our Properties and Operations—Estimated Proved Reserves—Identification of Potential Well Locations.”
We may incur losses as a result of title defects in the properties in which we invest.
When we acquire oil and gas leases or interests, we typically do not incur the expense of retaining lawyers to examine the title to the mineral interest at the time of acquisition. Rather, before attempting to acquire a lease in a specific mineral interest, we rely upon the judgment of oil and gas lease brokers or landmen who perform the fieldwork in examining records in the appropriate governmental office. Leases in the Appalachian Basin are particularly vulnerable to title deficiencies due to the long history of land ownership in the area, resulting in extensive and complex chains of title. The existence of a material title deficiency can render a lease worthless and can adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. While we do typically obtain title opinions prior to commencing drilling operations on a lease or in a unit, the failure of title may not be discovered until after a well is drilled, in which case we may lose the lease and the right to produce all or a portion of the minerals under the property.
Increased attention to ESG matters and conservation measures may adversely impact our business.
Increasing attention to climate change, societal expectations on companies to address climate change, investor and societal expectations regarding voluntary ESG disclosures, and consumer demand for alternative forms of energy may result in increased costs, reduced demand for our products, reduced profits, increased investigations and litigation, negative impacts on our stock price and reduced access to capital markets. Increasing attention to climate change and environmental conservation, for example, may result in demand shifts for oil and natural gas products and additional governmental investigations and private litigation against us. To the extent that societal pressures or political or other factors are involved, it is possible that such liability could be imposed without regard to our causation of or contribution to the asserted damage, or to other mitigating factors.
Moreover, while we create and publish voluntary disclosures regarding ESG matters from time to time, many of the statements in those voluntary disclosures are based on hypothetical expectations and assumptions that may or may not be representative of current or actual risks or events or forecasts of expected risks or events, including the costs associated therewith. Such expectations and assumptions are necessarily uncertain and may be prone to error or subject to misinterpretation given the long timelines involved and the lack of an established single approach to identifying, measuring and reporting on many ESG matters. In addition, we have established a net zero goal by 2025 with respect to our Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 2 (indirect from the purchase of energy) GHG emissions, and we could face unexpected material costs as a result of our efforts to meet this goal and any future revisions to it. We continue to evaluate a range of technology and other measures, such as carbon offsets, that could assist with meeting this goal. Given uncertainties related to the use of emerging technologies, the state of markets for and the availability of verified quality carbon offsets, we cannot predict whether or not we will be able to timely meet our net zero goal, if at all. While we may participate in various voluntary frameworks and certification programs to improve the ESG profile of our operations and products, we cannot guarantee that such participation or certification will have the intended results on our or our products’ ESG profile.
In addition, organizations that provide information to investors on corporate governance and related matters have developed ratings processes for evaluating companies on their approach to ESG matters. Such ratings may be used by some investors to inform their investment and voting decisions. Unfavorable ESG ratings and recent activism directed at shifting funding away from companies with energy-related assets could lead to increased negative investor sentiment toward us and our industry and to the diversion of investment to other industries, which could have a negative impact on our stock price and our access to and costs of capital. Also, institutional lenders may decide not to provide funding for fossil fuel energy companies based on climate change related concerns, which could affect our access to capital for potential growth projects. Moreover, to the extent ESG matters negatively impact our reputation, we may not be able to compete as effectively or recruit or retain employees, which may adversely affect our operations. Such ESG matters may also impact Antero Midstream and our customers, which may adversely impact our business, financial condition or results of operations.
We may incur substantial losses and be subject to substantial liability claims as a result of our operations. Additionally, we may not be insured for, or our insurance may be inadequate to protect us against, these risks.
We are not insured against all risks. Losses and liabilities arising from uninsured and underinsured events could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our oil and gas exploration and production activities are subject to all of the operating risks associated with drilling for and producing oil and gas, including the possibility of:
|●||environmental hazards, such as uncontrollable releases of oil, natural gas, brine, well fluids, toxic gas or other pollution into the environment, including groundwater, air and shoreline contamination;|
|●||abnormally pressured formations;|
|●||mechanical difficulties, such as stuck oilfield drilling and service tools and casing collapse;|
|●||fires, explosions and ruptures of pipelines;|
|●||personal injuries and death;|
|●||natural disasters; and|
|●||terrorist attacks targeting natural gas and oil related facilities and infrastructure.|
Any of these risks could adversely affect our ability to conduct operations or result in substantial loss to us as a result of claims for:
|●||injury or loss of life;|
|●||damage to and destruction of property, natural resources and equipment;|
|●||pollution and other environmental damage;|
|●||regulatory investigations and penalties;|
|●||suspension of our operations; and|
|●||repair and remediation costs.|
We may elect not to obtain insurance for any or all of these risks if we believe that the cost of available insurance is excessive relative to the risks presented. In addition, pollution and environmental risks generally are not fully insurable. The occurrence of an event that is not fully covered by insurance could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Competition in the oil and gas industry is intense, making it more difficult for us to acquire properties, market products and secure trained personnel.
Our ability to acquire additional prospects and to find and develop reserves in the future will depend on our ability to evaluate and select suitable properties and to consummate transactions in a highly competitive environment for acquiring properties, marketing products and securing trained personnel. Also, there is substantial competition for capital available for investment in the oil and natural gas industry. Many of our competitors possess and employ financial, technical and personnel resources substantially greater than ours. Those companies may be able to pay more for productive natural gas properties and exploratory prospects and to evaluate, bid for and purchase a greater number of properties and prospects than our financial or personnel resources permit. In addition, other companies may be able to offer better compensation packages to attract and retain qualified personnel than we are able to offer. The cost to attract and retain qualified personnel may increase substantially in the future. We may not be successful in the
future in acquiring prospective reserves, developing reserves, marketing hydrocarbons, attracting and retaining quality personnel and raising additional capital, which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Strategic determinations, including the allocation of capital and other resources to strategic opportunities and repayment of indebtedness, are challenging, and our failure to appropriately allocate capital and resources among our various initiatives may adversely affect our financial condition.
Our future success depends on whether we can identify optimal strategies for our business. In developing our 2022 business plan, we considered allocating capital and other resources to various aspects of our businesses, including well development, exploratory activities, corporate items, repayment of indebtedness and other alternatives. Notwithstanding the determinations made in the development of our 2022 plan, business opportunities not previously identified periodically come to our attention, including possible acquisitions and dispositions. If we fail to identify optimal business strategies, including the appropriate corporate structure or the appropriate rate of reserve development, or fail to optimize our capital investment and capital raising opportunities and to use our other resources to further our business strategies, our financial condition may be adversely affected. Moreover, economic or other circumstances may change from those contemplated by our 2022 plan, and our failure to recognize or respond to those changes may limit our ability to achieve our objectives.
We periodically engage in acquisitions, dispositions and other strategic transactions, including joint ventures. These transactions involve various inherent risks, such as our ability to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals; the timing of and conditions imposed upon us by regulators in connection with such approvals; the assumption of potential environmental or other liabilities; and our ability to realize the benefits expected from the transactions. In addition, prevailing market conditions and other factors could negatively impact the benefits we receive from transactions. Competition for acquisition opportunities in our industry is intense and may increase the cost of, or cause us to refrain from, completing acquisitions. Our inability to complete a transaction or to achieve our strategic or financial goals in any transaction could have significant adverse effects on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
A pandemic, epidemic or outbreak of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, may materially adversely affect our business.
The global or national outbreak of an infectious disease, such as COVID-19, may cause disruptions to our business and operational plans, which may include (i) shortages of employees, (ii) unavailability of contractors and subcontractors, (iii) interruption of supplies from third parties upon which we rely, (iv) recommendations of, or restrictions imposed by, government and health authorities, including quarantines, to address the COVID-19 pandemic and (v) restrictions that we and our contractors and subcontractors impose, including facility shutdowns, to ensure the safety of employees and others. While it is not possible to predict their extent or duration, these disruptions may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Further, the effects of COVID-19 and concerns regarding its global spread have negatively impacted global demand for crude oil and natural gas, which has and could continue to contribute to price volatility, impact the price we receive for natural gas, NGLs and oil and materially and adversely affect the demand for and marketability of our production, as well as lead to temporary curtailment or shut-ins of production due to lack of downstream demand or storage capacity. Additionally, to the extent the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affects our business and financial results, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks set forth in this “Item 1A. Risk Factors.”
Terrorist attacks, cyberattacks and threats could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Terrorist attacks or cyberattacks may significantly affect the energy industry, including our operations and those of our suppliers and customers, as well as general economic conditions, consumer confidence and spending, and market liquidity. Strategic targets, such as energy-related assets, may be at greater risk of future attacks than other targets in the United States. We depend on digital technology in many areas of our business and operations, including, but not limited to, estimating quantities of oil and gas reserves, processing and recording financial and operating data, oversight and analysis of drilling operations, and communications with our employees and third-party customers or service providers. We also collect and store sensitive data in the ordinary course of our business, including personally identifiable information of our employees as well as our proprietary business information and that of our customers, suppliers, investors and other stakeholders. The secure processing, maintenance and transmission of information is critical to our operations, and we monitor our key information technology systems in an effort to detect and prevent cyberattacks, security breaches or unauthorized access. Despite our security measures, our information technology systems may undergo cyberattacks or security breaches including as a result of employee error, malfeasance or other threat vectors, which could lead to the
corruption or loss of our proprietary and potentially sensitive data, delays in production or delivery of our production to customers, difficulty in completing and settling transactions, challenges in maintaining our books and records, environmental damage, communication interruptions, or other operational disruptions and third-party liabilities. Moreover, we may not be able to anticipate, detect or prevent all cyberattacks, particularly because the methodologies used by attackers change frequently or may not be recognized until such attack is underway, and because attackers are increasingly using technologies specifically designed to circumvent cybersecurity measures and avoid detection. Cybersecurity attacks are also becoming more sophisticated and include, but are not limited to, ransomware, credential stuffing, spear phishing, social engineering and other attempts to gain unauthorized access to data for purposes of extortion or other malfeasance.
As cyberattacks continue to evolve, we may be required to expend significant additional resources to continue to modify or enhance our protective measures or to investigate and remediate any vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. In particular, our implementation of various procedures and controls to monitor and mitigate security threats and to increase security for our personnel, information, facilities and infrastructure may result in increased capital and operating costs. A cyberattack or security breach could result in liability under data privacy laws, regulatory penalties, damage to our reputation or lss of confidence in us, or additional costs for remediation and modification or enhancement of our information systems to prevent future occurrences, all of which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. To date we have not experienced any material losses relating to cyberattacks; however, there can be no assurance that we will not suffer such losses in the future. Consequently, it is possible that any of these occurrences, or a combination of them, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our producing properties are concentrated in the Appalachian Basin, making us vulnerable to risks associated with operating in one major geographic area.
Our producing properties are geographically concentrated in the Appalachian Basin in West Virginia and Ohio. As of December 31, 2021, all of our total estimated proved reserves were attributable to properties located in this area. As a result of this concentration, we may be disproportionately exposed to the impact of regional supply and demand factors, delays or interruptions of production from wells in this area caused by, and costs associated with, governmental regulation, state and local political activities, processing or transportation capacity constraints, market limitations, availability of equipment and personnel, water shortages or other drought related conditions or interruption of the processing or transportation of natural gas, NGLs or oil.
In addition, a number of areas within the Appalachian Basin have historically been subject to mining operations. For example, third-parties may engage in subsurface coal and other mining operations near or under our properties, which could cause subsidence or other damage to our properties, adversely impact our drilling operations or adversely impact third-party midstream activities on which we rely. In such event, our operations may be impaired or interrupted, and we may not be able to recover the costs incurred as a result of temporary shut-ins or the plugging and abandonment of any of our wells. Furthermore, the existence of mining operations near our properties could require coordination to avoid adverse impacts as a result of drilling and mining in close proximity. These restrictions on our operations, and any similar restrictions, could cause delays or interruptions or prevent us from executing our business strategy, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations and financial position.
Due to the concentrated nature of our portfolio of properties, a number of our properties could experience any of the same conditions at the same time, resulting in a relatively greater impact on our results of operations than they might have on other companies that have a more diversified portfolio of properties.
Negative public perception regarding us and/or our industry could have an adverse effect on our operations.