10-K 1 sm-20151231x10k.htm 10-K 10-K

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
þ    Annual Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015
or
o    Transition Report Pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934
Commission file number 001-31539
SM ENERGY COMPANY
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
(State or other jurisdiction
of incorporation or organization)
41-0518430
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
1775 Sherman Street, Suite 1200, Denver, Colorado
(Address of principal executive offices)
80203
(Zip Code)
(303) 861-8140
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common stock, $.01 par value
 
New York Stock Exchange
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 þ No o

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 o No þ

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. Yesþ Noo

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 and post such files). Yesþ Noo

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§229.405 of this chapter) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.þ

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer þ
Accelerated filer o
Non-accelerated filer o (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Smaller reporting company o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes o No þ

The aggregate market value of the 66,782,794 shares of voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based upon the closing sale price of the registrant’s common stock on June 30, 2015, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, of $46.12 per share, as reported on the New York Stock Exchange, was $3,080,022,459. Shares of common stock held by each director and executive officer and by each person who owns 10 percent or more of the outstanding common stock or who is otherwise believed by the registrant to be in a control position have been excluded. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes.

As of February 17, 2016, the registrant had 68,077,546 shares of common stock outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Certain information required by Items 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14 of Part III is incorporated by reference from portions of the registrant’s definitive proxy statement relating to its 2016 annual meeting of stockholders to be filed within 120 days after December 31, 2015.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
ITEM
 
PAGE
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2





3


PART I
When we use the terms “SM Energy,” “the Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our,” we are referring to SM Energy Company and its subsidiaries unless the context otherwise requires. We have included certain technical terms important to an understanding of our business under Glossary of Oil and Gas Terms. Throughout this document we make statements that may be classified as “forward-looking.” Please refer to the Cautionary Information about Forward-Looking Statements section of this document for an explanation of these types of statements.
ITEMS 1. and 2. BUSINESS and PROPERTIES
General
We are an independent energy company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of crude oil and condensate, natural gas, and natural gas liquids (also respectively referred to as “oil,” “gas,” and “NGLs” throughout the document) in onshore North America. We were founded in 1908 and incorporated in Delaware in 1915. Our initial public offering of common stock was in December 1992. Our common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “SM.”
Our principal offices are located at 1775 Sherman Street, Suite 1200, Denver, Colorado 80203, and our telephone number is (303) 861-8140.
Strategy
Our strategic objective is to profitably build our ownership and operatorship of North American oil, gas, and NGL producing assets that have high operating margins and significant opportunities for additional economic investment. We pursue growth opportunities through both exploration and acquisitions, and seek to maximize the value of our assets through industry-leading technology application and outstanding operational execution. We focus on achieving high full-cycle economic returns on our investments and maintaining a simple, strong balance sheet through a conservative approach to leverage.

Significant Developments in 2015
Production. We achieved record levels of production for 2015. Our average daily production was composed of 52.7 MBbl of oil, 475.7 MMcf of gas, and 44.0 MBbl of NGLs, for an average equivalent production rate of 175.9 MBOE per day, which was an increase of 16 percent from an average of 151.1 MBOE per day in 2014. Please refer to Core Operational Areas below for additional discussion.
Reserves and Capital Investment. Our estimated proved reserves decreased 14 percent to 471.3 MMBOE at December 31, 2015, from 547.7 MMBOE at December 31, 2014, of which 25.4 MMBOE related to the divestiture of proved reserves. We added 160.6 MMBOE through drilling activities during the year, led by our activities in the Eagle Ford shale and Bakken/Three Forks resource plays. Costs incurred for drilling and exploration activities, excluding acquisitions, decreased 34 percent to $1.4 billion in 2015 when compared to 2014. We had strong reserve additions as a result of our success in reducing costs, optimizing completions, and generating better well results in our core development programs; however, these additions were offset by the impact of lower commodity prices. Our proved reserve life decreased to 7.3 years in 2015 compared to 9.9 years in 2014. Please refer to Reserves and Core Operational Areas below for additional discussion.
Increased Liquidity. During 2015, we extended the maturity of a portion of our long-term debt by using the proceeds from our issuance of $500.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 5.625% Senior Notes due 2025 to redeem the $350.0 million principal amount of our 6.625% Senior Notes due 2019. The earliest maturity for any of our Senior Notes occurs in 2021. Please refer to Overview of Liquidity

4


and Capital Resources in Part II, Item 7 of this report for additional discussion on our current and future liquidity.
Divestiture Activity. During 2015, we divested a total of 25.4 MMBOE of proved reserves in multiple transactions for aggregate cash proceeds of approximately $357.9 million. Our most significant divestiture activity was the sale of our Mid-Continent assets in the second quarter of 2015.
Sustained Low Commodity Prices. Our financial condition and results of operations are significantly affected by the prices we receive for oil, gas, and NGLs, which can fluctuate dramatically.
Oil prices continued to decline throughout 2015. The daily NYMEX spot price ranged from a high of $61.43 per Bbl in June to a low of $34.73 per Bbl in December. Oil prices declined further subsequent to year end 2015, dropping to a 12-year low of $26.21 per Bbl in February 2016. The average NYMEX price decreased to $48.68 per Bbl in 2015 compared to $93.03 per Bbl in 2014.
Natural gas prices have been under downward pressure over the past several years due to high levels of supply and remained highly volatile during 2015. The daily NYMEX spot price ranged from a high of $3.29 per MMBtu in January to a low of $1.53 per MMBtu in December. The average NYMEX price decreased in 2015 to $2.61 per MMBtu compared to $4.35 per MMBtu in 2014.
NGL prices continued to decrease in 2015 in line with oil price declines. The monthly OPIS NGL price ranged from a high of $22.57 per Bbl in February to a low of $17.07 per Bbl in December. NGL prices declined further subsequent to year end 2015, dropping to a low of $14.73 per Bbl in January 2016. The average OPIS price decreased in 2015 to $19.76 per Bbl compared to $38.93 per Bbl in 2014.
Impairments. We recorded impairment of proved properties expense of $468.7 million, abandonment and impairment of unproved properties expense of $78.6 million, and impairment of other property and equipment expense of $49.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2015. These impairments were largely due to commodity price declines, which impacted our Powder River Basin program and certain legacy and non-core assets, as well as our decision to reduce capital invested in the development of our east Texas exploration program in light of the sustained, low commodity price environment.
Outlook for 2016

Our goal is to maintain a strong balance sheet and preserve liquidity in the current commodity price environment. We expect to incur capital expenditures below adjusted EBITDAX in order to minimize any impact to our total debt. We believe this focus on our liquidity will best preserve our balance sheet and will give us the flexibility to adapt as industry conditions change.

Our capital program for 2016 will be approximately $705 million, of which, approximately 85 percent will be invested in drilling and completion activities, with the focus on our core development programs in the Bakken/Three Forks, Permian Basin, and Eagle Ford shale. We plan to continue our focus on conducting safe operations even as we pursue cost saving measures throughout our business. Please refer to Outlook for 2016 under Part II, Item 7 of this report for additional discussion concerning our capital plans for 2016.


5


Core Operational Areas
Our 2015 operations were concentrated in four onshore operating areas in the United States. We divested our Mid-Continent assets during the second quarter of 2015. The following table summarizes estimated proved reserves, PV-10, production, and costs incurred in oil and gas activities for the year ended December 31, 2015, for our core operating areas:

South Texas & Gulf Coast
 
Rocky
Mountain
 
Permian
 
Mid-
Continent (2)
 
Total (1)
Proved Reserves
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oil (MMBbl)
43.6

 
88.2

 
13.4

 

 
145.3

Gas (Bcf)
1,116.9

 
102.9

 
44.2

 

 
1,264.0

NGLs (MMBbl)
112.6

 
2.8

 

 

 
115.4

MMBOE (1)
342.4

 
108.1

 
20.8

 

 
471.3

Relative percentage
73
%
 
23
%
 
4
%
 
%
 
100
%
Proved Developed %
50
%
 
57
%
 
49
%
 
%
 
52
%
PV-10 (in millions) (3)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proved Developed
$
793.4

 
$
667.3

 
$
132.3

 
$

 
$
1,593.0

Proved Undeveloped
52.1

 
129.3

 
16.1

 

 
197.5

Total Proved
$
845.5

 
$
796.6

 
$
148.4

 
$

 
$
1,790.5

Relative percentage
47
%
 
45
%
 
8
%
 
%
 
100
%
Production
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oil (MMBbl)
7.9

 
9.5

 
1.8

 

 
19.2

Gas (Bcf)
149.5

 
9.3

 
5.1

 
9.7

 
173.6

NGLs (MMBbl)
15.7

 
0.3

 

 

 
16.1

MMBOE (1)
48.5

 
11.3

 
2.7

 
1.7

 
64.2

Avg. Daily Equivalents
(MBOE/d)
132.9

 
31.1

 
7.4

 
4.6

 
175.9

Relative percentage
75
%
 
18
%

4
%
 
3
%
 
100
%
Costs Incurred (in millions)(4)
$
765.3

 
$
538.5

 
$
59.4

 
$
9.0

 
$
1,395.0

____________________________________________
(1)
Totals may not sum or calculate due to rounding.
(2)
We divested our Mid-Continent assets in the second quarter of 2015.
(3)
The standardized measure PV-10 calculation is presented in the Supplemental Oil and Gas Information section in Part II, Item 8 of this report. A reconciliation between PV-10 and the after tax amount is shown in the Reserves section below.
(4)
Amounts do not sum to total costs incurred due to certain costs relating to our new venture projects being excluded from the regional table above.

In general, we reduced our capital spending activity across all regions during 2015 in light of the low commodity price environment. We had strong proved reserve additions and positive performance revisions for the year ended December 31, 2015, especially in our Eagle Ford shale and Bakken/Three Forks resource plays; however, our total estimated proved reserves decreased from year-end 2014 due to the divestiture of our Mid-Continent assets, a significant negative price revision, and the removal of proved undeveloped reserves related to changes in our development plan.
South Texas & Gulf Coast Region. Operations in our South Texas & Gulf Coast region are managed from our office in Houston, Texas. Within this region, we have both operated and non-operated Eagle Ford shale programs on approximately 197,000 net acres. Our operated program accounts for approximately 80 percent of our total Eagle Ford acreage and production. Our acreage position covers a significant portion of the western Eagle Ford shale play, including acreage in the oil/condensate, NGL-rich gas, and dry gas windows of the play. Our development program has shifted to utilizing longer laterals and completions with higher sand loadings, which is

6


resulting in improved well performance as shown in our positive performance revision to our proved reserves for the year ended December 31, 2015.
A significant portion of our 2015 capital was deployed in our South Texas & Gulf Coast region in our operated and outside-operated Eagle Ford shale programs. We incurred $765.3 million of costs to add approximately 119.3 MMBOE of estimated proved reserves through our drilling activities. As of December 31, 2015, we had 76 gross and net wells that had been drilled but not completed in our operated Eagle Ford shale program. Production for 2015 increased 21 percent over 2014 to 48.5 MMBOE. Estimated proved reserves decreased 13 percent at year-end 2015 to 342.4 MMBOE from 394.6 MMBOE at year-end 2014.
Rocky Mountain Region. Operations in our Rocky Mountain region are managed from our office in Billings, Montana. We have approximately 162,000 net acres being actively developed in the Bakken and Three Forks formations. During 2015, we focused on testing completion optimizations and down-spacing in Divide County, North Dakota.

In the Powder River Basin, we have approximately 204,000 net acres, a large portion of which are prospective for the Frontier and Shannon intervals. Given the current commodity price environment, we have reduced our activity in the Powder River Basin.

We incurred $538.5 million of costs to add approximately 34.6 MMBOE of estimated proved reserves in our Rocky Mountain region through our drilling activities. As of December 31, 2015, we had 48 gross (40 net) drilled but not completed wells in our operated Bakken/Three Forks program. Production for 2015 increased 30 percent over 2014 to 11.3 MMBOE. Estimated proved reserves slightly decreased to 108.1 MMBOE at year-end 2015 from 108.4 MMBOE at year-end 2014.

Permian Region. Operations in our Permian region are managed from our office in Midland, Texas. Our Permian region covers western Texas and southeastern New Mexico. As of December 31, 2015, we had approximately 23,000 net acres in our Permian region, a large portion of which is held by production. We began 2015 with one operated drilling rig and dropped this rig during the second quarter of 2015.
Costs incurred in our Permian region decreased to $59.4 million in 2015 compared to $195.4 million in 2014. Estimated proved reserves increased four percent to 20.8 MMBOE at year-end 2015 from 20.0 MMBOE at year-end 2014. Production decreased three percent to 2.7 MMBOE in 2015 from 2.8 MMBOE in 2014.
Mid-Continent Region. During the second quarter of 2015, we divested our Mid-Continent assets located in the Arkoma Basin of Oklahoma and Arklatex area of east Texas and northern Louisiana. We also closed our regional office in Tulsa, Oklahoma in mid-2015.

7


Reserves
The table below presents summary information with respect to the estimates of our proved reserves for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2015. We engaged Ryder Scott Company, L.P. (“Ryder Scott”) to audit at least 80 percent of our total calculated proved reserve PV-10 for each year presented. The prices used in the calculation of proved reserve estimates reflect the 12-month average of the first-day-of-the-month prices in accordance with Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) rules, and were $50.28 per Bbl for oil, $2.59 per MMBtu for natural gas, and $20.20 per Bbl for NGLs for the year ended December 31, 2015. We then adjust these prices to reflect appropriate quality and location differentials over the period in estimating our proved reserves.
Reserve estimates are inherently imprecise and estimates for new discoveries and undeveloped locations are more imprecise than reserve estimates for producing oil and gas properties. Accordingly, these estimates are expected to change as new information becomes available. PV-10 shown in the following table is not intended to represent the current market value of our estimated proved reserves. The actual quantities and present value of our estimated proved reserves may be more or less than we have estimated. No estimates of our proved reserves have been filed with or included in reports to any federal authority or agency, other than the SEC, since the beginning of the last fiscal year. The following table should be read along with the section entitled Risk Factors – Risks Related to Our Business below.
Our ability to replace our production is critical to us. Please refer to the reserve replacement term in the Glossary of Oil and Gas Terms section of this report for information describing how this metric is calculated.

8


The following table summarizes estimated proved reserves, PV-10, and standardized measure of discounted future cash flows as of December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013:
 
As of December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Reserve data:
 
 
 
 
 
Proved developed
 
 
 
 
 
  Oil (MMBbl)
75.6

 
89.3

 
70.2

  Gas (Bcf)
644.4

 
784.6

 
569.2

  NGLs (MMBbl)
61.5

 
66.7

 
43.8

  MMBOE (1)
244.5

 
286.8

 
208.9

Proved undeveloped
 
 
 
 
 
  Oil (MMBbl)
69.6

 
80.4

 
56.3

  Gas (Bcf)
619.7

 
682.0

 
620.1

  NGLs (MMBbl)
53.9

 
66.8

 
60.2

  MMBOE (1)
226.8

 
260.9

 
219.9

Total Proved (1)
 
 
 
 
 
  Oil (MMBbl) (1)
145.3

 
169.7

 
126.6

  Gas (Bcf) (1)(2)
1,264.0

 
1,466.5

 
1,189.3

  NGLs (MMBbl) (1)
115.4

 
133.5

 
103.9

  MMBOE (1)
471.3

 
547.7

 
428.7

Proved developed reserves %
52
%
 
52
%
 
49
%
Proved undeveloped reserves %
48
%
 
48
%
 
51
%
 
 
 
 
 
 
Reserve data (in millions):
 
 
 
 
 
Proved developed PV-10
$
1,593.0

 
$
5,253.0

 
$
3,898.6

Proved undeveloped PV-10
197.5

 
2,363.9

 
1,629.9

Total proved PV-10
$
1,790.5

 
$
7,616.9

 
$
5,528.5

Standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows
$
1,868.9

 
$
5,698.8

 
$
4,009.4

 
 
 
 
 
 
Reserve life (years)
7.3

 
9.9

 
8.9

(1) Totals may not sum or calculate due to rounding.
 
 
 
 
 
(2) As of December 31, 2015, proved gas reserves contain 48.1 Bcf of gas that we expect to produce and use as field fuel (primarily for compressors).
  


9


The following table reconciles the standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows (GAAP) to the pre-tax PV-10 (Non-GAAP) of total proved reserves. Please see the definitions of standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows and PV-10 in the Glossary of Oil and Gas Terms section of this report below.
 
As of December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
(in millions)
Standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows
$
1,868.9

 
$
5,698.8

 
$
4,009.4

Add: 10 percent annual discount, net of income taxes
1,228.7

 
3,407.2

 
2,500.6

Add: future undiscounted income taxes

 
3,511.4

 
2,722.2

Undiscounted future net cash flows
3,097.6

 
12,617.4

 
9,232.2

Less: 10 percent annual discount without tax effect
(1,307.1
)
 
(5,000.5
)
 
(3,703.7
)
PV-10
$
1,790.5

 
$
7,616.9

 
$
5,528.5

Proved Undeveloped Reserves
Proved undeveloped reserves include those 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. Undeveloped reserves may be classified as proved reserves on undrilled acreage directly offsetting development areas that are reasonably certain of production when drilled or where reliable technology provides reasonable certainty of economic producibility. Undrilled locations may be classified as having proved undeveloped reserves only if a development plan has been adopted indicating that they are scheduled to be drilled within five years, unless specific circumstances justify a longer time period. As of December 31, 2015, 2.8 MMBOE of proved undeveloped reserves have been on our books in excess of five years. These reserves are associated with three wells that were drilled in 2015 and are scheduled to be completed and producing in 2016.
For locations that are more than one location removed from developed producing locations, we utilized reliable geologic and engineering technology to add approximately 76.4 MMBOE of proved undeveloped reserves in the more developed portions of our Eagle Ford shale position, 5.1 MMBOE of proved undeveloped reserves in the more developed portions of our Bakken/Three Forks shale position, and 0.4 MMBOE of proved undeveloped reserves in the more developed portion of our Wolfcamp shale position in the Permian Basin. We incorporated public and proprietary data from multiple sources to establish geologic continuity of each formation and their producing properties. This included seismic data and interpretations (3-D and micro seismic), open hole log information (both vertically and horizontally collected), and petrophysical analysis of the log data, mud logs, gas sample analysis, measurements of total organic content, thermal maturity, test production, fluid properties, and core data as well as significant statistical performance data yielding predictable and repeatable reserve estimates within certain analogous areas. These locations were limited to only those areas where both established geologic consistency and sufficient statistical performance data could be demonstrated to provide reasonably certain results. In all other areas, we restricted proved undeveloped locations to immediate offsets to producing wells.

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As of December 31, 2015, we had 226.8 MMBOE of proved undeveloped reserves, which is a decrease of 34.1 MMBOE, or 13 percent, from 260.9 MMBOE at December 31, 2014.  The following table provides a reconciliation of our proved undeveloped reserves for the year ended December 31, 2015:
 
Total
(MMBOE)
Total proved undeveloped reserves:
 
Beginning of year
260.9

Revisions of previous estimates (1)
(35.4
)
Additions from discoveries, extensions, and infill (2)
119.6

Sales of reserves
(4.3
)
Purchases of minerals in place
0.9

Removed for five-year rule  (3)
(79.4
)
Conversions to proved developed (4)
(35.5
)
End of year
226.8

____________________________________________
(1)
Revisions of previous estimates primarily relate to a negative price revision of 57.0 MMBOE due to the decline in commodity prices during 2015. The negative price revision was partially offset by positive performance revisions totaling 21.6 MMBOE primarily in our Eagle Ford shale and Bakken/Three Forks resource plays due to improved performance related to enhanced completions and reductions in operating expenses, which extended the economic lives of the wells.
(2)
We added 98.6 MMBOE of infill proved undeveloped reserves primarily in our Eagle Ford shale and Bakken/Three Forks resource plays, as well as an additional 21.0 MMBOE of proved undeveloped reserves through extensions and discoveries, primarily in our Eagle Ford shale play.
(3)
Proved undeveloped reserves were reduced by 79.4 MMBOE due to changes in our development plan, which caused these locations to be reclassified primarily to the probable reserves category due to the five-year rule. These locations were replaced by higher quality proved undeveloped reserves, which are classified as extensions or infills in the table above, and resulted from our testing and delineation programs implemented during 2015.
(4)
Conversions of proved undeveloped reserves to proved developed reserves were primarily in our Eagle Ford shale and Bakken/Three Forks resource plays. During 2015, we incurred approximately $415 million on projects associated with reserves booked as proved undeveloped reserves at the end of 2014. Our 2015 track record and development pace were both below 20 percent. This was due to delineation and testing of an incremental landing zone in our Eagle Ford shale asset, delineation and testing of the Bakken interval, step-out drilling on acreage acquired late in 2014 in our Divide County, North Dakota position, and due to the large reserve volumes associated with drilled and uncompleted wells at year-end 2015. At December 31, 2015, drilled but uncompleted wells represent 59.2 MMBOE of total proved undeveloped reserves. Our multi-year historical track is in excess of 20 percent.

As of December 31, 2015, estimated future development costs relating to our proved undeveloped reserves are approximately $478 million, $344 million, and $465 million in 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively.
Internal Controls Over Proved Reserves Estimates
Our internal controls over the recording of proved reserves are structured to objectively and accurately estimate our reserve quantities and values in compliance with the SEC’s regulations. Our process for managing and monitoring our proved reserves is delegated to our corporate reserves group, which is managed by our Engineering Manager - Corporate Reserves, subject to the oversight of our management and the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors, as discussed below. Our Engineering Manager - Corporate Reserves has over 15 years of experience in the energy industry, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with a Petroleum Certificate from the University of Alabama. She is also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Technical, geological, and engineering reviews of our assets are performed throughout the year by our regional staff. This data, in conjunction with economic data and our ownership information, is used in making a determination of estimated proved reserve quantities. Our regional engineering technical staff do not report directly to our Engineering Manager - Corporate Reserves; they report to either their respective regional technical managers

11


or directly to the regional manager. This design is intended to promote objective and independent analysis within our regions in the proved reserves estimation process.
Third-party Reserves Audit

Ryder Scott performed an independent audit using its own engineering assumptions, but with economic and ownership data we provided.  Ryder Scott audits a minimum of 80 percent of our total calculated proved reserve PV-10.  In the aggregate, the proved reserve amounts of our audited properties determined by Ryder Scott are required to be within 10 percent of our proved reserve amounts for the total company, as well as for each respective region.  Ryder Scott is an independent petroleum engineering consulting firm that has been providing petroleum engineering consulting services throughout the world for over 70 years.  The technical person at Ryder Scott primarily responsible for overseeing our reserves audit is an Advising Senior Vice President who received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University in 1979 and a Master of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1981.  He is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Texas, a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, and the Society of Petroleum Evaluation Engineers.  The Ryder Scott 2015 report concerning our reserves is included as Exhibit 99.1.
In addition to a third party audit, our reserves are reviewed by our management with the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors. Management, which includes our President and Chief Executive Officer, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and Executive Vice President - Operations, is responsible for reviewing and verifying that the estimate of proved reserves is reasonable, complete, and accurate. The Audit Committee reviews a summary of the final reserves estimate in conjunction with Ryder Scott’s results and also meets with Ryder Scott representatives from time to time to discuss processes and findings.

12


Production
The following table summarizes the volumes and realized prices of oil, gas, and NGLs produced and sold from properties in which we held an interest during the periods indicated. Realized prices presented below exclude the effects of derivative contract settlements. Also presented is a summary of related production costs per BOE.
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Net production
 
 
 
 
 
Oil (MMBbl)
19.2

 
16.7

 
13.9

Gas (Bcf)
173.6

 
152.9

 
149.3

NGLs (MMBbl)
16.1

 
13.0

 
9.5

MMBOE (2)
64.2

 
55.1

 
48.3

Eagle Ford net production (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Oil (MMBbl)
7.6

 
6.9

 
5.1

Gas (Bcf)
147.2

 
120.6

 
97.1

NGLs (MMBbl)
15.6

 
12.7

 
9.2

MMBOE (2)
47.7

 
39.7

 
30.5

Realized price
 
 
 
 
 
Oil (per Bbl)
$
41.49

 
$
80.97

 
$
91.19

Gas (per Mcf)
$
2.57

 
$
4.58

 
$
3.93

NGLs (per Bbl)
$
15.92

 
$
33.34

 
$
35.95

Per BOE
$
23.36

 
$
45.01

 
$
45.50

Production costs per BOE
 
 
 
 
 
Lease operating expense
$
3.73

 
$
4.28

 
$
4.49

Transportation costs
$
6.02

 
$
6.11

 
$
5.34

Production taxes
$
1.13

 
$
2.13

 
$
2.19

Ad valorem tax expense
$
0.39

 
$
0.46

 
$
0.33

____________________________________________
(1)
In each of the years 2015, 2014, and 2013, total estimated proved reserves attributed to our Eagle Ford shale properties exceeded 15 percent of our total proved reserves expressed on an equivalent basis.
(2)
Amounts may not calculate due to rounding.

Productive Wells
As of December 31, 2015, we had working interests in 1,459 gross (872 net) productive oil wells and 1,772 gross (653 net) productive gas wells. Productive wells are either wells producing in commercial quantities or wells mechanically capable of commercial production, but are temporarily shut-in. Multiple completions in the same wellbore are counted as one well. A well is categorized under state reporting regulations as an oil well or a gas well based on the ratio of gas to oil when it first commenced production, but such designation may not be indicative of current production.


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Drilling and Completion Activity
All of our drilling and completion activities are conducted by independent contractors. We do not own any drilling or completion equipment. The following table summarizes the number of operated and outside-operated wells drilled and completed or recompleted on our properties in 2015, 2014, and 2013, excluding non-consented projects, active injector wells, salt water disposal wells, and any wells in which we own only a royalty interest:
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
Gross
 
Net
 
Gross
 
Net
 
Gross
 
Net
Development wells:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oil
87

 
56.5

 
133
 
66.1
 
154
 
75.4
Gas
272

 
100.8

 
476
 
165.5
 
443
 
162.5
Non-productive

 

 
8
 
5.3
 
10
 
8.5
 
359

 
157.3

 
617
 
236.9
 
607
 
246.4
Exploratory wells:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oil
5

 
3.5

 
5
 
3.0
 
6
 
5.1
Gas
1

 
1.0

 
7
 
4.8
 
4
 
2.4
Non-productive
5

 
4.1

 
4
 
3.3
 
1
 
0.3
 
11

 
8.6

 
16
 
11.1
 
11
 
7.8
Total
370

 
165.9

 
633
 
248.0
 
618
 
254.2
A productive well is an exploratory, development, or extension well that is producing or capable of commercial production of oil, gas, and/or NGLs. A non-productive well, frequently referred to within the industry as a dry hole, is an exploratory, development, or extension well that proves to be incapable of producing oil, gas, and/or NGLs in commercial quantities to justify completion, or upon completion, the economic operation of a well.
As defined by the SEC, an exploratory well is a well drilled to find a new field or to find a new reservoir in a field previously found to be productive of oil or gas in another reservoir. A development well is 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. The number of wells drilled refers to the number of wells completed at any time during the respective year, regardless of when drilling was initiated. Completion refers to the installation of equipment for production of oil, gas, and/or NGLs, or in the case of a dry well, the reporting to the appropriate authority that the well has been plugged and abandoned.
In addition to the wells drilled and completed in 2015 (included in the table above), as of January 31, 2016, we were participating in the drilling of 33 gross wells.  We operate 9 of these wells on a gross basis (7.5 on a net basis) and other companies operate the remaining 24 gross wells (4 on a net basis).  With respect to completion activity, at such date, there were 364 gross wells in which we have an interest that were being completed or waiting on completion.  We operate 143 of these wells on a gross basis (134 on a net basis) and were participating in 221 gross (38 on a net basis) outside-operated wells. 

14


Acreage
The following table sets forth the gross and net acres of developed and undeveloped oil and gas leasehold, fee properties, and mineral servitudes that we hold as of December 31, 2015. Undeveloped acreage includes leasehold interests containing proved undeveloped reserves.
 
Developed Acres (1)
 
Undeveloped Acres (2)
 
Total
 
Gross
 
Net
 
Gross
 
Net
 
Gross
 
Net
South Texas & Gulf Coast:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 


Operated Eagle Ford
68,773

 
66,027

 
98,178

 
95,447

 
166,951

 
161,474

Outside-operated Eagle Ford
137,348

 
24,089

 
100,015

 
11,869

 
237,363

 
35,958

Other
22,083

 
8,649

 
204,647

 
163,988

 
226,730

 
172,637

Rocky Mountain:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 


North Rockies:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 


Divide
144,542

 
90,639

 
41,450

 
26,647

 
185,992

 
117,286

Raven
48,693

 
30,466

 
5,136

 
1,163

 
53,829

 
31,629

Bear Den
21,763

 
11,233

 
4,937

 
1,555

 
26,700

 
12,788

Stateline MT
21,102

 
16,289

 
12,740

 
6,718

 
33,842

 
23,007

Other
74,921

 
51,400

 
298,599

 
208,365

 
373,520

 
259,765

South Rockies:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 


PRB Cretaceous
75,035

 
52,726

 
193,815

 
151,655

 
268,850

 
204,381

Other
1,556

 
1,472

 
126,212

 
102,642

 
127,768

 
104,114

Permian:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 


Sweetie Peck
13,228

 
13,177

 
521

 
521

 
13,749

 
13,698

Other
12,439

 
7,534

 
1,831

 
1,457

 
14,270

 
8,991

Other
10,499

 
10,499

 
22,604

 
17,583

 
33,103

 
28,082

Total (3)
651,982

 
384,200

 
1,110,685

 
789,610

 
1,762,667

 
1,173,810

____________________________________________
(1)
Developed acreage is acreage assigned to producing wells for the state approved spacing unit for the producing formation. Our developed acreage that includes multiple formations with different well spacing requirements may be considered undeveloped for certain formations, but has been included only as developed acreage in the presentation above.
(2)
Undeveloped acreage is acreage on which wells have not been drilled or completed to a point that would permit the production of commercial quantities of oil, gas, and/or NGLs regardless of whether such acreage contains estimated net proved reserves.
(3)
As of the filing date of this report, approximately 144,100, 85,300, and 26,700 net acres are scheduled to expire by December 31, 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively, if production is not established or we take no other action to extend the terms of the applicable lease or leases. Our east Texas acreage, which has been impaired as of December 31, 2015, represents more than 50 percent of the net acres scheduled to expire over the next three years.


15


Delivery Commitments
As of December 31, 2015, we had gathering, processing, and transportation throughput commitments with various parties that require us to deliver fixed, determinable quantities of production over specified time frames. We have an aggregate minimum commitment to deliver 2,277 Bcf of natural gas and 36 MMBbl of oil through 2028, of which the first 1,059 Bcf of natural gas delivered under a certain agreement does not have a deficiency payment. We are required to make periodic deficiency payments for any shortfalls in delivering the minimum volume commitments. If a shortfall in the minimum volume commitment for natural gas is projected, we have rights under certain contracts to arrange for third party gas to be delivered, and such volume will count toward our minimum volume commitment. Our current production is insufficient to offset these aggregate contractual liabilities, but we expect to fulfill the delivery commitments with production from the future development of our proved undeveloped reserves and from the future development of resources not yet characterized as proved reserves or through arranging for the delivery of third party gas. In the event that no product is delivered in accordance with these agreements, the aggregate undiscounted deficiency payments would be approximately $864.0 million as of December 31, 2015.
Subsequent to December 31, 2015, we entered into amendments to oil and gas gathering agreements related to certain of our Eagle Ford shale assets, neither of which previously had a minimum volume commitment, in order to obtain more favorable rates and terms. Under these amendments, we are now committed to deliver 310 Bcf of natural gas and 41 MMBbl of oil through 2034. In the event that we deliver no product, the aggregate undiscounted deficiency payments under these amended agreements would be approximately $360.8 million. Subsequent to December 31, 2015, we also entered into an amendment to a gas gathering agreement related to certain other Eagle Ford shale assets, which reduced our volume commitment amount as of December 31, 2015, by 829 Bcf and the aggregate undiscounted deficiency payments by $118.2 million. As a result of these subsequent amendments, the aggregate undiscounted deficiency payments as of December 31, 2015, would have been approximately $1.1 billion.
As of the filing date of this report, we do not expect any material shortfalls.
Major Customers

We do not believe the loss of any single purchaser of our crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs would materially impact our operating results, as these are products with well-established markets and numerous purchasers are present in our operating regions. During 2015 and 2014, we had one major customer that represented approximately 21 percent and 19 percent, respectively, of our total production revenue, which is discussed in the next paragraph. In 2015 and 2014, we also sold to four entities that are under common ownership.  In aggregate, these four entities represented approximately 10 percent and 14 percent of our total production revenue in 2015 and 2014, respectively; however, none of these entities individually represented more than 10 percent of our production revenue. Additionally, in 2015 we sold to three entities that are under common ownership, which in aggregate represented 11 percent of our total production revenue; however, none of these entities individually represented more than 10 percent of our production revenue. During 2013, we had three major customers that represented approximately 26 percent, 16 percent, and 12 percent, respectively, of our total production revenue.

During the third quarter of 2013, we entered into various marketing agreements with a joint venture partner, whereby we are subject to certain gathering, transportation, and processing throughput commitments for up to 10 years pursuant to each contract. While our joint venture partner is the first purchaser under these contracts, representing 21 percent and 19 percent of our total production revenue in 2015 and 2014, respectively, we also share with it the risk of non-performance by its counterparty purchasers and have included this joint venture partner as a major customer in the discussion above. Several of the joint venture partner’s counterparty purchasers under these contracts are also direct purchasers of our production from other areas.


16


Employees and Office Space
As of February 17, 2016, we had 786 full-time employees. This is an approximate 12 percent decrease from the 896 reported full-time employees as of February 18, 2015. None of our employees are subject to a collective bargaining agreement, and we consider our relations with our employees to be good.
The following table summarizes the approximate square footage of office space leased by us, as of December 31, 2015, including our corporate headquarters and regional offices:
Region
 
Approximate Square Footage Leased
Corporate
 
108,000

South Texas & Gulf Coast
 
64,000

Rocky Mountain
 
44,000

Permian
 
54,000

Mid-Continent (1)
 
50,000

Total
 
320,000

____________________________________________
(1)
During the third quarter of 2015, we vacated our office space in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We have subleased this space through 2019 and our lease expires in 2022.

In addition to the leased office space in the table above, we own a total of 72,000 square feet of office space.
Title to Properties
Substantially all of our interests are held pursuant to oil and gas leases from third parties. A title opinion is usually obtained prior to the commencement of initial drilling operations. We have obtained title opinions or have conducted other title review on substantially all of our producing properties and believe we have satisfactory title to such properties in accordance with standards generally accepted in the oil and gas industry. Most of our producing properties are subject to mortgages securing indebtedness under our credit facility, royalty and overriding royalty interests, liens for current taxes, and other burdens that we believe do not materially interfere with the use of, or affect the value of, such properties. We typically perform only minimal title investigation before acquiring undeveloped leasehold acreage.
Seasonality
Generally, but not always, the demand and price levels for natural gas increase during winter months and decrease during summer months. To lessen the impact of seasonal demand fluctuations, pipelines, utilities, local distribution companies, and industrial users utilize natural gas storage facilities and forward purchase some of their anticipated winter requirements during the summer. However, increased summertime demand for electricity can divert gas that traditionally is placed into storage. This could reduce the typical seasonal price differential. Demand for oil and heating oil is also generally higher in the winter and the summer driving season, although oil prices are impacted more significantly by global supply and demand. Seasonal anomalies, such as mild winters, sometimes lessen these fluctuations. Recently, the impact of seasonality on oil has been somewhat muted by overall supply and demand economics attributable to worldwide production in excess of existing worldwide demand for oil. Certain of our drilling, completion, and other operations are also subject to seasonal limitations. Seasonal weather conditions, government regulations and lease stipulations adversely affect our ability to conduct drilling activities in some of the areas where we operate. See Risk Factors - Risks Related to Our Business below for additional discussion.

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Competition
The oil and gas industry is intensely competitive, particularly with respect to acquiring prospective oil and natural gas properties. We believe our acreage position provides a foundation for development activities that we expect to fuel our future growth. Our competitive position also depends on our geological, geophysical, and engineering expertise, as well as our financial resources. We believe the location of our acreage; our exploration, drilling, operational, and production expertise; available technologies; our financial resources and expertise; and the experience and knowledge of our management and technical teams enable us to compete in our core operating areas. However, we face intense competition from a substantial number of major and independent oil and gas companies, which in some cases have larger technical staffs and greater financial and operational resources than we do. Many of these companies not only engage in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas reserves, but also have gathering, processing or refining operations, market refined products, own drilling rigs or other equipment, or generate electricity.
We also compete with other oil and gas companies in securing drilling rigs and other equipment and services necessary for the drilling, completion, and maintenance of wells, as well as for the gathering, transporting and processing of crude oil, natural gas and NGLs. Consequently, we may face shortages, delays or increased costs in securing these services from time to time. The oil and gas industry also faces competition from alternative fuel sources, including other fossil fuels such as coal and imported liquefied natural gas. Competitive conditions may be affected by future energy, climate-related, financial, or other policies, legislation, and regulations.
In addition, we compete for people, including experienced geologists, geophysicists, engineers, and other professionals. Throughout the oil and gas industry, the need to attract and retain talented people has grown at a time when the availability of individuals with these skills is becoming more limited due to the evolving demographics of our industry. We are not insulated from the competition for quality people, and we must compete effectively in order to be successful.
Government Regulations
Our business is extensively controlled by numerous federal, state, and local laws and governmental regulations. These laws and regulations may be changed from time to time in response to economic or political conditions, or other developments, and our regulatory burden may increase in the future. Laws and regulations have the potential to increase our cost of doing business and consequently could affect our profitability. However, we do not believe that we are affected to a materially greater or lesser extent than others in our industry.
Energy Regulations. Many of the states in which we conduct our operations have adopted laws and regulations governing the exploration for and production of oil, gas, and NGLs, including laws and regulations requiring permits for the drilling of wells, imposing bond requirements in order to drill or operate wells, and governing the timing of drilling and location of wells, the method of drilling and casing wells, the surface use and restoration of properties upon which wells are drilled, and the plugging and abandonment of wells. Our operations are also subject to various state conservation laws and regulations, including regulations governing the size of drilling and spacing units or proration units, the number of wells that may be drilled in an area, the spacing of wells, and the unitization or pooling of oil and gas properties. In addition, state conservation laws sometimes establish maximum rates of production from oil and gas wells, generally limit or prohibit the venting or flaring of gas, and may impose certain requirements regarding the ratability or fair apportionment of production from fields and individual wells.
Some of our operations are conducted on federal lands pursuant to oil and gas leases administered by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”). These leases contain relatively standardized terms and require compliance with detailed regulations and orders that are subject to change. In addition to permits required from other regulatory agencies, lessees must obtain a permit from the BLM before drilling and must comply with regulations governing, among other things, engineering and construction specifications for production facilities, safety procedures, the valuation of production and payment of royalties, the removal of facilities, and the posting of bonds

18


to ensure that lessee obligations are met. Under certain circumstances, the BLM may suspend or terminate our operations on federal leases.
Our sales of natural gas are affected by the availability, terms, and cost of gas pipeline transportation. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) has jurisdiction over the transportation and sale for resale of natural gas in interstate commerce. FERC’s current regulatory framework generally provides for a competitive and open access market for sales and transportation of natural gas. However, FERC regulations continue to affect the midstream and transportation segments of the industry, and thus can indirectly affect the sales prices we receive for natural gas production.

Environmental, Health and Safety Matters
 
General.  Our operations are subject to stringent and complex federal, state, tribal and local laws and regulations governing protection of the environment and worker health and safety as well as the discharge of materials into the environment. These laws and regulations may, among other things:

require the acquisition of various permits before drilling commences;

restrict the types, quantities and concentration of various substances that can be released into the environment in connection with oil and natural gas drilling and production and saltwater disposal activities;

limit or prohibit drilling activities on certain lands lying within wilderness, wetlands and other protected areas, including areas containing certain wildlife or threatened and endangered plant and animal species; and

require remedial measures to mitigate pollution from former and ongoing operations, such as closing pits and plugging abandoned wells.
 
These laws, rules and regulations may also restrict the rate of oil and natural gas production below the rate that would otherwise be possible. The regulatory burden on the oil and natural gas industry increases the cost of doing business in the industry and consequently affects profitability. Additionally, environmental laws and regulations are revised frequently, and any changes may result in more stringent permitting, waste handling, disposal, and cleanup requirements for the oil and natural gas industry and could have a significant impact on our operating costs.
The following is a summary of some of the existing laws, rules and regulations to which our business is subject.
Waste handling.  The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) and comparable state statutes regulate the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, disposal, and cleanup of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. Under the auspices of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”), individual states administer some or all of the provisions of RCRA, sometimes in conjunction with their own, more stringent requirements. Drilling fluids, produced water, and most of the other wastes associated with the exploration, development, and production of oil or natural gas are currently regulated under RCRA’s non-hazardous waste provisions. However, it is possible that certain oil and natural gas exploration and production wastes now classified as non-hazardous could be classified as hazardous wastes in the future. Any such change could result in an increase in our costs to manage and dispose of wastes, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial position.
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.  The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”), also known as the Superfund law, imposes joint and several liability, without regard to fault or legality of conduct, on classes of persons who are considered to

19


be responsible for the release of a hazardous substance into the environment. These persons include the owner or operator of the site where the release occurred, and anyone who disposed or arranged for the disposal of a hazardous substance released at the site. Under CERCLA, such persons may be subject to joint and several liability for the costs of cleaning up the hazardous substances that have been released into the environment, for damages to natural resources and for the costs of certain health studies. In addition, it is not uncommon for third parties to file claims for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by the hazardous substances released into the environment.
We currently own, lease, or operate numerous properties that have been used for oil and natural gas exploration and production for many years. Although we believe we have utilized operating and waste disposal practices that were standard in the industry at the time, hazardous substances, wastes, or hydrocarbons may have been released on or under the properties owned or leased by us, or on or under other locations, including off-site locations, where such substances have been taken for 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 hydrocarbons were not under our control. These properties and the substances disposed or released on them may be subject to CERCLA, RCRA, and analogous state laws. Under such laws, we could be required to remove previously disposed substances and wastes, pay fines, remediate contaminated property, or perform remedial operations to prevent future contamination.
Water discharges.  The federal Water Pollution Control Act (the “Clean Water Act”) and analogous state laws impose restrictions and strict controls with respect to the discharge of pollutants, including spills and leaks of oil and other substances, into waters of the United States and states. The discharge of pollutants into regulated waters is prohibited, except in accordance with the terms of a permit issued by the EPA, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or analogous state agencies. Federal and state regulatory agencies can impose administrative, civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance with discharge permits or other requirements of the Clean Water Act and analogous state laws and regulations.
The Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (“OPA”) addresses prevention, containment and cleanup, and liability associated with oil pollution. OPA applies to vessels, offshore platforms, and onshore facilities. OPA subjects owners of such facilities to strict liability for containment and removal costs, natural resource damages and certain other consequences of oil spills into jurisdictional waters. Any unpermitted release of petroleum or other pollutants from our operations could result in governmental penalties and civil liability.
Air emissions.  The federal Clean Air Act (“CAA”) and comparable state laws regulate emissions of various air pollutants through air emissions permitting programs and the imposition of other requirements. In addition, the EPA has developed, and continues to develop, stringent regulations governing emissions of toxic air pollutants at specified sources. Federal and state regulatory agencies can impose administrative, civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance with air permits or other requirements of the federal CAA and associated state laws and regulations.
Climate change.  In December 2009, the EPA determined that emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and other “greenhouse gases” present an endangerment to public health and the environment because emissions of such gases are, according to the EPA, contributing to warming of the earth’s atmosphere and other climatic changes. Based on these findings, the EPA has begun adopting and implementing a comprehensive suite of regulations to restrict emissions of greenhouse gases under existing provisions of the CAA. Legislative and regulatory initiatives related to climate change could have an adverse effect on our operations and the demand for oil and gas. See Risk Factors - Risks Related to Our Business - Legislative and regulatory initiatives related to global warming and climate change could have an adverse effect on our operations and the demand for crude oil, natural gas and NGLs. In addition to the effects of regulation, the meteorological effects of global climate change could pose additional risks to our operations, including physical damage risks associated with more frequent, more intensive storms and flooding, and could adversely affect the demand for our products.

20


Endangered species.  The federal Endangered Species Act and analogous state laws regulate activities that could have an adverse effect on threatened or endangered species. Some of our operations are conducted in areas where protected species are known to exist. In these areas, we may be obligated to develop and implement plans to avoid potential adverse impacts on protected species, and we may be prohibited from conducting operations in certain locations or during certain seasons, such as breeding and nesting seasons, when our operations could have an adverse effect on these species. It is also possible that a federal or state agency could order a complete halt to activities in certain locations if it is determined that such activities may have a serious adverse effect on a protected species. The presence of a protected species in areas where we perform drilling, completion, and production activities could impair our ability to timely complete well drilling and development and could adversely affect our future production from those areas.
National Environmental Policy Act.  Oil and natural gas exploration and production activities on federal lands are subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). NEPA requires federal agencies, including the Department of Interior, to evaluate major agency actions having the potential to significantly impact the environment. In the course of such evaluations, an agency will prepare an environmental assessment to determine the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of a proposed project and, if necessary, will prepare a more detailed environmental impact statement that may be made available for public review and comment. All of our current exploration and production activities, as well as proposed exploration and development plans, on federal lands require governmental permits subject to the requirements of NEPA. This process has the potential to delay development of some of our oil and natural gas projects.
OSHA and other laws and regulation.  We are subject to the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (“OSHA”) and comparable state statutes. The OSHA hazard communication standard, the EPA community right-to-know regulations under Title III of CERCLA and similar state statutes require that we organize and/or disclose information about hazardous materials used or produced in our operations. Also, pursuant to OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has established a variety of standards relating to workplace exposure to hazardous substances and employee health and safety. We believe we are in substantial compliance with the applicable requirements of OSHA and comparable laws.
Hydraulic fracturing.  Hydraulic fracturing is an important and common practice used to stimulate production of hydrocarbons from tight formations. We routinely utilize hydraulic fracturing techniques in most of our drilling and completion programs. The process involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals under pressure into the formation to fracture the surrounding rock and stimulate production. The process is typically regulated by state oil and natural gas commissions. However, the EPA has asserted federal regulatory authority over hydraulic fracturing involving diesel additives under the Safe Drinking Water Act’s (the “SDWA”) Underground Injection Control Program. The federal SDWA protects the quality of the nation’s public drinking water through the adoption of drinking water standards and controlling the injection of waste fluids, including saltwater disposal fluids, into below-ground formations that may adversely affect drinking water sources.
Increased regulation and attention given to the hydraulic fracturing process could lead to greater opposition to oil and gas activities using hydraulic fracturing techniques, which could potentially cause a decrease in the completion of new oil and gas wells, increased compliance costs, and delays, all of which could adversely affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. As new laws or regulations that significantly restrict hydraulic fracturing are adopted, such laws could make it more difficult or costly for us to perform fracturing to stimulate production from tight formations. In addition, if hydraulic fracturing becomes regulated at the federal level as a result of federal legislation or regulatory initiatives by the EPA or other federal agencies, our fracturing activities could become subject to additional permitting requirements, which could result in additional permitting delays and potential increases in costs. Restrictions on hydraulic fracturing could also reduce the amount of oil and natural gas that we are ultimately able to produce from our reserves.
We believe it is reasonably likely that the trend in environmental legislation and regulation will continue toward stricter standards. While we believe we are in substantial compliance with existing environmental laws and regulations applicable to our current operations and that our continued compliance with existing requirements will

21


not have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations, we cannot give any assurance that we will not be adversely affected in the future.
Environmental, Health and Safety Initiatives. We are committed to conducting our business in a manner that protects the environment and the health and safety of our employees, contractors and the public.  We set annual goals for our environmental, health and safety program focused on reducing the number of safety related incidents that occur and the number and impact of spills of produced fluids. We also periodically conduct regulatory compliance audits of our operations to ensure our compliance with all regulations and provide appropriate training for our employees. Reducing air emissions as a result of leaks, venting, or flaring of natural gas during operations has become a major focus area for regulatory efforts and for our compliance efforts.  While flaring is sometimes necessary, releases of natural gas to the environment and flaring is an economic waste and reducing these volumes is a priority for us. To avoid flaring where possible, we restrict testing periods and make every effort to ensure that our production is connected to gas pipeline infrastructure as quickly as possible after well completions.  We have cooperated with other producers in North Dakota in the ongoing development of recommendations to reduce the amount of flaring that is occurring there as a result of area wide infrastructure limitations that are beyond our control.  Another focus for our environmental effort has been reduction of water use through recycling of flowback water in south Texas for use as frac fluid.  We have incurred in the past, and expect to incur in the future, capital costs related to environmental compliance.  Such expenditures are included within our overall capital budget and are not separately itemized.

Cautionary Information about Forward-Looking Statements
This Form 10-K contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”) and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”). All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this Form 10-K that address activities, events, or developments with respect to our financial condition, results of operations, or economic performance that we expect, believe, or anticipate will or may occur in the future, or that address plans and objectives of management for future operations, are forward-looking statements. The words “anticipate,” “assume,” “believe,” “budget,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “intend,” “plan,” “project,” “will,” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements appear throughout this Form 10-K, and include statements about such matters as:
the amount and nature of future capital expenditures and the availability of liquidity and capital resources to fund capital expenditures;
our outlook on future oil, gas, and NGL prices, well costs, and service costs;
the drilling of wells and other exploration and development activities and plans, as well as possible acquisitions;
the possible divestiture or farm-down of, or joint venture relating to, certain properties;
proved reserve estimates and the estimates of both future net revenues and the present value of future net revenues associated with those proved reserve estimates;
future oil, gas, and NGL production estimates;
cash flows, anticipated liquidity, and the future repayment of debt;
business strategies and other plans and objectives for future operations, including plans for expansion and growth of operations or to defer capital investment, and our outlook on our future financial condition or results of operations; and

22


other similar matters such as those discussed in the Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations section in Item 7 of this Form 10-K.
Our forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and analyses made by us in light of our experience and our perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments, and other factors that we believe are appropriate under the circumstances. These statements are subject to a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties, which may cause our actual results and performance to be materially different from any future results or performance expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Some of these risks are described in the Risk Factors section of this Form 10-K, and include such factors as:
the volatility of oil, gas, and NGL prices, and the effect it may have on our profitability, financial condition, cash flows, access to capital, and ability to grow production volumes and/or proved reserves;
weakness in economic conditions and uncertainty in financial markets;
our ability to replace reserves in order to sustain production;
our ability to raise the substantial amount of capital required to develop and/or replace our reserves;
our ability to compete against competitors that have greater financial, technical, and human resources;
our ability to attract and retain key personnel;
the imprecise estimations of our actual quantities and present value of proved oil, gas, and NGL reserves;
the uncertainty in evaluating recoverable reserves and estimating expected benefits or liabilities;
the possibility that exploration and development drilling may not result in commercially producible reserves;
our limited control over activities on outside operated properties;

our reliance on the skill and expertise of third-party service providers on our operated properties;

the possibility that title to properties in which we have an interest may be defective;

the possibility that our planned drilling in existing or emerging resource plays using some of the latest available horizontal drilling and completion techniques is subject to drilling and completion risks and may not meet our expectations for reserves or production;
the uncertainties associated with acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, farm-downs, farm-outs and similar transactions with respect to certain assets, including whether such transactions will be consummated or completed in the form or timing and for the value that we anticipate;
the uncertainties associated with enhanced recovery methods;
our commodity derivative contracts may result in financial losses or may limit the prices we receive for oil, gas, and NGL sales;
the inability of one or more of our service providers, customers, or contractual counterparties to meet their obligations;
our ability to deliver necessary quantities of natural gas or crude oil to contractual counterparties;

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price declines or unsuccessful exploration efforts resulting in write-downs of our asset carrying values;
the impact that lower oil, gas, or NGL prices could have on the amount we are able to borrow under our credit facility;
the possibility our amount of debt may limit our ability to obtain financing for acquisitions, make us more vulnerable to adverse economic conditions, and make it more difficult for us to make payments on our debt;
the possibility that covenants in our debt agreements may limit our discretion in the operation of our business, prohibit us from engaging in beneficial transactions or lead to the accelerated payment of our debt;
operating and environmental risks and hazards that could result in substantial losses;
the impact of seasonal weather conditions and lease stipulations on our ability to conduct drilling activities;
our ability to acquire adequate supplies of water and dispose of or recycle water we use at a reasonable cost in accordance with environmental and other applicable rules;
complex laws and regulations, including environmental regulations, that result in substantial costs and other risks;
the availability and capacity of gathering, transportation, processing, and/or refining facilities;
our ability to sell and/or receive market prices for our oil, gas, and NGLs;
new technologies may cause our current exploration and drilling methods to become obsolete;
the possibility of security threats, including terrorist attacks and cybersecurity breaches, against, or otherwise impacting, our facilities and systems; and

litigation, environmental matters, the potential impact of legislation and government regulations, and the use of management estimates regarding such matters.
We caution you that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and actual results or performance may be materially different from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this report speak as of the filing date of this report. Although we may from time to time voluntarily update our prior forward-looking statements, we disclaim any commitment to do so except as required by securities laws.
Available Information
Our internet website address is www.sm-energy.com. We routinely post important information for investors on our website. Within our website’s investor relations section, we make available free of charge our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed with or furnished to the SEC under applicable securities laws. These materials are made available as soon as reasonably practical after we electronically file such materials with or furnish such materials to the SEC. We also make available through our website our Corporate Governance Guidelines, Code of Business Conduct and Conflict of Interest Policy, Financial Code of Ethics, and the Charters of the Audit, Compensation, Executive, and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees of our Board of Directors. Information on our website is not incorporated by reference into this report and should not be considered part of this document.

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Glossary of Oil and Gas Terms
The oil and gas terms defined in this section are used throughout this report. The definitions of the terms developed reserves, exploratory well, field, proved reserves, and undeveloped reserves have been abbreviated from the respective definitions under SEC Rule 4-10(a) of Regulation S-X, as amended effective for fiscal years ending after December 31, 2009. The entire definitions of those terms under Rule 4-10(a) of Regulation S-X can be located through the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov.
Ad valorem tax. A tax based on the value of real estate or personal property.
Bbl. One stock tank barrel, or 42 U.S. gallons liquid volume, used in reference to oil, NGLs, or other liquid hydrocarbons.
Bcf. Billion cubic feet, used in reference to natural gas.
BOE. Barrels of oil equivalent. Oil equivalents are determined using the ratio of six Mcf of natural gas to one Bbl of oil or NGLs.
BTU. One British thermal unit, the quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of a one-pound mass of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
Developed acreage. The number of acres that are allocated or assignable to productive wells or wells capable of production.
Developed reserves. Reserves that can be expected to be recovered: (i) through existing wells with existing equipment and operating methods or in which the cost of the required equipment is relatively minor compared to the cost of a new well; and (ii) through installed extraction equipment and infrastructure operational at the time of the reserves estimate if the extraction is by means not involving a well.
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 either oil, natural gas, and/or NGLs in commercial quantities.
Exploratory well. A well drilled to find and produce oil or natural gas in an unproved area, to find a new reservoir in a field previously found to be productive of oil or natural gas in another reservoir, or to extend a known reservoir beyond its known horizon.
Fee properties. The most extensive interest that can be owned in land, including surface and mineral (including oil and natural gas) rights.
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.
Finding and development cost. Expressed in dollars per BOE. Finding and development cost metrics provide information as to the cost of adding proved reserves from various activities, and are widely utilized within the exploration and production industry, as well as by investors and analysts. The information used to calculate these metrics is included in the Supplemental Oil and Gas Information section in Part II, Item 8 of this report. It should be noted that finding and development cost metrics have limitations. For example, exploration efforts related to a particular set of proved reserve additions may extend over several years. As a result, the exploration costs incurred in earlier periods are not included in the amount of exploration costs incurred during the period in which that set of proved reserves is added. In addition, consistent with industry practice, future capital costs to develop proved undeveloped reserves are not included in costs incurred. Since the additional development costs that will need to be

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incurred in the future before the proved undeveloped reserves are ultimately produced are not included in the amount of costs incurred during the period in which those reserves were added, those development costs in future periods will be reflected in the costs associated with adding a different set of reserves.
Formation. A succession of sedimentary beds that were deposited under the same general geologic conditions.
Frac spread. Hydraulic fracturing requires custom-designed and purpose-built equipment. A “frac spread” is the equipment necessary to carry out a fracturing job.
Gross acre. An acre in which a working interest is owned.
Gross well. A well in which a working interest is owned.
Horizontal wells. Wells that are drilled at angles greater than 70 degrees from vertical.
Lease operating expenses. The expenses incurred in the lifting of crude oil, natural gas, and/or associated liquids from a producing formation to the surface, constituting part of the current operating expenses of a working interest, and also including labor, superintendence, supplies, repairs, maintenance, allocated overhead costs, and other expenses incidental to production, but not including lease acquisition, drilling, or completion costs.
MBbl. One thousand barrels of crude oil, NGLs, or other liquid hydrocarbons.
MBOE. One thousand barrels of oil equivalent.
Mcf. One thousand cubic feet, used in reference to natural gas.
MMBbl. One million barrels of oil, NGLs, or other liquid hydrocarbons.
MMBOE. One million barrels of oil equivalent.
MMBtu. One million British thermal units.
MMcf. One million cubic feet, used in reference to natural gas.
Net acres or net wells. Sum of our fractional working interests owned in gross acres or gross wells.
Net asset value per share. The result of the fair market value of total assets less total liabilities, divided by the total number of outstanding shares of common stock.
NGLs. The combination of ethane, propane, butane, and natural gasolines that when removed from natural gas become liquid under various levels of higher pressure and lower temperature.
NYMEX WTI. New York Mercantile Exchange West Texas Intermediate, a common industry benchmark price for crude oil.
NYMEX Henry Hub. New York Mercantile Exchange Henry Hub, a common industry benchmark price for natural gas.
OPIS. Oil Price Information Service, a common industry benchmark for NGL pricing at Mont Belvieu, Texas.
PV-10 (Non-GAAP). The present value of estimated future revenue to be generated from the production of estimated net proved reserves, net of estimated production and future development costs, based on prices used in estimating the proved reserves and costs in effect as of the date indicated (unless such costs are subject to change pursuant to contractual provisions), without giving effect to non-property related expenses such as general and

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administrative expenses, debt service, future income tax expenses, or depreciation, depletion, and amortization, discounted using an annual discount rate of 10 percent. While this measure does not include the effect of income taxes as it would in the use of the standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows calculation, it does provide an indicative representation of the relative value of the Company on a comparative basis to other companies and from period to period. This is a non-GAAP measure.
Productive well. A well that is producing crude oil, natural gas, and/or NGLs or that is capable of commercial production of those products.
Proved reserves. Those quantities of oil, gas, and NGLs which, by analysis of geoscience and engineering data, can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be economically producible – from a given date forward, from known reservoirs, and under existing economic conditions, operating methods, and government regulations – prior to the time at which contracts providing the right to operate expire, unless evidence indicates that renewal is reasonably certain, regardless of whether deterministic or probabilistic methods are used for the estimation. Existing economic conditions include prices and costs at which economic producibility from a reservoir is to be determined, and the price to be used is the average price during the 12-month period prior to the ending date of the period covered by the report, determined as an unweighted arithmetic average of the first-day-of-the-month price for each month within such period, unless prices are defined by contractual arrangements, excluding escalations based upon future conditions.
Recompletion. The completion of an existing wellbore in a formation other than that in which the well has previously been completed.
Reserve life. Expressed in years, represents the estimated net proved reserves at a specified date divided by actual production for the preceding 12-month period.
Reserve replacement. Reserve replacement metrics are used as indicators of a company’s ability to replenish annual production volumes and grow its reserves, and provide information related to how successful a company is at growing its proved reserve base. These are believed to be useful non-GAAP measures that are widely utilized within the exploration and production industry, as well as by investors and analysts.  They are easily calculable metrics, and the information used to calculate these metrics is included in the Supplemental Oil and Gas Information section of Part II, Item 8 of this report. It should be noted that reserve replacement metrics have limitations. They are limited because they typically vary widely based on the extent and timing of new discoveries and property acquisitions. Their predictive and comparative value is also limited for the same reasons. In addition, because the metrics do not embed the cost or timing of future production of new reserves, they cannot be used as a measure of value creation.
Reservoir. A porous and permeable underground formation containing a natural accumulation of producible crude oil, natural gas, and/or associated liquid resources that is confined by impermeable rock or water barriers and is individual and separate from other reservoirs.
Resource play. A term used to describe an accumulation of crude oil, natural gas, and/or associated liquid resources known to exist over a large areal expanse, which when compared to a conventional play typically has lower expected geological risk.
Royalty. The amount or fee paid to the owner of mineral rights, expressed as a percentage or fraction of gross income from crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs produced and sold unencumbered by expenses relating to the drilling, completing, and operating of the affected well.

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Royalty interest. An interest in an oil and natural gas property entitling the owner to shares of crude oil, natural gas, and NGL production free of costs of exploration, development, and production operations.
Seismic. The sending of energy waves or sound waves into the earth and analyzing the wave reflections to infer the type, size, shape, and depth of subsurface rock formations.
Shale. Fine-grained sedimentary rock composed mostly of consolidated clay or mud. Shale is the most frequently occurring sedimentary rock.
Standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows. The discounted future net cash flows relating to proved reserves based on prices used in estimating the reserves, year-end costs, and statutory tax rates, and a 10 percent annual discount rate. The information for this calculation is included in Supplemental Oil and Gas Information located in Part II, Item 8 of this report.
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 oil, natural gas, and associated liquids regardless of whether such acreage contains estimated net proved reserves.
Undeveloped reserves. 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. The applicable SEC definition of undeveloped reserves provides that undrilled locations can be classified as having undeveloped reserves only if a development plan has been adopted indicating that they are scheduled to be drilled within five years, unless the specific circumstances justify a longer time.
Working interest. The operating interest that gives the owner the right to drill, produce, and conduct operating activities on the property and to share in the production, sales, and costs.

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ITEM 1A.    RISK FACTORS
In addition to the other information included in this report, the following risk factors should be carefully considered when evaluating an investment in us.
Risks Related to Our Business
Crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices are volatile, and declines in prices adversely affect our profitability, financial condition, cash flows, access to capital, and ability to grow.
Our revenues, operating results, profitability, future rate of growth, and the carrying value of our oil and natural gas properties depend heavily on the prices we receive for crude oil, natural gas, and NGL sales. Crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices also affect our cash flows available for capital expenditures and other items, our borrowing capacity, and the volume and amount of our crude oil, natural gas, and NGL reserves. For example, the amount of our borrowing base under our credit facility is subject to periodic redeterminations based on crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices specified by our bank group at the time of redetermination. In addition, we may have crude oil and natural gas property impairments or downward revisions of estimates of proved reserves if prices fall significantly. The decline in commodity prices during 2015 resulted in reductions to our proved reserve volumes and PV-10; reductions in revenues received from the sale of oil, gas, and NGLs, and thus cash flow from operating activities; and recorded impairments of proved, unproved, and other property. Please refer herein to the captions Significant Developments in 2015 within Part I, Items 1 and 2 Business and Properties; the section Comparison of Financial Results and Trends between 2015 and 2014 and between 2014 and 2013 within Part II, Item 7, and Note 1 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Note 11 – Fair Value Measurements in Part II, Item 8 for specific discussion.
Historically, the markets for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs have been volatile, and they are likely to continue to be volatile. Wide fluctuations in crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices may result from relatively minor changes in the supply of and demand for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs, market uncertainty, and other factors that are beyond our control, including:
global and domestic supplies of crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs, and the productive capacity of the industry as a whole;
the level of consumer demand for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs;
overall global and domestic economic conditions;
weather conditions;
the availability and capacity of gathering, transportation, processing, and/or refining facilities in regional or localized areas that may affect the realized prices for crude oil, natural gas, or NGLs;
liquefied natural gas deliveries to and from the United States;
the price and level of imports and exports of crude oil, refined petroleum products, and liquefied natural gas;
the price and availability of alternative fuels;
technological advances and regulations affecting energy consumption and conservation;
the ability of the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other exporting countries to agree to and maintain crude oil price and production controls;

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political instability or armed conflict in crude oil or natural gas producing regions;
strengthening and weakening of the United States dollar relative to other currencies; and
governmental regulations and taxes.
These factors and the volatility of crude oil, natural gas, and NGL markets make it extremely difficult to predict future crude oil, natural gas, and NGL price movements with any certainty. Declines in crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices would reduce our revenues and could also reduce the amount of crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs that we can produce economically, which could have a materially adverse effect on us.
Weakness in economic conditions or uncertainty in financial markets may have material adverse impacts on our business that we cannot predict.
In recent years, the United States and global economies and financial systems have experienced turmoil and upheaval characterized by extreme volatility in prices of equity and debt securities, periods of diminished liquidity and credit availability, inability to access capital markets, the bankruptcy, failure, collapse, or sale of financial institutions, increased levels of unemployment, and an unprecedented level of intervention by the United States federal government and other governments. Although the United States economy appears to have stabilized, the extent and timing of a recovery, and whether it can be sustained, are uncertain. Renewed weakness in the United States or other large economies could materially adversely affect our business and financial condition. For example:
crude oil, NGL and natural gas prices have recently been lower than at various times in the last decade because of increased supply resulting from, among other things, increased drilling in unconventional reservoirs, leading to lower revenues, which could affect our financial condition and results of operations;
the tightening of credit or lack of credit availability to our customers could adversely affect our ability to collect our trade receivables;
the liquidity available under our credit facility could be reduced if any lender is unable to fund its commitment;
our ability to access the capital markets may be restricted at a time when we would like, or need, to raise capital for our business, including for the exploration and/or development of reserves;
our commodity derivative contracts could become economically ineffective if our counterparties are unable to perform their obligations or seek bankruptcy protection; and
variable interest rate spread levels, including for LIBOR and the prime rate, could increase significantly, resulting in higher interest costs for unhedged variable interest rate based borrowings under our credit facility.
If we are unable to replace reserves, we will not be able to sustain production.
Our future operations depend on our ability to find, develop, or acquire crude oil, natural gas, and NGL reserves that are economically producible. Our properties produce crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs at a declining rate over time. In order to maintain current production rates, we must locate and develop or acquire new crude oil, natural gas, and NGL reserves to replace those being depleted by production. Without successful drilling or acquisition activities, our reserves and production will decline over time. In addition, competition for crude oil and natural gas properties is intense, and many of our competitors have financial, technical, human, and other resources necessary to evaluate and integrate acquisitions that are substantially greater than those available to us.

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In the event we do complete an acquisition, its successful impact on our business will depend on a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control. These factors include the purchase price for the acquisition, future crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices, the ability to reasonably estimate or assess the recoverable volumes of reserves, rates of future production and future net revenues attainable from reserves, future operating and capital costs, results of future exploration, exploitation, and development activities on the acquired properties, and future abandonment and possible future environmental or other liabilities. There are numerous uncertainties inherent in estimating quantities of proved oil and gas reserves, actual future production rates, and associated costs and potential liabilities with respect to prospective acquisition targets. Actual results may vary substantially from those assumed in the estimates. A customary review of subject properties will not necessarily reveal all existing or potential problems.
Additionally, significant acquisitions can change the nature of our operations and business depending upon the character of the acquired properties if they have substantially different operating and geological characteristics or are in different geographic locations than our existing properties. To the extent that acquired properties are substantially different than our existing properties, our ability to efficiently realize the expected economic benefits of such transactions may be limited.
Integrating acquired businesses and properties involves a number of special risks. These risks include the possibility that management may be distracted from regular business concerns by the need to integrate operations and systems and that unforeseen difficulties can arise in integrating operations and systems and in retaining and assimilating employees. Any of these or other similar risks could lead to potential adverse short-term or long-term effects on our operating results and may cause us to not be able to realize any or all of the anticipated benefits of the acquisitions.
Substantial capital is required to develop and replace our reserves.
We must make substantial capital expenditures to find, acquire, develop, and produce crude oil, natural gas, and NGL reserves. Future cash flows and the availability of financing are subject to a number of factors, such as the level of production from existing wells, prices received for crude oil, natural gas, and NGL sales, our success in locating and developing and acquiring new reserves, and the orderly functioning of credit and capital markets. If crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices further decrease or if we encounter operating difficulties that result in our cash flows from operations being less than expected, we may further reduce our planned capital expenditures unless we can raise additional funds through debt or equity financing or the divestment of assets. Debt or equity financing may not always be available to us in sufficient amounts or on acceptable terms, and the proceeds offered to us for potential divestitures may not always be of acceptable value to us. Our credit ratings were recently downgraded by two major rating agencies. These downgrades and any further downgrades may make it more difficult or expensive for us to borrow additional funds.
During 2015, our revenues decreased significantly from 2014 due to continued declines in commodity prices; however, we were able to fund our capital program through cash flows from operations, proceeds from divestitures, and financing activities. If our revenues continue to decrease in the future due to lower crude oil, natural gas, or NGL prices, decreased production, or other reasons, and if we cannot obtain funding through our credit facility, other acceptable debt or equity financing arrangements, or through the sale of assets, our ability to execute development plans, replace our reserves, maintain our acreage, or maintain production levels could be greatly limited.
The recent or future downgrades in our credit ratings by various credit rating agencies could impact our access to capital and materially adversely affect our business and financial condition.

In February 2016, Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s downgraded our credit ratings (“Debt Rating”).


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Our Debt Rating levels could have materially adverse consequences on our business and future prospects and could:

limit our ability to access debt markets, including for the purpose of refinancing our existing debt;

cause us to refinance or issue debt with less favorable terms and conditions, which debt may restrict, among other things, our ability to make any dividend distributions or repurchase shares;

negatively impact current and prospective customers’ willingness to transact business with us;

impose additional insurance, guarantee and collateral requirements;

limit our access to bank and third-party guarantees, surety bonds and letters of credit; and

suppliers and financial institutions may lower or eliminate the level of credit provided through payment terms or intraday funding when dealing with us, thereby increasing the need for higher levels of cash on hand, which would decrease our ability to repay indebtedness.

We cannot provide assurance that any of our current Debt Ratings will remain in effect for any given period of time or that a Debt Rating will not be further lowered or withdrawn entirely by a rating agency if, in its judgment, circumstances warrant.

Competition in our industry is intense, and many of our competitors have greater financial, technical, and human resources than we do.
We face intense competition from major oil and gas companies, independent oil and gas exploration and production companies, and institutional and individual investors who seek oil and gas investments throughout the world, as well as the equipment, expertise, labor, and materials required to operate crude oil and natural gas properties. Many of our competitors have financial, technical, and other resources exceeding those available to us, and many crude oil and natural gas properties are sold in a competitive bidding process in which our competitors may be able and willing to pay more for exploratory and development prospects and productive properties, or in which our competitors have technological information or expertise that is not available to us to evaluate and successfully bid for properties. We may not be successful in acquiring and developing profitable properties in the face of this competition. In addition, other companies may have a greater ability to continue drilling activities during periods of low natural gas or oil prices and to absorb the burden of current and future governmental regulations and taxation. In addition, shortages of equipment, labor, or materials as a result of intense competition may result in increased costs or the inability to obtain those resources as needed. Also, we compete for human resources. Our inability to compete effectively with companies in any area of our business could have a material adverse impact on our business activities, financial condition and results of operations.
The loss of key personnel could adversely affect our business.
We depend to a large extent on the efforts and continued employment of our executive management team and other key personnel. The loss of their services could adversely affect our business. Our drilling success and the success of other activities integral to our operations will depend, in part, on our ability to attract and retain experienced geologists, engineers, landmen and other professionals. Competition for many of these professionals can be intense. If we cannot retain our technical personnel or attract additional experienced technical personnel and professionals, our ability to compete could be harmed.

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The actual quantities and present value of our proved crude oil, natural gas, and NGL reserves may be less than we have estimated.
This report and other of our SEC filings contain estimates of our proved crude oil, natural gas, and NGL reserves and the estimated future net revenues from those reserves. These estimates are based on various assumptions, including assumptions required by the SEC relating to crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices, drilling and completion costs, gathering and transportation costs, operating expenses, capital expenditures, effects of governmental regulation, taxes, timing of operations, and availability of funds. The process of estimating crude oil, natural gas, and NGL reserves is complex. The process involves significant decisions and assumptions in the evaluation of available geological, geophysical, engineering, and economic data for each reservoir. These estimates are dependent on many variables, and changes often occur as our knowledge of these variables evolve. Therefore, these estimates are inherently imprecise. In addition, the reserve estimates we make for properties that do not have a significant production history may be less reliable than estimates for properties with lengthy production histories. A lack of production history may contribute to inaccuracy in our estimates of proved reserves, future production rates, and the timing and/or amount of development expenditures.
Actual future production; prices for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs; revenues; production taxes; development expenditures; operating expenses; and quantities of producible crude oil, natural gas, and NGL reserves will most likely vary from those estimated. Any significant variance of any nature could materially affect the estimated quantities of and present value related to proved reserves disclosed by us, and the actual quantities and present value may be significantly less than we have previously estimated. In addition, we may adjust estimates of proved reserves to reflect production history, results of exploration, operations and development activity, prevailing crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices, costs to develop and operate properties, and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. Our properties may also be susceptible to hydrocarbon drainage from production on adjacent properties, which we may not control.
As of December 31, 2015, 48 percent, or 226.8 MMBOE, of our estimated proved reserves were proved undeveloped, and one percent, or 5.1 MMBOE, were proved developed non-producing. In order to develop our proved undeveloped reserves, as of December 31, 2015, we estimate approximately $1.9 billion of capital expenditures would be required. Production revenues from proved developed non-producing reserves will not be realized until sometime in the future and after some investment of capital. In order to develop our proved developed non-producing reserves, as of December 31, 2015, we estimate capital expenditures of approximately $10 million would be required. Although we have estimated our proved reserves and the costs associated with these proved reserves in accordance with industry standards, estimated costs may not be accurate, development may not occur as scheduled, and actual results may not occur as estimated.
You should not assume that the PV-10 and standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows included in this report represent the current market value of our estimated proved crude oil, natural gas, and NGL reserves. Management has based the estimated discounted future net cash flows from proved reserves on price and cost assumptions required by the SEC, whereas actual future prices and costs may be materially higher or lower. For example, the present value of our proved reserves as of December 31, 2015, was estimated using a calculated 12-month average sales price of $2.59 per MMBtu of natural gas (NYMEX Henry Hub spot price), $50.28 per Bbl of oil (NYMEX WTI spot price), and $20.20 per Bbl of NGL (OPIS spot price).  We then adjust these prices to reflect appropriate basis, quality, and location differentials over the period in estimating our proved reserves. During 2015, our monthly average realized natural gas prices, excluding the effect of derivative settlements, were as high as $3.57 per Mcf and as low as $1.91 per Mcf.  For the same period, our monthly average realized crude oil prices before the effect of derivative settlements were as high as $54.30 per Bbl and as low as $29.78 per Bbl, and were as high as $18.43 per Bbl and as low as $13.31 per Bbl for NGLs.  Many other factors will affect actual future net cash flows, including:
amount and timing of actual production;
supply and demand for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs;

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curtailments or increases in consumption by oil purchasers and natural gas pipelines; and
changes in government regulations or taxes, including severance and excise taxes.
The timing of production from oil and natural gas properties and of related expenses affects the timing of actual future net cash flows from proved reserves, and thus their actual present value. Our actual future net cash flows could be less than the estimated future net cash flows for purposes of computing PV-10. In addition, the 10 percent discount factor required by the SEC to be used to calculate PV-10 for reporting purposes is not necessarily the most appropriate discount factor given actual interest rates, costs of capital, and other risks to which our business and the oil and natural gas industry in general are subject.
Our property acquisitions may not be worth what we paid due to uncertainties in evaluating recoverable reserves and other expected benefits, as well as potential liabilities.
Successful property acquisitions require an assessment of a number of factors, some of which are beyond our control. These factors include exploration potential, future crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices, operating costs, and potential environmental and other liabilities. These assessments are not precise and their accuracy is inherently uncertain.
In connection with our acquisitions, we typically perform a customary review of the acquired properties that will not necessarily reveal all existing or potential problems. In addition, our review may not allow us to fully assess the potential deficiencies of the properties. We do not inspect every well, and even when we inspect a well, we may not discover structural, subsurface, or environmental problems that may exist or arise. We may not be entitled to contractual indemnification for pre-closing liabilities, including environmental liabilities. Normally, we acquire interests in properties on an “as is” basis with limited remedies for breaches of representations and warranties.
In addition, significant acquisitions can change the nature of our operations and business if the acquired properties have substantially different operating and geological characteristics or are in different geographic locations than our existing properties. To the extent acquired properties are substantially different than our existing properties, our ability to efficiently realize the expected economic benefits of such acquisitions may be limited.
Integrating acquired properties and businesses involves a number of other special risks, including the risk that management may be distracted from normal business concerns by the need to integrate operations and systems as well as retain and assimilate additional employees. Therefore, we may not be able to realize all of the anticipated benefits of our acquisitions.
Our disposition activities may be subject to factors beyond our control, and in certain cases we may retain unforeseen liabilities for certain matters.

We regularly sell non-core assets in order to increase capital resources available for core assets and to create organizational and operational efficiencies. We also occasionally sell interests in core assets for the purpose of accelerating the development and increasing efficiencies in other core assets. Various factors could materially affect our ability to dispose of such assets, including the approvals of governmental agencies or third parties and the availability of purchasers willing to acquire the assets or terms we deem acceptable. We at times may be required to retain certain liabilities or agree to indemnify buyers for certain matters related to the sold assets. The magnitude of any such retained liabilities or of the indemnification obligations may be difficult to quantify at the time of the transaction and ultimately could be material.


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We have limited control over the activities on properties we do not operate.

Some of our properties, including a portion of our interests in the Eagle Ford shale in south Texas, are operated by other companies and involve third-party working interest owners. As a result, we have limited ability to influence or control the operation or future development of such properties, including the nature and timing of drilling and operational activities, the operator’s skill and expertise, compliance with environmental, safety and other regulations, the approval of other participants in such properties, the selection and application of suitable technology, or the amount of expenditures that we will be required to fund with respect to such properties. Moreover, we are dependent on the other working interest owners of such projects to fund their contractual share of the expenditures of such properties. These limitations and our dependence on the operator and other working interest owners in these projects could cause us to incur unexpected future costs and materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

We rely on third-party service providers to conduct drilling and completion and other related operations on properties we operate.
Where we are the operator of a property, we rely on third-party service providers to perform necessary drilling and completion and other related operations. The ability of third-party service providers to perform such operations will depend on those service providers’ ability to compete for and retain qualified personnel, financial condition, economic performance, and access to capital, which in turn will depend upon the supply and demand for oil, natural gas, and NGLs, prevailing economic conditions and financial, business, and other factors. In addition, continued low commodity prices may cause third-party service providers to consolidate or declare bankruptcy, which could limit our options for engaging such providers. The failure of a third-party service provider to adequately perform operations could delay drilling or completion or reduce production from the property and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
Title to the properties in which we have an interest may be impaired by title defects.
We generally rely on title reports in acquiring oil and gas leasehold interests and obtain title opinions only on significant properties that we drill. There is no assurance that we will not suffer a monetary loss from title defects or title failure. Additionally, undeveloped acreage has greater risk of title defects than developed acreage. Title insurance is not generally available for oil and gas properties. As is customary in our industry, we rely upon the judgment of staff and independent landmen who perform the field work of examining records in the appropriate governmental offices and title abstract facilities before attempting to acquire or place under lease a specific mineral interest and/or undertake drilling activities. We, in some cases, perform curative work to correct deficiencies in the marketability of the title to us. Generally, under the terms of the operating agreements affecting our properties, any monetary loss attributable to a loss of title is to be borne by all parties to any such agreement in proportion to their interests in such property. A material title defect can reduce the value of a property or render it worthless, thus adversely affecting our financial condition, results of operations, and operating cash flow if such property is of sufficient value.
Exploration and development drilling may not result in commercially producible reserves.
Crude oil and natural gas drilling, completion and production activities are subject to numerous risks, including the risk that no commercially producible crude oil, natural gas, or associated liquids will be found. The cost of drilling and completing wells is often uncertain, and crude oil, natural gas, or associated liquids drilling and production activities may be shortened, delayed, or canceled as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control. These factors include:
unexpected adverse drilling or completion conditions;
title problems;

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disputes with owners or holders of surface interests on or near areas where we operate;
pressure or geologic irregularities in formations;
engineering and construction delays;
equipment failures or accidents;
hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding, or other adverse weather conditions;
governmental permitting delays;
compliance with environmental and other governmental requirements; and
shortages or delays in the availability of or increases in the cost of drilling rigs and crews, fracture stimulation crews and equipment, pipe, chemicals, water, sand, and other supplies.
The prevailing prices for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs affect the cost of and the demand for drilling rigs, completion and production equipment, and other related services. However, changes in costs may not occur simultaneously with corresponding changes in commodity prices. The availability of drilling rigs can vary significantly from region to region at any particular time. Although land drilling rigs can be moved from one region to another in response to changes in levels of demand, an undersupply of rigs in any region may result in drilling delays and higher drilling costs for the available rigs in that region.
Another significant risk inherent in our drilling plans is the need to obtain drilling permits from state, local, and other governmental authorities. Delays in obtaining regulatory approvals and drilling permits, including delays that jeopardize our ability to realize the potential benefits from leased properties within the applicable lease periods, the failure to obtain a drilling permit for a well, or the receipt of a permit with unreasonable conditions or costs could have a materially adverse effect on our ability to explore or develop our properties.
The wells we drill may not be productive, and we may not recover all or any portion of our investment in such wells. The seismic data and other technologies we use do not allow us to know conclusively prior to drilling a well if crude oil, natural gas, or NGLs are present, or whether they can be produced economically. The cost of drilling, completing, and operating a well is often uncertain, and cost factors can adversely affect the economics of a project. Drilling activities can result in dry holes or wells that are productive but do not produce sufficient net revenues after operating and other costs to cover drilling and completion costs. Even if sufficient amounts of crude oil, natural gas, or NGLs exist, we may damage a potentially productive hydrocarbon-bearing formation or experience mechanical difficulties while drilling or completing a well, which could result in reduced or no production from the well, significant expenditure to repair the well, and/or the loss and abandonment of the well.
Results in our newer resource plays may be more uncertain than results in resource plays that are more developed and have longer established production histories. We and the industry generally have less information with respect to the ultimate recoverability of reserves and the production decline rates in newer resource plays than other areas with longer histories of development and production. Drilling and completion techniques that have proven to be successful in other resource plays are being used in the early development of new plays; however, we can provide no assurance of the ultimate success of these drilling and completion techniques.
In addition, a significant part of our strategy involves increasing our inventory of drilling locations. Such multi-year drilling inventories can be more susceptible to long-term uncertainties that could materially alter the occurrence or timing of actual drilling. Because of these uncertainties, we do not know if the potential drilling locations we have identified will ever be drilled, although we have the present intent to do so for locations booked as proved undeveloped locations, or if we will be able to produce crude oil, natural gas, or NGLs from these potential drilling locations.

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Our future drilling activities may not be successful. Our overall drilling success rate or our drilling success rate within a particular area may decline. In addition, we may not be able to obtain any options or lease rights in potential drilling locations that we identify. Unless production is established within the spacing units covering undeveloped acres on which our drilling locations are identified, the leases for such acreage will expire and we will lose our right to develop the related properties. Our total net acreage expiring in the next three years represents approximately 32 percent of our total net undeveloped acreage at December 31, 2015. Although we have identified numerous potential drilling locations, we may not be able to economically drill for and produce crude oil, natural gas, or NGLs from all of them, and our actual drilling activities may materially differ from those presently identified, which could adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and operating cash flow.
Part of our strategy involves drilling in existing or emerging resource plays using some of the latest available horizontal drilling and completion techniques. The results of our planned exploratory and delineation drilling in these plays are subject to drilling and completion technique risks, and results may not meet our expectations for reserves or production. As a result, we may incur material write-downs, and the value of our undeveloped acreage could decline if drilling results are unsuccessful.
Many of our operations involve utilizing the latest drilling and completion techniques as developed by us and our service providers in order to maximize production and ultimate recoveries and therefore generate the highest possible returns. Risks we face while drilling include, but are not limited to, landing our well bore outside the desired drilling zone, deviating from the desired drilling zone while drilling horizontally through the formation, the inability to run our casing the entire length of the well bore, and the inability to run tools and recover equipment consistently through the horizontal well bore. Risks we face while completing our wells include, but are not limited to, the inability to fracture stimulate the planned number of stages, the inability to run tools and other equipment the entire length of the well bore during completion operations, the inability to recover such tools and other equipment, and the inability to successfully clean out the well bore after completion of the final fracture stimulation.
Ultimately, the success of these drilling and completion techniques can only be evaluated over time as more wells are drilled and production profiles are established over a sufficiently long time period. If our drilling results are less than anticipated or we are unable to execute our drilling program because of capital constraints, lease expirations, limited access to gathering systems and takeaway capacity, and/or prices for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs decline, then the return on our investment for a particular project may not be as attractive as we anticipated and we could incur material write-downs of oil and gas properties and the value of our undeveloped acreage could decline in the future.

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Uncertainties associated with enhanced recovery methods may result in us not realizing an acceptable return on our investments in such projects.
We inject water into formations on some of our properties to increase the production of crude oil, natural gas, and associated liquids. We may in the future expand these efforts to more of our properties or employ other enhanced recovery methods in our operations. The additional production and reserves, if any, attributable to the use of enhanced recovery methods are inherently difficult to predict. If our enhanced recovery methods do not allow for the extraction of crude oil, natural gas, and associated liquids in a manner or to the extent that we anticipate, we may not realize an acceptable return on our investments in such projects. In addition, as proposed legislation and regulatory initiatives relating to hydraulic fracturing become law, the cost of some of these enhanced recovery methods could increase substantially.
Many of our properties are in areas that may have been partially depleted or drained by offset wells and certain of our wells may be adversely affected by actions other operators may take when drilling, completing or operating wells that they own.
Many of our properties are in areas that may have already been partially depleted or drained by earlier offset drilling. The owners of leasehold interests adjoining any of our properties could take actions, such as drilling and completing additional wells, which could adversely affect our operations. When a new well is completed and produced, the pressure differential in the vicinity of the well causes the migration of reservoir fluids toward the new wellbore (and potentially away from existing wellbores). As a result, the drilling and production of these potential locations could cause a depletion of our proved reserves and may inhibit our ability to further develop our proved reserves. In addition, completion operations and other activities conducted on adjacent or nearby wells could cause production from our wells to be shut in for indefinite periods of time, could result in increased lease operating expenses and could adversely affect the production and reserves from our wells after they re-commence production. We have no control over the operations or activities of offsetting operators.
Our commodity derivative contract activities may result in financial losses or may limit the prices we receive for crude oil, natural gas, and NGL sales.
To mitigate a portion of the exposure to potentially adverse market changes in crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices and the associated impact on cash flows, we have entered into various derivative contracts. Our derivative contracts in place include swap arrangements for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs. As of December 31, 2015, we were in a net accrued asset position of $488.4 million with respect to our crude oil, natural gas, and NGL derivative activities. These activities may expose us to the risk of financial loss in certain circumstances, including instances in which:
our production is less than expected;
one or more counterparties to our commodity derivative contracts default on their contractual obligations; or
there is a widening of price differentials between delivery points for our production and the delivery point assumed in the commodity derivative contract arrangement.
The risk of one or more counterparties defaulting on their obligations is heightened by continued declines in crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices. These circumstances may adversely affect the ability of our counterparties to meet their obligations to us pursuant to derivative transactions, which could reduce our revenues and cash flows from derivative settlements. As a result, our financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows could be materially affected in an adverse way if our counterparties default on their contractual obligations under our commodity derivative contracts.

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In addition, commodity derivative contracts may limit the prices we receive for our crude oil, natural gas and NGL sales if crude oil, natural gas, or NGL prices rise substantially over the price established by the commodity derivative contract.
The inability of customers or co-owners of assets to meet their obligations may adversely affect our financial results.
Substantially all of our accounts receivable result from crude oil, natural gas, and NGL sales or joint interest billings to co-owners of oil and gas properties we operate. This concentration of customers and joint interest owners may impact our overall credit risk because these entities may be similarly affected by various economic and other conditions, including the continued declines in crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices. The loss of one or more of these customers could reduce competition for our products and negatively impact the prices of commodities we sell. We do not believe the loss of any single purchaser would materially impact our operating results, as we have numerous options for purchasers in each of our operating regions for our crude oil, natural gas, and NGL production. Please refer to Note 1 - Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, under the heading Concentration of Credit Risk and Major Customers in Part II, Item 8 of this report for further discussion of our concentration of credit risk and major customers. Additionally, the inability of our co-owners to pay joint interest billings could negatively impact our cash flow and financial ability to drill and complete current and future wells.
We have entered into firm transportation contracts that require us to pay fixed sums of money to our counterparties regardless of quantities actually shipped, processed, or gathered. If we are unable to deliver the necessary quantities of natural gas to our counterparties, our results of operations, financial position, and liquidity could be adversely affected.
As of December 31, 2015, we were contractually committed to deliver 2,277 Bcf of natural gas and 36 MMBbl of crude oil, of which the first 1,059 Bcf of natural gas delivered under a certain agreement does not have a deficiency payment. These contracts expire at various dates through 2028. Subsequent to December 31, 2015, we entered into amendments to oil and gas gathering agreements related to certain of our Eagle Ford shale assets, each of which previously did not have a minimum volume commitment. Under these amendments, we are now committed to deliver 310 Bcf of natural gas and 41 MMBbl of oil through 2034. Subsequent to December 31, 2015, we also entered into an amendment to a gas gathering agreement related to certain other Eagle Ford shale assets, which reduced our volume commitment amount as of December 31, 2015, by 829 Bcf. We may enter into additional firm transportation agreements as the development of our resource plays expands. At the current time, we do not have enough proved developed reserves to offset these contractual liabilities, but we expect to develop reserves that will meet or exceed the commitments and therefore do not expect any material shortfalls. In the event we encounter delays in drilling and completing our wells or otherwise due to construction, interruptions of operations, or delays in connecting new volumes to gathering systems or pipelines for an extended period of time, or if we further limit our capital expenditures due to further commodity price declines, the requirements to pay for quantities not delivered could have a material impact on our results of operations, financial position, and liquidity.
Future crude oil, natural gas, and NGL price declines or unsuccessful exploration efforts may result in write-downs of our asset carrying values.
We follow the successful efforts method of accounting for our crude oil and natural gas properties. All property acquisition costs and costs of exploratory and development wells are capitalized when incurred, pending the determination of whether proved reserves have been discovered. If commercial quantities of hydrocarbons are not discovered with an exploratory well, the costs of drilling the well are expensed.
The capitalized costs of our oil and gas properties, on a depletion pool basis, cannot exceed the estimated undiscounted future net cash flows of that depletion pool. If net capitalized costs exceed undiscounted future net revenues, we generally must write down the costs of each depletion pool to the estimated discounted future net cash flows of that depletion pool. Unproved properties are evaluated at the lower of cost or fair market value. We incurred impairment of proved properties expense and impairment of unproved properties expense totaling $468.7

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million and $78.6 million, respectively, during 2015, $84.5 million and $75.6 million, respectively, during 2014, and $172.6 million and $46.1 million, respectively, during 2013. We also incurred impairment of other property, plant, and equipment expense totaling $49.4 million during 2015. Commodity prices significantly declined in 2014 and 2015. Continued declines in the prices of crude oil, natural gas, or NGLs or unsuccessful exploration efforts could cause additional proved and/or unproved property impairments in the future.
We review the carrying value of our properties for indicators of impairment on a quarterly basis using the prices in effect as of the end of each quarter. Once incurred, a write-down of oil and natural gas properties cannot be reversed at a later date, even if crude oil, natural gas, or NGL prices increase.
Lower crude oil, natural gas, or NGL prices could limit our ability to borrow under our credit facility.
Our credit facility has a current commitment amount of $1.5 billion, subject to a borrowing base that the lenders redetermine semi-annually based on the bank group’s assessment of the value of our proved reserves, which in turn is impacted by crude oil, natural gas, and NGL prices. The current borrowing base under our credit facility is $2.0 billion. The prices of crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs declined significantly throughout 2015. These declines in prices, or further declines in prices, could limit our borrowing base and reduce the amount we can borrow under our credit facility. Our amendment to our credit facility in 2015 reduced our borrowing base from $2.4 billion to $2.0 billion. This expected reduction was primarily a result of the sale of our Mid-Continent assets in the second quarter of 2015, as well as adjustments consistent with lower commodity prices. Additionally, divestitures of properties or incurrence of additional debt could result in a reduction of our borrowing base.
The amount of our debt may limit our ability to obtain financing for acquisitions, make us more vulnerable to adverse economic conditions, and make it more difficult for us to make payments on our debt.
As of December 31, 2015, we had $350.0 million of long-term senior unsecured debt outstanding relating to our 6.50% Senior Notes due 2021 (the “2021 Notes”) that we issued on November 8, 2011; $600.0 million of long-term senior unsecured debt outstanding relating to our 6.125% Senior Notes due 2022 (the “2022 Notes”) that we issued on November 17, 2014; $400.0 million of long-term senior unsecured debt outstanding relating to our 6.50% Senior Notes due 2023 (the “2023 Notes”) that we issued on June 29, 2012; $500.0 million of long-term senior unsecured debt outstanding relating to our 5.0% Senior Notes due 2024 (the “2024 Notes”) that we issued on May 20, 2013; and $500.0 million of long-term senior unsecured debt outstanding relating to our 5.625% Senior Notes due 2025 (the “2025 Notes”) that we issued on May 21, 2015 (collectively, the 2021 Notes, the 2022 Notes, the 2023 Notes, the 2024 Notes, and the 2025 Notes are referred to as our “Senior Notes”); and $202.0 million of outstanding borrowings under our secured credit facility. We had two outstanding letters of credit in the aggregate amount of $200,000 (which reduce the amount available for borrowing under the facility on a dollar-for-dollar basis), resulting in $1.3 billion of available borrowing capacity under our credit facility, assuming the borrowing conditions under this facility will be met. Our long-term debt represented 58 percent of our total book capitalization as of December 31, 2015.
Our indebtedness could have important consequences for our operations, including:
making it more difficult for us to obtain additional financing in the future for our operations and potential acquisitions, working capital requirements, capital expenditures, debt service, or other general corporate requirements;
requiring us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flows from operations to the repayment of our debt and the service of interest costs associated with our debt, rather than to productive investments;
limiting our operating flexibility due to financial and other restrictive covenants, including restrictions on incurring additional debt, making acquisitions, and paying dividends;
placing us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors with less debt; and

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making us more vulnerable in the event of adverse economic or industry conditions or a downturn in our business.
Our ability to make payments on our debt, refinance our debt, and fund planned capital expenditures will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future. This, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory, and other factors that are beyond our control. If our business does not generate sufficient cash flow from operations or future sufficient borrowings are not available to us under our credit facility or from other sources, we might not be able to service our debt or fund our other liquidity needs. If we are unable to service our debt, due to inadequate liquidity or otherwise, we may have to delay or cancel acquisitions, defer capital expenditures, sell equity securities, divest assets, and/or restructure or refinance our debt. We might not be able to sell our equity, sell our assets, or restructure or refinance our debt on a timely basis or on satisfactory terms or at all. In addition, the terms of our existing or future debt agreements, including our existing and future credit agreements, may prohibit us from pursuing any of these alternatives. Further, changes in the credit ratings of our debt may negatively affect the cost, terms, conditions, and availability of future financing.
Our debt agreements, including the agreement governing our credit facility and the indentures governing the Senior Notes, permit us to incur additional debt in the future, subject to compliance with restrictive covenants under those agreements. In addition, entities we may acquire in the future could have significant amounts of debt outstanding that we could be required to assume, and in some cases accelerate repayment thereof, in connection with the acquisition, or we may incur our own significant indebtedness to consummate an acquisition.
As discussed above, our credit facility is subject to periodic borrowing base redeterminations. We could be forced to repay a portion of our bank borrowings in the event of a downward redetermination of our borrowing base, and we may not have sufficient funds to make such repayment at that time. If we do not have sufficient funds and are otherwise unable to negotiate renewals of our borrowing base or arrange new financing, we may be forced to sell significant assets.
The agreements governing our debt contain various covenants that limit our discretion in the operation of our business, could prohibit us from engaging in transactions we believe to be beneficial, and could lead to the accelerated repayment of our debt.
Our debt agreements contain restrictive covenants that limit our ability to engage in activities that may be in our long-term best interests. Our ability to borrow under our credit facility is subject to compliance with certain financial covenants, including (i) maintenance of a quarterly ratio of total debt to 12-month trailing consolidated adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and exploration expense of less than 4.0, and (ii) maintenance of an adjusted current ratio of no less than 1.0, each as defined in our credit facility. Our credit facility also requires us to comply with certain financial covenants, including requirements that we maintain certain levels of stockholders’ equity and limit our annual cash dividends to no more than $50.0 million. These restrictions on our ability to operate our business could seriously harm our business by, among other things, limiting our ability to take advantage of financings, mergers and acquisitions, and other corporate opportunities.
The respective indentures governing the Senior Notes also contain covenants that, among other things, limit our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to:
incur additional debt;
make certain dividends or pay dividends or distributions on our capital stock or purchase, redeem, or retire capital stock;
sell assets, including capital stock of our subsidiaries;
restrict dividends or other payments of our subsidiaries;

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create liens that secure debt;
enter into transactions with affiliates; and
merge or consolidate with another company.
Our failure to comply with these covenants could result in an event of default that, if not cured or waived, could result in the acceleration of all or a portion of our indebtedness. We do not have sufficient working capital to satisfy our debt obligations in the event of an acceleration of all or a significant portion of our outstanding indebtedness.
We are subject to operating and environmental risks and hazards that could result in substantial losses or liabilities that may not be fully insured.
Oil and gas operations are subject to many risks, including human error and accidents, that could cause personal injury, death, property damage, well blowouts, craterings, explosions, uncontrollable flows of crude oil, natural gas and associated liquids, or well fluids, releases or spills of completion fluids, spills or releases from facilities and equipment used to deliver or store these materials, spills or releases of brine or other produced or flowback water, subsurface conditions that prevent us from stimulating the planned number of completion stages, accessing the entirety of the wellbore with our tools during completion, or removing materials from the wellbore to allow production to begin, fires, adverse weather such as hurricanes or tornadoes, freezing conditions, floods, droughts, formations with abnormal pressures, pipeline ruptures or spills, pollution, releases of toxic gas such as hydrogen sulfide, and other environmental risks and hazards. If any of these types of events occurs, we could sustain substantial losses.
Furthermore, if we experience any of the problems with well stimulation and completion activities referenced above, our ability to explore for and produce crude oil, natural gas, or NGLs may be adversely affected. We could incur substantial losses or otherwise fail to realize reserves in particular formations as a result of the need to shutdown, abandon, or relocate drilling operations, the need to modify drill sites to lessen the risk of spills or releases, the need to investigate and/or remediate any spills, releases or ground water contamination that might have occurred, and the need to suspend our operations.

There is inherent risk of incurring significant environmental costs and liabilities in our operations due to our current and past generation, handling and disposal of materials, including solid and hazardous wastes and petroleum hydrocarbons. We may incur joint and several, strict liability under applicable United States federal and state environmental laws in connection with releases of petroleum hydrocarbons and other hazardous substances at, on, under or from our leased or owned properties, some of which have been used for natural gas and oil exploration and production activities for a number of years, often by third parties not under our control. For our outside operated properties, we are dependent on the operator for operational and regulatory compliance, and could be subject to liabilities in the event of non-compliance. These properties and the wastes disposed thereon or therefrom could be subject to stringent and costly investigatory or remedial requirements under applicable laws, some of which are strict liability laws without regard to fault or the legality of the original conduct, including the CERCLA or the Superfund law, the RCRA, the Clean Water Act, the CAA, the OPA, and analogous state laws. Under any implementing regulations, we could be required to remove or remediate previously disposed wastes (including wastes disposed of or released by prior owners or operators) or property contamination (including groundwater contamination), to perform natural resource mitigation or restoration practices, or to perform remedial plugging or closure operations to prevent future contamination. In addition, it is not uncommon for neighboring landowners and other third parties to file claims for personal injury or property damage, including induced seismicity damage, allegedly caused by the release of petroleum hydrocarbons or other hazardous substances into the environment. As a result, we may incur substantial liabilities to third parties or governmental entities, which could reduce or eliminate funds available for exploration, development, or acquisitions, or cause us to incur losses.

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We maintain insurance against some, but not all, of these potential risks and losses. We have significant but limited coverage for sudden environmental damage. We do not believe that insurance coverage for the full potential liability that could be caused by environmental damage that occurs gradually over time is appropriate for us at this time given the nature of our operations and the nature and cost of such coverage. Further, we may elect not to obtain insurance coverage under circumstances where we believe that the cost of available insurance is excessive relative to the risks to which we are subject. Accordingly, we may be subject to liability or may lose substantial assets in the event of environmental or other damages. If a significant accident or other event occurs and is not fully covered by insurance, we could suffer a material loss.
Our operations are subject to complex laws and regulations, including environmental regulations that result in substantial costs and other risks.
Federal, state, tribal, and local authorities extensively regulate the oil and natural gas industry. Legislation and regulations affecting the industry are under constant review for amendment or expansion, raising the possibility of changes that may become more stringent and, as a result, may affect, among other things, the pricing or marketing of crude oil, natural gas, and NGL production. Noncompliance with statutes and regulations and more vigorous enforcement of such statutes and regulations by regulatory agencies may lead to substantial administrative, civil, and criminal penalties, including the assessment of natural resource damages, the imposition of significant investigatory and remedial obligations and may also result in the suspension or termination of our operations. The overall regulatory burden on the industry increases the cost to place, design, drill, complete, install, operate, and abandon wells and related facilities and, in turn, decreases profitability.
Governmental authorities regulate various aspects of drilling for and the production of crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs, including the permit and bonding requirements of drilling wells, the spacing of wells, the unitization or pooling of interests in crude oil and natural gas properties, rights-of-way and easements, environmental matters, occupational health and safety, the sharing of markets, production limitations, plugging, abandonment, and restoration standards, oil and gas operations, and restoration. Public interest in environmental protection has increased in recent years, and environmental organizations have opposed, with some success, certain projects. Under certain circumstances, regulatory authorities may deny a proposed permit or right-of-way grant or impose conditions of approval to mitigate potential environmental impacts, which could, in either case, negatively affect our ability to explore or develop certain properties. Federal authorities also may require any of our ongoing or planned operations on federal leases to be delayed, suspended, or terminated. Any such delay, suspension, or termination could have a materially adverse effect on our operations.
Our operations are also subject to complex and constantly changing environmental laws and regulations adopted by federal, state, tribal and local governmental authorities in jurisdictions where we are engaged in exploration or production operations. New laws or regulations, or changes to current requirements, including the designation of previously unprotected wildlife or plant species as threatened or endangered in areas we operate in, could result in material costs or claims with respect to properties we own or have owned. We will continue to be subject to uncertainty associated with new regulatory interpretations and inconsistent interpretations between state and federal agencies. Under existing or future environmental laws and regulations, we could incur significant liability, including joint and several, strict liability under federal, state, and tribal environmental laws for noise emissions and for discharges of crude oil, natural gas, and associated liquids or other pollutants into the air, soil, surface water, or groundwater. We could be required to spend substantial amounts on investigations, litigation, and remediation for these emissions and discharges and other compliance issues. Any unpermitted release of petroleum or other pollutants from our operations could result not only in cleanup costs, but also natural resources, real or personal property and other damages and civil and criminal liabilities. The listing of additional wildlife or plant species as federally endangered or threatened could result in limitations on exploration and production activities in certain locations. Existing environmental laws or regulations, as currently interpreted or enforced, or as they may be interpreted, enforced, or altered in the future, may have a materially adverse effect on us.


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Seasonal weather conditions and lease stipulations adversely affect our ability to conduct drilling activities in some of the areas where we operate.

Operations in certain of our regions, such as our Rocky Mountain and Permian regions, are adversely affected by seasonal weather conditions and lease stipulations designed to protect various wildlife or plant species. In certain areas on federal lands, drilling and other oil and natural gas activities can only be conducted during limited times of the year. This limits our ability to operate in those areas and can intensify competition during those times for drilling rigs, oil field equipment, services, supplies and qualified personnel, which may lead to periodic shortages. Wildlife seasonal restrictions may limit access to federal leases or across federal lands. Possible restrictions may include seasonal restrictions in greater sage-grouse habitat during breeding and nesting seasons, within a certain distance of active raptor nests during fledging, and in big game winter or parturition ranges during winter or calving seasons. These constraints and the resulting shortages or high costs could delay our operations and materially increase our operating and capital costs.
Proposed federal and state legislative and regulatory initiatives relating to hydraulic fracturing could result in increased costs and additional operating restrictions or delays.

Hydraulic fracturing is a common practice in the oil and gas industry used to stimulate the production of oil, natural gas, and NGLs from dense subsurface rock formations. We routinely apply hydraulic fracturing techniques to many of our oil and natural gas properties, including our unconventional resource plays in the Eagle Ford shale of south Texas, the Bakken/Three Forks formations in North Dakota, and the Wolfcamp and Spraberry shale intervals in the Permian Basin. Hydraulic fracturing involves injecting water, sand and certain chemicals under pressure to fracture the hydrocarbon-bearing rock formation to allow the flow of hydrocarbons into the wellbore. The process is typically regulated by state oil and natural gas commissions. However, the EPA and other federal agencies have asserted federal regulatory authority over certain aspects of hydraulic fracturing activities, as outlined below.

The EPA has authority to regulate underground injections that contain diesel in the fluid system under the Safe Drinking Water Act (the “SDWA”). The EPA has published an interpretive memorandum and permitting guidance related to regulation of fracturing fluids using this regulatory authority. The EPA announced plans to update its chloride water quality criteria for the protection of aquatic life under the federal Water Pollution Control Act (the “Clean Water Act”). Flowback and produced water from the hydraulic fracturing process contain total dissolved solids, including chlorides, and regulation of these fluids could be affected by the new criteria. The EPA has delayed issuing a draft criteria document until 2016. The EPA has also announced that it will develop pre-treatment standards for disposal of wastewater produced from shale gas operations through publicly owned treatment works. The regulations will be developed under the EPA’s Effluent Guidelines Program under the authority of the Clean Water Act. On April 7, 2015, the EPA published a proposed rule requiring federal pre-treatment standards for wastewater generated during the hydraulic fracturing process in the Federal Register. If adopted, the new pre-treatment rules will require shale gas operations to pre-treat wastewater before transferring it to publicly-owned treatment facilities. The public comment period for the proposed rule ended on July 17, 2015. If the EPA implements further regulations of hydraulic fracturing, we may incur additional costs to comply with such requirements that may be significant in nature, experience delays or curtailment in the pursuit of exploration, development, or production activities, and could even be prohibited from drilling and/or completing certain wells.

Certain states in which we operate, including Texas and Wyoming, have adopted, and other states are considering adopting, regulations that could impose more stringent permitting, public disclosure, waste disposal, and well construction requirements on hydraulic fracturing operations or otherwise seek to ban fracturing activities altogether. In addition to state laws, local land use restrictions, such as city ordinances, may restrict or prohibit the performance of drilling in general and/or hydraulic fracturing in particular. Recently, several municipalities have passed or proposed zoning ordinances that ban or strictly regulate hydraulic fracturing within city boundaries, setting the stage for challenges by state regulators and third-parties. Similar events and processes are playing out in several cities, counties, and townships across the United States. In the event state, local, or municipal legal

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restrictions are adopted in areas where we are currently conducting, or in the future plan to conduct, operations, we may incur additional costs to comply with such requirements that may be significant in nature, experience delays or curtailment in the pursuit of exploration, development, or production activities, and could even be prohibited from drilling and/or completing certain wells.

Several federal governmental agencies are actively involved in studies or reviews that focus on environmental aspects and impacts of hydraulic fracturing practices. A number of federal agencies are analyzing, or have been requested to review, a variety of environmental issues associated with hydraulic fracturing. On June 4, 2015, the EPA issued a draft assessment of potential impacts to drinking water resources from hydraulic fracturing. The draft report did not find widespread impacts to drinking water from hydraulic fracturing. The EPA’s inspector general released a report on July 16, 2015 recommending increased EPA oversight of permit issuances as well as the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. The United States Department of Energy is also actively involved in research on hydraulic fracturing practices, including groundwater protection.

On March 26, 2015, the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) published a final rule governing hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands, including private surface lands with underlying federal minerals. The rule was scheduled to become effective on June 24, 2015, but was temporarily stayed by a federal court. The rule requires public disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands, confirmation that wells used in hydraulic fracturing operations meet certain construction standards, development of appropriate plans for managing flowback water that returns to the surface, heightened standards for interim storage of recovered waste fluids, and submission of detailed information to the BLM regarding the geology, depth and location of pre-existing wells. Although several states, tribes, and industry groups filed several pending lawsuits challenging the rule and the BLM’s authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing, the outcome of this litigation is uncertain. If the rule becomes effective, we expect to incur additional costs to comply with such requirements that may be significant in nature, and we could experience delays or even curtailment in the pursuit of hydraulic fracturing activities in certain wells on federal and Indian lands. The rule could also affect drilling units that include both private and federal mineral resources.

Legislation has been introduced before Congress to provide for federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing and to require disclosure of the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. If hydraulic fracturing becomes regulated at the federal level, our fracturing activities could become subject to additional permit or disclosure requirements, associated permitting delays, operational restrictions, litigation risk, and potential cost increases. Additionally, certain members of Congress have called upon the United States Government Accountability Office to investigate how hydraulic fracturing might adversely affect water resources, the SEC to investigate the natural gas industry and any possible misleading of investors or the public regarding the economic feasibility of pursuing natural gas deposits in shales by means of hydraulic fracturing, and the United States Energy Information Administration to provide a better understanding of that agency’s estimates regarding natural gas reserves, including reserves from shale formations, as well as uncertainties associated with those estimates. The United States Geological Survey Offices of Energy Resources Program, Water Resources and Natural Hazards and Environmental Health Offices also have ongoing research projects on hydraulic fracturing. These ongoing studies, depending on their course and outcomes, could spur initiatives to further regulate hydraulic fracturing under the SDWA or other regulatory processes.

Further, on August 16, 2012, the EPA issued final rules subjecting all new and modified oil and gas operations (production, processing, transmission, storage, and distribution) to regulation under the New Source Performance Standards (“NSPS”) and all existing and new operations to the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (“NESHAP”) programs. The EPA rules also include NSPS standards for completions of hydraulically fractured gas wells. These standards require the use of reduced emission completion (“REC”) techniques developed in the EPA’s Natural Gas STAR program along with the pit flaring of gas not sent to the gathering line beginning in January 2015. The standards are applicable to newly drilled and fractured wells as well as existing wells that are refractured. Further, the regulations under NESHAP include maximum achievable control technology (“MACT”) standards for those glycol dehydrators and certain storage vessels at major sources of

45


hazardous air pollutants not currently subject to MACT standards. These rules will require additional control equipment, changes to procedure, and extensive monitoring and reporting. The EPA stated in January 2013, however, that it intends to reconsider portions of the final rule. On September 23, 2013, the EPA published new standards for storage tanks subject to the NSPS. In December 2014, the EPA finalized additional updates to the 2012 NSPS. The amendments clarified stages for flowback and the point at which green completion equipment is required and updated requirements for storage tanks and leak detection requirements for processing plants. The EPA has stated that it continues to review other issues raised in petitions for reconsideration.

Increased regulation and attention given to the hydraulic fracturing process could lead to greater opposition, including litigation, to oil and gas production activities using hydraulic fracturing techniques. Disclosure of chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process could make it easier for third parties opposing such activities to pursue legal proceedings against producers and service providers based on allegations that specific chemicals used in the fracturing process could adversely affect human health or the environment, including groundwater. Over the past year, several court cases have addressed aspects of hydraulic fracturing. In a case that could delay operations on public lands, a court in California held that the BLM did not adequately consider the impact of hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling before issuing leases. Courts in New York and Colorado reduced the level of evidence required before a court will agree to consider alleged damage claims from hydraulic fracturing by property owners. Litigation resulting in financial compensation for damages linked to hydraulic fracturing, including damages from induced seismicity, could spur future litigation and bring increased attention to the practice of hydraulic fracturing. Judicial decisions could also lead to increased regulation, permitting requirements, enforcement actions, and penalties. Additional legislation or regulation could also lead to operational delays or restrictions or increased costs in the exploration for, and production of, oil, natural gas, and associated liquids, including from the development of shale plays, or could make it more difficult to perform hydraulic fracturing. The adoption of additional federal, state, or local laws, or the implementation of new regulations, regarding hydraulic fracturing could potentially cause a decrease in the completion of new oil and gas wells, or an increase in compliance costs and delays, which could adversely affect our financial position, results of operations, and cash flows.

Requirements to reduce gas flaring could have an adverse effect on our operations.

Wells in the Bakken and Three Forks formations in North Dakota, where we have significant operations, produce natural gas as well as crude oil. Constraints in the current gas gathering and processing network in certain areas have resulted in some of that natural gas being flared instead of gathered, processed and sold. In June 2014, the North Dakota Industrial Commission, North Dakota’s chief energy regulator, adopted a policy to reduce the volume of natural gas flared from oil wells in the Bakken and Three Forks formations. The Commission is requiring operators to develop gas capture plans that describe how much natural gas is expected to be produced, how it will be delivered to a processor and where it will be processed. Production caps or penalties will be imposed on certain wells that cannot meet the capture goals. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has also indicated its intent to pursue a rulemaking related to further controls on the venting and flaring of natural gas on BLM land. A proposed rule has been sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget. These capture requirements, and any similar future obligations in North Dakota or our other locations, may increase our operational costs or restrict our production, which could materially and adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our ability to produce crude oil, natural gas, and associated liquids economically and in commercial quantities could be impaired if we are unable to acquire adequate supplies of water for our drilling operations and/or completions or are unable to dispose of or recycle the water we use at a reasonable cost and in accordance with applicable environmental rules.
The hydraulic fracturing process on which we and others in our industry depend to complete wells that will produce commercial quantities of crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs requires the use and disposal of significant quantities of water.

46


Our inability to secure sufficient amounts of water, or to dispose of or recycle the water used in our operations, could adversely impact our operations. Moreover, the imposition of new environmental initiatives and regulations could include restrictions on our ability to conduct certain operations such as hydraulic fracturing or disposal of wastes, including, but not limited to, produced water, drilling fluids, and other wastes associated with the exploration, development, or production of crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs.
Compliance with environmental regulations and permit requirements governing the withdrawal, storage, and use of surface water or groundwater necessary for hydraulic fracturing of wells may increase our operating costs and cause delays, interruptions, or termination of our operations, the extent of which cannot be predicted, all of which could have an adverse effect on our operations and financial condition.
Certain United States federal income tax deductions currently available with respect to oil and natural gas exploration and production may be eliminated as a result of future legislation.

Recent federal budget proposals, if enacted into law, would eliminate certain key United States federal income tax incentives currently available to oil and natural gas exploration and production companies. These potential changes include:

the elimination of current deductions for intangible drilling and development costs;
the repeal of the percentage depletion allowance for oil and natural gas properties;
the elimination of the deduction for certain domestic production activities; and
an extension of the amortization period for certain geological and geophysical expenditures.
It is unclear when or if these or similar changes will be enacted. The passage of legislation enacting these or similar changes in federal income tax laws could eliminate or postpone certain tax deductions that are currently available with respect to oil and natural gas exploration and development. Any such changes could have an adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
Legislative and regulatory initiatives related to global warming and climate change could have an adverse effect on our operations and the demand for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs.
In December 2009, the EPA made a finding that emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other “greenhouse gases” endanger public health and the environment because emissions of such gases contribute to warming of the earth’s atmosphere and other climatic changes. Based on this finding, the EPA has over the past four years adopted and implemented a comprehensive suite of regulations to restrict and otherwise regulate emissions of greenhouse gases under existing provisions of the CAA. In particular, the EPA has adopted two sets of rules regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the CAA. One rule requires a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, and the other regulates permitting and greenhouse gas emissions from certain large stationary sources. These EPA regulatory actions have been challenged by various industry groups, initially in the D.C. Circuit, which in 2012 ruled in favor of the EPA in all respects. However, in June 2014, the United States Supreme Court reversed the D.C. Circuit and struck down the EPA’s greenhouse gas permitting rules to the extent they impose a requirement to obtain a permit based solely on emissions of greenhouse gases. However, large sources of air pollutants other than greenhouse gases would still be required to implement the best available capture technology for greenhouse gases. The EPA has also adopted reporting rules for greenhouse gas emissions from specified greenhouse gas emission sources in the United States, including petroleum refineries as well as certain onshore oil and natural gas extraction and production facilities.

Several other kinds of cases on greenhouse gases have been heard by the courts in recent years. While courts have generally declined to assign direct liability for climate change to large sources of greenhouse gas emissions, some have required increased scrutiny of such emissions by federal agencies and permitting authorities.

47


There is a continuing risk of claims being filed against companies that have significant greenhouse gas emissions, and new claims for damages and increased government scrutiny will likely continue.  Such cases often seek to challenge air emissions permits that greenhouse gas emitters apply for, seek to force emitters to reduce their emissions, or seek damages for alleged climate change impacts to the environment, people, and property. Any court rulings, laws or regulations that restrict or require reduced emissions of greenhouse gases could lead to increased operating and compliance costs, and could have an adverse effect on demand for the oil and natural gas that we produce.

The United States Congress has from time to time considered adopting legislation to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and almost one-half of the states have already taken measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, primarily through the planned development of greenhouse gas emission inventories and/or regional greenhouse gas “cap and trade” programs. Most of these cap and trade programs work by requiring major sources of emissions, such as electric power plants, or major producers of fuels, such as refineries and gas processing plants, to acquire and surrender emission allowances. The number of allowances available for purchase is reduced each year in an effort to achieve the overall greenhouse gas emission reduction goal. Recently, the Congressional Budget Office provided Congress with a study on the potential effects on the United States economy of a tax on greenhouse gas emissions. While “carbon tax” legislation has been introduced in the Senate, the prospects for passage of such legislation are highly uncertain at this time.

On June 25, 2013, President Obama outlined plans to address climate change through a variety of executive actions, including reduction of methane emissions from oil and gas production and processing operations as well as pipelines and coal mines (the “Climate Plan”). The President’s Climate Plan, along with recent regulatory initiatives and ongoing litigation filed by states and environmental groups, signal a new focus on methane emissions, which could pose substantial regulatory risk to our operations. In March 2014, President Obama released a strategy to reduce methane emissions, which directed the EPA to consider additional regulations to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. On January 14, 2015, the Obama Administration announced additional steps to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent by 2025. These actions include a commitment from the EPA to issue new source performance standards for methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. Pursuant to this commitment, in September 2015, the EPA proposed emission standards for methane and VOC for sources in the oil and gas sector constructed or modified after September 1, 2015. The proposed rules expand the 2012 NSPS for VOC emissions from the oil and gas sector to include methane emissions. For sources not affected by the 2012 NSPS, the proposed rule imposes both VOC and methane standards. In particular, the proposal would require methane reductions from centrifugal and reciprocating compressors, pneumatic pumps, fugitive emissions from well sites and compressor stations and equipment leaks at natural gas processing plants. The proposal does not extend to existing sources and EPA has not indicated when it will propose existing source standards. Additionally, in January 2016, the BLM proposed additional rules designed to reduce methane venting and flaring from production wells, pneumatic controllers and storage tanks on federal and tribal lands, which are expected to be finalized in 2016. The focus on legislating methane also could eventually result in:

requirements for methane emission reductions from existing oil and gas equipment;

increased scrutiny for sources emitting high levels of methane, including during permitting processes;

analysis, regulation and reduction of methane emissions as a requirement for project approval; and

actions taken by one agency for a specific industry establishing precedents for other agencies and
industry sectors.

In relation to the Climate Plan, both assumed Global Warming Potential (“GWP”) and assumed social costs associated with methane and other greenhouse gas emissions have been finalized, including a 20% increase in the GWP of methane. Changes to these measurement tools could adversely impact permitting requirements,

48


application of agencies’ existing regulations for source categories with high methane emissions, and determinations of whether a source qualifies for regulation under the CAA.
Finally, it should be noted that some scientists have predicted that increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere may produce climate changes that have significant physical effects, such as increased frequency and severity of storms, droughts, and floods and other climatic events. Some scientists refute these predictions. However, President Obama’s Climate Plan emphasizes preparation for such events. If such effects were to occur, our operations could be adversely affected. Potential adverse effects could include disruption of our production activities, including, for example, damages to our facilities from flooding or increases in our costs of operation or reductions in the efficiency of our operations, as well as potentially increased costs for insurance coverage in the aftermath of such events. Significant physical effects of climate change could also have an indirect effect on our financing and operations by disrupting the transportation or process-related services provided by midstream companies, service companies or suppliers with whom we have a business relationship. We may not be able to recover through insurance some or any of the damages, losses or costs that may result from potential physical effects of climate change. Federal regulations or policy changes regarding climate change preparation requirements could also impact our costs and planning requirements.
Our ability to sell crude oil, natural gas and NGLs, and/or receive market prices for our production, may be adversely affected by constraints on gathering systems, processing facilities, pipelines and other transportation systems owned or operated by others or by other interruptions.
The marketability of our crude oil, natural gas, and NGL production depends in part on the availability, proximity, and capacity of gathering systems, processing facilities, pipelines, and other transportation systems owned or operated by third parties. Any significant interruption in service from, damage to, or lack of available capacity in these systems and facilities can result in the shutting-in of producing wells, the delay or discontinuance of development plans for our properties, or lower price realizations. Although we have some contractual control over the processing and transportation of our operated production, material changes in these business relationships could materially affect our operations. Federal and state regulation of crude oil, natural gas, and NGL production and transportation, tax and energy policies, changes in supply and demand, pipeline pressures, damage to or destruction of pipelines, infrastructure or capacity constraints, and general economic conditions could adversely affect our ability to produce, gather, process, and transport crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs.
In particular, if drilling in the Eagle Ford shale and Bakken/Three Forks resource plays continue to be successful, the amount of crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs being produced by us and others could exceed the capacity of, and result in strains on, the various gathering and transportation systems, pipelines, processing facilities, and other infrastructure available in these areas. It will be necessary for additional infrastructure, pipelines, gathering and transportation systems and processing facilities to be expanded, built or developed to accommodate anticipated production from these areas. Because of the current commodity price environment, certain processing, pipeline, and other gathering or transportation projects that might be, or are being, considered for these areas may not be developed timely or at all due to lack of financing or other constraints. Capital and other constraints could also limit our ability to build or access intrastate gathering and transportation systems necessary to transport our production to interstate pipelines or other points of sale or delivery. In such event, we might have to delay or discontinue development activities or shut in our wells to wait for sufficient infrastructure development or capacity expansion and/or sell production at significantly lower prices, which would adversely affect our results of operations and cash flows. In addition, the operations of the third parties on whom we rely for gathering and transportation services are subject to complex and stringent laws and regulations, which require obtaining and maintaining numerous permits, approvals, and certifications from various federal, state, and local government authorities. These third parties may incur substantial costs in order to comply with existing laws and regulations. If existing laws and regulations governing such third-party services are revised or reinterpreted, or if new laws and regulations become applicable to their operations, these changes may affect the costs we pay for such services. Similarly, a failure to comply with such laws and regulations by the third parties on whom we rely could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

49


A portion of our production in any region may be interrupted, or shut in, from time to time for numerous reasons, including as a result of weather conditions, accidents, loss of pipeline, gathering, processing or transportation system access or capacity, field labor issues or strikes, or we might voluntarily curtail production in response to market conditions. If a substantial amount of our production is interrupted at the same time, it could temporarily and adversely affect our cash flows and results of operations.
New technologies may cause our current exploration and drilling methods to become obsolete.
The oil and gas industry is subject to rapid and significant advancements in technology, including the introduction of new products and services using new technologies. As competitors use or develop new technologies, we may be placed at a competitive disadvantage, and competitive pressures may force us to implement new technologies at a substantial cost. In addition, competitors may have greater financial, technical, and personnel resources that allow them to enjoy technological advantages and may in the future allow them to implement new technologies before we can. One or more of the technologies we currently use or implement in the future may become obsolete. We cannot be certain we will be able to implement technologies on a timely basis or at a cost that is acceptable to us. If we are unable to maintain technological advancements consistent with industry standards, our operations and financial condition may be adversely affected.
Our business could be negatively impacted by security threats, including cybersecurity threats, terrorism, armed conflict, and other disruptions.
As a crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs producer, we face various security threats, including cybersecurity threats to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information or to render data or systems unusable; threats to the safety of our employees; threats to the security of our facilities and infrastructure or third party facilities and infrastructure, such as processing plants and pipelines; and threats from terrorist acts. Although we utilize various procedures and controls to monitor these threats and mitigate our exposure to such threats, there can be no assurance that these procedures and controls will be sufficient in preventing security threats from materializing. If any of these events were to materialize, they could lead to losses of sensitive information, critical infrastructure, personnel or capabilities essential to our operations and could have a material adverse effect on our reputation, financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.
Cybersecurity attacks in particular are evolving and include, but are not limited to, malicious software, attempts to gain unauthorized access to data, and other electronic security breaches that could lead to disruptions in critical systems, unauthorized release of confidential or otherwise protected information, and corruption of data. These events could damage our reputation and lead to financial losses from remedial actions, loss of business or potential liability.

The threat of terrorism and the impact of military and other action have caused instability in world financial markets and could lead to increased volatility in prices for crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs, all of which could adversely affect the markets for our operations. Energy assets might be specific targets of terrorist attacks. These developments have subjected our operations to increased risk and, depending on their occurrence and ultimate magnitude, could have a material adverse effect on our business.


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Risks Related to Our Common Stock

The price of our common stock may fluctuate significantly, which may result in losses for investors.
From January 1, 2015, to February 17, 2016, the low and high intraday trading prices per share of our common stock as reported by the New York Stock Exchange ranged from a low of $8.38 per share in January 2016 to a high of $60.28 per share in May 2015. We expect our stock to continue to be subject to fluctuations as a result of a variety of factors, including factors beyond our control. These factors include:
changes in crude oil, natural gas, or NGL prices;
variations in drilling, recompletion, and operating activity;
changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;
changes in market valuations of comparable companies;
additions or departures of key personnel;
future sales of our common stock; and
changes in the national and global economic outlook.
We may not meet the expectations of our stockholders and/or of securities analysts at some time in the future, and our stock price could decline as a result.
Our certificate of incorporation and by-laws have provisions that discourage corporate takeovers and could prevent stockholders from receiving a takeover premium on their investment, which could adversely affect the price of our common stock.
Delaware corporate law and our certificate of incorporation and by-laws contain provisions that may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control of us or our management. These provisions, among other things, provide for non-cumulative voting in the election of members of the Board of Directors and impose procedural requirements on stockholders who wish to make nominations for the election of directors or propose other actions at stockholder meetings. These provisions, alone or in combination with each other, may discourage transactions involving actual or potential changes of control, including transactions that otherwise could involve payment of a premium over prevailing market prices to stockholders for their common stock. As a result, these provisions could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire us, even if doing so would benefit our stockholders, which may limit the price investors are willing to pay in the future for shares of our common stock.
Shares eligible for future sale may cause the market price of our common stock to drop significantly, even if our business is doing well.
The potential for sales of substantial amounts of our common stock in the public market may have a materially adverse effect on our stock price. As of February 17, 2016, 68,037,643 shares of our common stock were freely tradable without substantial restriction or the requirement of future registration under the Securities Act. In addition, restricted stock units (“RSUs”) providing for the issuance of up to a total of 520,725 shares of our common stock and 716,129 performance share units (“PSUs”) were outstanding. The PSUs represent the right to receive, upon settlement of the PSUs after the completion of a three-year performance period, a number of shares of our common stock that may be from zero to two times the number of PSUs granted, depending on the extent to which the underlying performance criteria have been achieved and the extent to which the PSUs have vested. As of February 17, 2016, there were 68,077,546 shares of our common stock outstanding.

51


We may not always pay dividends on our common stock.
Payment of future dividends remains at the discretion of our Board of Directors, and will continue to depend on our earnings, capital requirements, financial condition, and other factors. In addition, the payment of dividends is subject to a covenant in our credit facility limiting our annual cash dividends to no more than $50.0 million, and to covenants in the indentures for our Senior Notes that limit our ability to pay dividends beyond a certain amount. Our Board of Directors may determine in the future to reduce the current semi-annual dividend rate of $0.05 per share, or discontinue the payment of dividends altogether.
ITEM 1B.    UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
We have no unresolved comments from the SEC staff regarding our periodic or current reports under the Exchange Act.
ITEM 3.    LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
From time to time, we may be involved in litigation relating to claims arising out of our business and operations in the normal course of business. As of the filing date of this report, no legal proceedings are pending against us that we believe individually or collectively could have a materially adverse effect upon our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
ITEM 4.    MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES
These disclosures are not applicable to us.

52


PART II

ITEM 5.
MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
Market Information. Our common stock is currently traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “SM.” The following table presents the range of high and low intraday sales prices per share for the indicated quarterly periods in 2015 and 2014, as reported by the New York Stock Exchange:
Quarter Ended
 
High
 
Low
December 31, 2015
 
$
42.23

 
$
18.06

September 30, 2015
 
$
45.98

 
$
18.21

June 30, 2015
 
$
60.28

 
$
43.70

March 31, 2015
 
$
53.31

 
$
31.01

 
 
 
 
 
December 31, 2014
 
$
79.89

 
$
29.41

September 30, 2014
 
$
90.38

 
$
74.57

June 30, 2014
 
$
85.39

 
$
71.00

March 31, 2014
 
$
90.22

 
$
69.03


PERFORMANCE GRAPH
The following performance graph compares the cumulative return on our common stock, for the period beginning December 31, 2010, and ending on December 31, 2015, with the cumulative total returns of the Dow Jones U.S. Exploration and Production Index, and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index.
COMPARISON OF 5-YEAR CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURNS
The preceding information under the caption Performance Graph shall be deemed to be furnished, but not filed with the SEC.

Holders. As of February 17, 2016, the number of record holders of our common stock was 71.  Based upon inquiry, management believes that the number of beneficial owners of our common stock is approximately 21,200.

53


Dividends. We have paid cash dividends to our stockholders every year since 1940. Annual dividends of $0.05 per share were paid in each of the years 1998 through 2004. Annual dividends of $0.10 per share were paid in each of the years 2005 through 2015. We expect our practice of paying dividends on our common stock to continue, although the payment and amount of future dividends will continue to depend on our earnings, cash flow, capital requirements, financial condition, and other factors, including the discretion of our Board of Directors. In addition, the payment of dividends is subject to covenants in our credit facility that limit our annual dividend payment to no more than $50.0 million per year. We are also subject to certain covenants under our Senior Notes that restrict certain payments, including dividends; however, the first $6.5 million of dividends paid each year are not restricted by this covenant. Based on our current performance, we do not anticipate that these covenants will restrict future annual dividend payments in amounts not to exceed $0.10 per share of common stock. Dividends are currently paid on a semi-annual basis. Dividends paid totaled $6.8 million and $6.7 million for the years ended December 31, 2015, and December 31, 2014, respectively.
Restricted Shares. We have no restricted shares outstanding as of December 31, 2015, aside from Rule 144 restrictions on shares held by insiders and shares issued to members of the Board of Directors under our Equity Incentive Compensation Plan (“Equity Plan”).
Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers. The following table provides information about purchases by the Company and any affiliated purchaser (as defined in Rule 10b-18(a)(3) under the Exchange Act) during the indicated quarters and year ended December 31, 2015, of shares of the Company’s common stock, which is the sole class of equity securities registered by the Company pursuant to Section 12 of the Exchange Act.
ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased(1)
 
Weighted Average Price Paid per Share
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Program
 
Maximum Number of Shares that May Yet be Purchased Under the Program(2)
January 1, 2015 -
March 31, 2015
465

 
$
52.34

 

 
3,072,184

April 1, 2015 -
June 30, 2015
98

 
$
56.22

 

 
3,072,184

July 1, 2015 -
September 30, 2015
186,177

 
$
45.50

 

 
3,072,184

October 1, 2015 -
October 31, 2015
4,988

 
$
35.39

 

 
3,072,184

November 1, 2015 -
November 30, 2015

 
$

 

 
3,072,184

December 1, 2015 -
December 31, 2015

 
$

 

 
3,072,184

Total October 1, 2015 -
December 31, 2015
4,988

 
$
35.39

 

 
3,072,184

Total
191,728

 
$
45.27

 

 
3,072,184

    ____________________________________________
(1)
All shares purchased in 2015 were purchased by us to offset grantee tax withholding obligations that arose upon the delivery of outstanding shares underlying RSUs and PSUs delivered under the terms of grants under the Equity Plan.
(2)
In July 2006, our Board of Directors approved an increase in the number of shares that may be repurchased under the original August 1998 authorization to 6,000,000 as of the effective date of the resolution. Accordingly, as of the date of this filing, subject to the approval of our Board of Directors, we may repurchase up to 3,072,184 shares of common stock on a prospective basis. The shares may be repurchased from time to time in open market transactions or privately negotiated transactions, subject to market conditions and other factors, including certain provisions of our credit facility, the indentures governing our Senior Notes and compliance with securities laws. Stock repurchases may be funded with

54


existing cash balances, internal cash flow, or borrowings under our credit facility. The stock repurchase program may be suspended or discontinued at any time. Please refer to Dividends above for a description of our dividend limitations.

55


ITEM 6.    SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA
The following table sets forth selected supplemental financial and operating data as of the dates and periods indicated. The financial data for each of the five years presented were derived from our consolidated financial statements. The following data should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in Part II, Item 7 of this report, which includes a discussion of factors materially affecting the comparability of the information presented, and in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements included in this report.
 
Years Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
 
(in millions, except per share data)
Total operating revenues and other income
$
1,557.0

 
$
2,522.3

 
$
2,293.4

 
$
1,505.1

 
$
1,603.3

Net income (loss)
$
(447.7
)
 
$
666.1

 
$
170.9

 
$
(54.2
)
 
$
215.4

Net income (loss) per share:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
$
(6.61
)
 
$
9.91

 
$
2.57

 
$
(0.83
)
 
$
3.38

Diluted
$
(6.61
)
 
$
9.79

 
$
2.51

 
$
(0.83
)
 
$
3.19

Total assets at year-end (1)
$
5,621.6

 
$
6,483.1

 
$
4,678.1

 
$
4,179.0

 
$
3,784.0

Long-term debt:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Revolving credit facility
$
202.0

 
$
166.0

 
$

 
$
340.0

 
$

3.50% Senior Convertible Notes, net of debt discount (1)
$

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
284.7

Senior Notes, net of unamortized deferred financing costs (1)
$
2,316.0

 
$
2,166.4

 
$
1,572.9

 
$
1,079.5

 
$
685.4

Cash dividends declared and paid per common share
$
0.10

 
$
0.10

 
$
0.10

 
$
0.10

 
$
0.10

____________________________________________
(1) Prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current period presentation on the accompanying financial statements. Please refer to the caption Recently Issued Accounting Standards in Note 1 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies for additional discussion of the change in presentation of debt issuance costs on the accompanying balance sheets.






56


Supplemental Selected Financial and Operations Data
 
 
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
2012
 
2011
Balance Sheet Data (in millions)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total working capital (deficit)
$
216.5

 
$
(39.6
)
 
$
8.4

 
$
(201.0
)
 
$
(42.6
)
Total stockholders’ equity
$
1,852.4

 
$
2,286.7

 
$
1,606.8

 
$
1,414.5

 
$
1,462.9

Weighted-average common shares outstanding (in thousands)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Basic
67,723

 
67,230

 
66,615

 
65,138

 
63,755

Diluted
67,723

 
68,044

 
67,998

 
65,138

 
67,564

Reserves
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oil (MMBbl)
145.3

 
169.7

 
126.6

 
92.2

 
71.7

Gas (Bcf)
1,264.0

 
1,466.5

 
1,189.3

 
833.4

 
664.0

 NGLs (MMBbl)
115.4

 
133.5

 
103.9

 
62.3

 
27.5

MMBOE
471.3

 
547.7

 
428.7

 
293.4

 
209.9

Production and Operations (in millions)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oil, gas, and NGL production revenue
$
1,499.9

 
$
2,481.5

 
$
2,199.6

 
$
1,473.9

 
$
1,332.4

Oil, gas, and NGL production expense
$
723.6

 
$
715.9

 
$
597.0

 
$
391.9

 
$
290.1

Depletion, depreciation, amortization, and asset retirement obligation liability accretion
$
921.0

 
$
767.5

 
$
822.9

 
$
727.9

 
$
511.1

General and administrative
$
157.7

 
$
167.1

 
$
149.6

 
$
119.8

 
$
118.5

Production Volumes
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oil (MMBbl)
19.2

 
16.7

 
13.9

 
10.4

 
8.1

Gas (Bcf)
173.6

 
152.9

 
149.3

 
120.0

 
100.3

NGLs (MMBbl)
16.1

 
13.0

 
9.5

 
6.1

 
3.5

MMBOE
64.2

 
55.1

 
48.3

 
36.5

 
28.3

Realized price
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Oil (per Bbl)
$
41.49

 
$
80.97

 
$
91.19

 
$
85.45

 
$
88.23

Gas (per Mcf)
$
2.57

 
$
4.58

 
$
3.93

 
$
2.98

 
$
4.32

NGLs (per Bbl)
$
15.92

 
$
33.34

 
$
35.95

 
$
37.61

 
$
53.32

Expense per BOE
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lease operating expense
$
3.73

 
$
4.28

 
$
4.49

 
$
4.54

 
$
4.97

Transportation costs
$
6.02

 
$
6.11

 
$
5.34

 
$
3.81

 
$
3.05

Production taxes
$
1.13

 
$
2.13

 
$
2.19

 
$
2.00

 
$
1.90

Ad valorem tax expense
$
0.39

 
$
0.46

 
$
0.33

 
$
0.39

 
$
0.33

Depletion, depreciation, amortization, and asset retirement obligation liability accretion
$
14.34

 
$
13.92

 
$
17.02

 
$
19.95

 
$
18.07

General and administrative
$
2.46

 
$
3.03

 
$
3.09

 
$
3.28

 
$
4.19

Statement of Cash Flow Data (in millions)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Provided by operating activities
$
978.4

 
$
1,456.6

 
$
1,338.5

 
$
922.0

 
$
760.5

Used in investing activities
$
(1,144.6
)
 
$
(2,478.7
)
 
$
(1,192.9
)
 
$
(1,457.3
)
 
$
(1,264.9
)
Provided by financing activities
$
166.2

 
$
740.0

 
$
130.7

 
$
422.1

 
$
618.5



57


ITEM 7.
MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
This discussion includes forward-looking statements. Please refer to Cautionary Information about Forward-Looking Statements in Part I, Items 1 and 2 of this report for important information about these types of statements.
Overview of the Company
General Overview
We are an independent energy company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of oil, gas, and NGLs in onshore North America. We currently have development positions in the Eagle Ford shale, Bakken/Three Forks and Permian Basin resource plays that are the focus of our capital investment program. We also have a smaller delineation and exploration program in the Powder River Basin. We have built a portfolio of onshore properties primarily through early entry into existing and emerging resource plays. This portfolio is comprised of properties with established production and reserves, prospective drilling opportunities, and unconventional resource prospects, which we believe provide for stable and predictable production and reserves growth.

Our strategic objective is to profitably build our ownership and operatorship of North American oil, gas, and NGL producing assets that have high operating margins and significant opportunities for additional economic investment. We pursue growth opportunities through both exploration and acquisitions, and we seek to maximize the value of our assets through industry leading technology application and outstanding operational execution. We focus on achieving high full-cycle economic returns on our investments and maintaining a simple, strong balance sheet through a conservative approach to leverage.

In 2015, we had the following financial and operational results:
We had record annual production for 2015. Our average daily production for 2015 was 52.7 MBbls of oil, 475.7 MMcf of gas, and 44.0 MBbls of NGLs, for an average daily equivalent production rate of 175.9 MBOE, compared with 151.1 MBOE in 2014, an increase of 16 percent year-over-year. Please refer to the caption Production Results below for additional discussion.
At year-end 2015, we had estimated proved reserves of 471.3 MMBOE, of which 55 percent were liquids (oil and NGLs) and 52 percent were characterized as proved developed. We added 160.6 MMBOE through our drilling program, the majority of which related to our activity in the Eagle Ford shale and the Bakken/Three Forks plays, and acquired 1.2 MMBOE. We had a positive performance revision of 47.3 MMBOE due to improved performance in our Eagle Ford shale and Bakken/Three Forks plays related to enhanced completions and reductions in operating expenses, which extended the economic lives of our wells. This upward revision was offset by a 116.5 MMBOE negative price revision due to the decline in commodity prices in 2015 and 79.4 MMBOE of proved undeveloped reserves removed due to the five-year rule. We divested of 25.4 MMBOE of proved reserves primarily in our Mid-Continent region. Our proved reserve life decreased to 7.3 years in 2015 compared to 9.9 years in 2014. Please refer to Reserves included in Part I, Items 1 and 2 of this report for additional discussion.
The standardized measure of discounted future net cash flows was $1.9 billion as of December 31, 2015, compared with $5.7 billion as of December 31, 2014. The standardized measure calculation is presented in the Supplemental Oil and Gas Information section located in Part II, Item 8 of this report.
We recorded a net loss of $447.7 million, or $6.61 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2015. This compares with net income of $666.1 million, or $9.79 per diluted share, for the year ended

58


December 31, 2014. The net loss in 2015 was driven largely by proved and unproved property impairments of $468.7 million and $78.6 million, respectively, as a result of the decline in commodity prices. Please refer to the caption Comparison of Financial Results and Trends between 2015 and 2014 and between 2014 and 2013 below for additional discussion regarding the components of net income (loss).
We had net cash flow provided by operating activities of $978.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2015, compared with $1.5 billion for the year ended December 31, 2014, which was a decrease of 33 percent year-over-year. Please refer to Analysis of cash flow changes between 2015 and 2014 and between 2014 and 2013 below for additional discussion.
Adjusted EBITDAX, a non-GAAP financial measure, for the year ended December 31, 2015, was $1.1 billion, compared with $1.6 billion for the same period in 2014. Please refer to Non-GAAP Financial Measures below for additional discussion, including our definition of adjusted EBITDAX and reconciliations of our net income (loss) and net cash provided by operating activities to adjusted EBITDAX.
Costs incurred for oil and gas property acquisition, exploration and development activities for the year ended December 31, 2015, totaled $1.4 billion. The majority of our drilling and completion costs incurred during this period were in our Eagle Ford shale and Bakken/Three Forks programs. Please refer to the caption Production Results below for the number of operated wells completed in these programs during 2015. Additionally, we built an inventory of wells drilled during 2015, which we expect to be completed in future years. Total costs incurred for the same period in 2014 totaled $2.7 billion, which included the acquisition of proved and unproved properties in our Gooseneck prospect area and in the Powder River Basin for approximately $561.6 million. Please refer to the caption Costs Incurred in Oil and Gas Producing Activities below for additional discussion.
Oil, Gas, and NGL Prices
Our financial condition and the results of our operations are significantly affected by the prices we receive for our oil, gas, and NGL production, which can fluctuate dramatically. We sell the majority of our gas under contracts using first-of-the-month index pricing, which means gas produced in a given month is sold at the first-of-the-month price regardless of the spot price on the day the gas is produced.  For assets where high BTU gas is sold at the wellhead, we also receive additional value for the higher energy content contained in the gas stream. Our NGL production is generally sold using contracts paying us a monthly average of the posted OPIS daily settlement prices, adjusted for processing, transportation, and location differentials. Our oil is sold using contracts paying us various industry posted prices, adjusted for basis differentials. We are paid the average of the daily settlement price for the respective posted prices for the period in which the product is sold, adjusted for quality, transportation, American Petroleum Institute (“API”) gravity, and location differentials. When we refer to realized oil, gas, and NGL prices below, the disclosed price represents the average price for the respective period, before the effects of derivative settlements, unless otherwise indicated.


59


The following table summarizes commodity price data, as well as the effects of derivative settlements as further discussed under the caption Derivative Activity below, for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014, and 2013:
 
For the Years Ended December 31,
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Crude Oil (per Bbl):
 
 
 
 
 
Average NYMEX price
$
48.68

 
$
93.03

 
$
97.99

Realized price, before the effect of derivative settlements
$
41.49

 
$
80.97

 
$
91.19

Effect of derivative settlements
$
18.85

 
$
1.71

 
$
(1.27
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Natural Gas:
 
 
 
 
 
Average NYMEX price (per MMBtu)
$
2.61

 
$
4.35

 
$
3.73

Realized price, before the effect of derivative settlements (per Mcf)
$
2.57

 
$
4.58

 
$
3.93

Effect of derivative settlements (per Mcf) (1)
$
0.71

 
$
(0.18
)
 
$
0.21

 
 
 
 
 
 
NGLs (per Bbl): (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average OPIS price
$
19.76

 
$
38.93

 
$
40.44

Realized price, before the effect of derivative settlements
$
15.92

 
$
33.34

 
$
35.95

Effect of derivative settlements
$
1.69

 
$
0.84

 
$
0.71

____________________________________________
(1)  
Natural gas derivative settlements for the years ended December 31, 2015, and 2014, include $15.3 million and $5.6 million, respectively, of early settlements of futures contracts as a result of divesting assets in our Mid-Continent region. These early settlements increased the effect of derivative settlements by $0.09 per Mcf and $0.04 per Mcf for the years ended December 31, 2015, and 2014, respectively.
(2)  
Average OPIS prices per barrel of NGL, historical or strip, are based on a product mix of 37% Ethane, 32% Propane, 6% Isobutane, 11% Normal Butane, and 14% Natural Gasoline for all periods presented. This product mix represents the industry standard composite barrel and does not necessarily represent our product mix for NGL production. Realized prices reflect our actual product mix.

While quoted NYMEX oil and gas and OPIS NGL prices are generally used as a basis for comparison within our industry, the prices we receive are affected by quality, energy content, location, and transportation differentials for these products.    
We expect future prices for oil, gas, and NGLs to continue to be volatile.  In addition to supply and demand fundamentals, as a global commodity, the price of oil will continue to be impacted by real or perceived geopolitical risks in oil producing regions of the world, particularly the Middle East. The relative strength of the U.S. dollar compared to other currencies also affects the price of oil. In late 2015, the U.S. lifted its ban on the export of crude oil, which we expect to provide potential for market expansion. Crude oil prices declined throughout 2015 due to slower global economic growth combined with excess global supply. We expect this imbalance between supply and demand to remain for the foreseeable future keeping crude oil prices under downward pressure and at levels below their five-year average. Gas prices also remain under downward pressure as supply exceeds demand, resulting in higher levels of gas in storage compared to the prior year and compared to the five-year average. Excess supply of ethane and propane with higher volumes in storage than historical averages resulted in a further drop in pricing for those products throughout 2015. In response to lower oil, gas, and NGL prices, industry participants significantly cut capital spending in 2015, with additional cuts expected in 2016. We expect the lower capital spending by industry participants to eventually result in a decrease in supply providing upside to commodity pricing for all products.

60


The following table summarizes 12-month strip prices for NYMEX WTI oil, NYMEX Henry Hub gas, and OPIS NGLs (same product mix as discussed under the table above) as of February 17, 2016, and December 31, 2015:
 
As of February 17, 2016
 
As of December 31, 2015
NYMEX WTI oil (per Bbl)