BreitBurn Energy Partners CFO, Vanguard Natural Resources CEO and EV Energy Partners COO Present at RBC Capital Markets MLP Conference - Conference Call Transcript

| About: EV Energy (EVEP)

EV Energy Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ:EVEP)

RBC Capital Markets Conference Call

November 17, 2011 5:00 PM ET


James G. Jackson – Executive VP and CFO – Breitburn Energy Partners L.P

Mark Houser – President & COO – EV Energy Partners, L.P.

Mark Castiglione - Vice President of Business Development – QR Energy, L.P

Scott Smith – President and CEO - Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC


Alright. I think we are at our last of the day. So this stands between us and happy hour. So we’ll try to get things moving here and we’ve got a good panel here, our first look now at the upstream MLPs. We’ve Jim Jackson from Breitburn Energy Partners; Mark Houser, President, Chief Operating Officer from EV Energy Partners; Mark Castiglione from QR Energy; and Scott Smith, from Vanguard Natural Resources.

So I’ll let Jim kick things off with Breitburn.

James G. Jackson – Executive VP and CFO – Breitburn Energy Partners L.P

Good afternoon, everyone hear me okay? All right. I appreciate everyone being here. TJ, thanks for hosting us and thanks for giving us a few minutes to talk about Breitburn. Under TJ’s direction he asked me to keep this brief. So let me get started by skipping that.

Quick overview of Breitburn. I won’t go through all these slides in detail, but Breitburn, like the other participants in the panel, is an upstream E&P MLP. Breitburn was actually started over 20 years by Hal Washburn and Randy Breitenbach. We subsequently took part of the business public in the E&P MLP format in the fall of 2006 and have grown pretty substantially since then. Originally we were all oil. Today we’re about 60% natural gas in terms of production, 40% oil. Those splits vary up and down as you can imagine based on our acquisition activity level, which has been pretty significant the last few years. We currently have right around 160 million Boe in Reserves, and that’s 71% natural gas, 29% oil. 83% of that’s proved developed consistent with the E&P MLP model. Our equity market cap is right around $1.1 billion and our total enterprise value is just under $2 billion.

We are spread out across the country. We have operations in California which is the Legacy business, Wyoming which is the next business we acquired about 10 years ago and then subsequently we have added Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and Florida to the base of operations. Very different footprint than some of the other E&P companies you see. These are nonetheless attractive places for us to be in business and we have a significant presence in each of these geographies.

We’ve grown significantly the acquisition since this is an A&D panel since going public. Again we were in two States at the IPO. We’re now diversified into six and we’ve expanded from just an oil platform to an oil and natural gas platform.

Let me touch on a few of our principal strategies. In terms of production growth, we’d like to grow the business organically in the low single digits on a year-over-year basis. That’s where we grew from 2009 to 2010. We are generally on that track from ’10 to ’11. Obviously with acquisition, those growth numbers are going to hopefully change pretty dramatically. But year-over-year if we can continue to grow the business organically in the low single-digits, that’s not a bad place for us to be.

We have significant financial flexibility today. All of the panel participants I think have grown pretty materially since having gone public. We currently have an $850 million borrowing base on our revolver and I think as all of us have grown we’ve increased our general access to the capital markets which has lent itself to better financial flexibility overall.

We are currently distributing at $1.74 per unit rate. We’ve increased distributions in each of the last six quarters and our strategy, like the balance of our peers, is acquisition oriented. So with a few $100 million of acquisitions in any given year, that can really move the needle for a company like ours in terms of size.

A key to our strategy is hedging. We are generally between 80% and call it 50% hedged in year one through year five. We like that profile. We’ll continue to see that profile roll forward for us hopefully. And in the context of an acquisition we look to hedge the expected production from that acquisition very quickly. Our most recent transaction for example, we set up a structure where we hedged all of the expected production for the next five years between signing and closing just to alleviate any commodity price risk in the interim.

Hedging serves a very effective and – has a very effective and useful purpose for us. This graph illustrates over time what our quarterly EBITDA looks like, which is generally pretty flat since the early part of 2008. Obviously that was during a period where the financial markets and commodity prices were very volatile. Under imposed on this graph are oil and gas prices during the same period and you can see from the middle of 2008 where commodity prices were around $140 a barrel and $14 prim, they collapsed all the way down to $40 a barrel and $4 prim. During that period wipe, prices went down by plus or minus 70%. Sur EBITDA was only down by call it 15% or 20%. So hedging is a tool that we and others use, is incredibly important for our business model.

In terms of our acquisition criteria at Breitburn, we are very focused on maintaining a balanced portfolio. We are very focused on hedging when we do acquire. We like having diversity with respect to commodity prices, diversity with respect to reserves and diversity going forward with respect to drilling opportunities based on what happens with commodity prices. We generally like very high PDP assets, not surprisingly, although we do buy assets that have some pads and drilling opportunities provided that they are relatively low risk for our business model.

I won’t go through all the highlights here, but in terms of history, our company has been around for a long time. It’s been in the E&P MLP structure since early 2006. We’ve been very active in terms of acquisitions during that period, having expanded from two to four States and more than quadrupling production on a daily basis during that time. We have increased distributions in each of the last six quarters and we’ve demonstrated over the last year and a half that even in volatile markets we have very good access to the debt and equity markets.

So with that TJ, I’ll turn it back over to you.

Mark Houser – President & COO – EV Energy Partners, L.P.

Well, good afternoon everybody. I know there is a reception waiting on the other side of this and you probably have a few questions. So I’ll try to move this through reasonably quickly.

Just a little bit of background on EV Energy Partners. We are an upstream MLP created in September of ’06. I think three of the four of us all started basically at the same time. We are a traditional GP structure. We have 25% limits on the incentive distribution rights. The GP is owned mostly by EnerVest in the management team, but also about 24% by EnCap, which many of you may know is a very successful Private Equity Firm that helped us get started way back when.

We have some somewhere around $2.9 billion of enterprise value right now. It might be a little bit lower than that after today and yesterday, but it’s reasonably strong. Our balance sheet is in good shape. Our yield is running a good bit lower than a lot of other – of our peer group right now. I’ll talk more about the reason for that which is really tied to the Utica potential that we’ve been blessed with and our returns have been great. I mean our compounded annual rate of return since IPO is 37% and we’ve generated 300% returns to the folks who started with us. We are really proud of that. We feel really blessed by it.

If you look at reasons to hold EV Energy, the story we have around our advantages are number one, EnerVest. EVEP was created by EnerVest. EnerVest has been around since 1992. It’s EVEP itself – I’ll talk about EnerVest in a minute.

EVEP has done a lot of acquisitions already in its life. We’ve just announced about 500 this year. We have multiple acquisition sources. We an ability to do drop-down acquisitions from our Parent to co-invest with the Parent EnerVest, I’ll speak more of that in a minute.

Like everyone else here, we have been able to access the capital markets and the public debt markets and we have the Utica Shale upside.

If you put it all together, we’ve got about 1.2Bcf of Reserves, including our most recent acquisitions and we have about 160 million equivalent cubic feet today. That’s about 70% gas right now and about 30% liquids. I’d like say we’d like to be balanced, but we seem to be – to have a better ability to buy gas and liquids than we do oil. We just can’t seem to be competitive on some of the oil projects.

A little bit of background on EnerVest, the Parent. EnerVest has been around since 1992. It raises Private Equity from large institutions and buys properties. It’s been doing it for almost 20 years. Has a great platform and EV Energy gets to participate in that platform. If you add up the assets of all the institutional partnership and EVEP, we produce over half a Bcf a day, have about 4 million acres under lease and the combined enterprises have done almost $6 billion worth of acquisitions since inception. And there’s about 700 employees and what we feel is EV Energy benefits from some scale, from the scale of EnerVest without the size of EnerVest.

Talking a little bit about our acquisitions lately. The most recent kind of large acquisition is our Barnett Shale acquisition. It was a joint purchase mostly from Encana, about $975 million from Encana. The remainder from other Private Equity firm. Total purchase price is about $1.2 billion and again this is one of EVEP’s advantages. EVEP was able to participate in this deal, probably couldn’t do it on its own, but in partnership with EnerVest it’s able to get into those larger volume deals.

Just a couple of comments. The blue shows where we had some existing properties. The red both in the two different ellipses are the two new acquisitions. The long one is the Encana position which is in the core in the Tier One area, the Barnett. The other smaller one is in the Combo area, a little bit more oily.

Looking at it all together it’s about – net to EVEP it’s about 400 Bcf, 53% proved developed. That’s lower than you would expect from an MLP. Our theory is we need to be around 80% proved developed. We’ve had some great acquisition opportunities and some upside that we see is very limited in risk and it’s all held by production. So we’ve got the ability to move and throttle up and down our drilling. So look for us to push that overall PDP index back up over time, but we just feel like these are great, really world class assets to buy for our portfolio.

If you combine this with our other positions, the EnerVest family is the number six Barnett producer and one of the beliefs we have is that to really manage costs, you need scale and so we try to work on being a very dominant player in the Basins we are in. As an example, we did a similar type of approach in the Austin Chalk and we are the number producer in the Chalk. We are the top producer in Ohio. That’s why we’re not saying much now in terms of volume, but it is. We are still the dominant player. We are a large producer in the San Juan. We are in a total of eight Basins.

Just a little bit on the Utica. Again we have had a lot of discussions with lots of people on this lately, but through a series of acquisitions starting in 2002, EVEP as part of the EnerVest family is one of the largest holder of acreage. The blue shows acreage where we’re in Joint Venture with Chesapeake. The red shows acreage where EVEP is in an operated position along with EnerVest. If you add it together right now and look at what’s going on over there and you can see our acreage spread is really good across the various windows of the Utica as they are defined right now. There’s 38 wells that are either drilled or drilling, there is 90 additional well permitted. Acreage prices have gone from about 50 bucks to part of the Chesapeake Joint Venture measuring about $15,000 an acre on an undiscounted basis right now. And the bottom line to that is EnerVest itself has about 765, 000 net acres, 400,000 of operated.

Now let’s look at EVEP. Of that 400,000 operated, EVEP has about 159,000 net acres in the Utica. 22,000 of that is tied in with Chesapeake, the rest is operated by EnerVest and we also have an override on about 240,000 net acres.

In terms of what we are doing in the Utica. Right now the technical evaluation continues. Chesapeake will drill eight more wells this year. Again we are partners, so we have a piece of all those wells. So we are seeing all the data. At the same time, EnerVest itself with EVEP as a participant will drill about five different pads next year in about eight wells to de-risk of our acreage. And the idea is that we are going to look towards some sort of monetization event next year, whether that be a property swap or whether that be some sort of a Joint Venture kind of – but the bottom line to it is we feel like as an MLP, our job is not to be a Shale developer. Our job – once Shales have been developed and produced, our job is to buy them and operate them just like we do all these other old wells that we all own. But we were blessed with this huge position underneath it and we want to take advantage of it for our unit holders and so that’s one of the big focuses for us right now, along with our acquisitions, which again on average, our target this year was about $500 million for EVEP. It turns out we are going to just about meet that and I would look for something similar next year notwithstanding any sort of swap opportunity that we realize out of our EVEP Utica acreage position.

So with that I think I’ll turn it over to QR.

Mark Castiglione - Vice President of Business Development – QR Energy, L.P

Good afternoon. I’m Mark Castiglione with QR Energy. And first of all I want to say thank you to TJ and RBC for having us. We definitely appreciate a good relationship with RBC.

I want to quickly walk you through why we think QR Energy is a premiere MLP. We have low decline conventional oil and gas natural gas assets with low risk development inventory and therefore stable cash flows. Our management team has experience with the acquire and export strategy. We’ve been doing it pretty much all of our careers like a lot of these guys up here have been to. We have strategic relationships within the Quantum Franchise that provide us with multiple avenues for growth and we are committed to a long term hedging strategy that provides additional cash flow stability to our investors.

Let me just give you a quick overview of our assets. We are primarily located in three areas, Permian, Mid-Continent and also the Ark-La-Tex region. We recently announced an acquisition of $577 million from our sponsor Quantum Resources and that more than doubled our production in Reserves, it took our Reserves up to 67 million barrels and our production up to 13,300 Boes per day. Our Reserves are about 67% prove developed and about half of those are liquids. Our proved Reserve life is 14 years and when we think about maintenance capital, we believe we can keep production flat over the next five years by spending maintenance capital of about $50 million a year.

Our strategy is to deliver stable cash flow and growth to our investors through low risk development of our acreage and also accretive acquisitions. And we will utilize strategic relationships that we have with our sponsor and our affiliates, along with our industry relationships to source acquisitions. We target accretive acquisitions and we identify those acquisitions through disciplined investment criteria that we have at QR and once we identify the right opportunities; we have acquisition evaluation team that does a disciplined evaluation work to properly assess the value of the asset. Once we land an opportunity, once we land a transaction, our goal is to enhance the asset value through our engineering focus and operational excellence.

We focus on ways to optimize production, reduce cost and add oil and gas through low risk drilling. We have a strong culture of accountability and what we mean by that is that we measure and we keep score and with that score keeping translates in the compensation for all of our employees. And again hedging is a big part of what we do. We aim to hedge commodity price volatility to the extent that we can so that we can have a stabilized cash flow stream.

This next slide is really a key takeaway for QR Energy. We believe we possess some strategic relationships that really differentiate us from most of our peers. We really have four ways that we can grow our partnership. The first way is through acquisitions from our sponsor Quantum Resources or QRF. We actually have a right of first offer on any assets that QRF sells that are greater than 70% PDP. The second way that we can grow our asset base is through acquisitions from our affiliate Private Equity partner, Quantum Energy Partners. They have about 20 portfolio companies and a handful of those are actually chasing conventional assets. The third way we can grow is through acquisitions from third parties and again we believe that we have a reputation in this space to acquire conventional assets and thus consolidate all those types of assets. We also believe that we have good relationships not only with our advisors, but the industry leaders and that gives us access to opportunities early. And then finally, the last way that we can gain access to acquisitions is through joint acquisitions with QRF and we actually have through our Omnibus agreement, we have the right to participate in any deal that QRF does that’s greater than 75% PDP. We have a right to participate at a minimum level of 25%.

And when you take into account all of what I just told you about why we believe we are a premiere MLP and then you look at our 9.3% yield, it look very attractive compared to our peer group on evaluation basis.

So in conclusion, we believe that we are a premiere upstream MLP. Our assets fit the MLP strategy, low decline, conventional properties with low risk development inventory. We believe that our relatively flat production and risk management strategy will lead to stable cash flows. And we have a proven management team to run our business.

We expect our strategic relationships to continue to enable us to gain access to not only drop-downs but also acquisitions. And of course we’ll continue to carry out our hedging strategy as a way to provide cash flow stability. And lastly, we trade at a very attractive yield.

So I think that’s my five minutes. And so I’ll turn it over to Scott.

Scott Smith – President and CEO - Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC

Okay. Thanks to TJ, thanks to RBC for inviting us on the panel today. And thanks for you guys for sticking around up to the end. So I’ll start off by saying you’ll see our slide, there’s actually two entities listed, E&P and Vanguard. I am the President of both and knock on wood, but the 30th; I’ll all of the – the President of one. So we have a merger underway with EMP that we have the unit per unit exchange that we are trying to wrap up 53% of Encore that we don’t own. So the vote is going very well. If you have any, please vote.

Vanguard. We’re an upstream LLC headquartered there in Houston. We went public in October of 2007. We’re a standalone entity. Went public, we’re a single asset, all gas, none operated Appalachia. Roughly four years later we’ve done $900 million worth of acquisitions. We’re in six basins with 64% oil and natural gas liquids and most of our value is now operated.

Our current distribution of about $2.31 annualized. We’re trading about 8.5% yield which when the market slides it kind of puts us in the higher range of our peer group. We do have a very diverse portfolio of mature, long life assets. R over P is about 15 years. Reserves are just under 80 million barrels equivalent and we’re about 80% prove developed.

Market cap wise, Vanguard is about a little over $800 million where we were yesterday. Encore a little over $900 million. I will say on a merge basis we’ll probably be at about $1.3 billion market cap and have a total enterprise value of just over $2 billion, so pretty good growth from a $240 million enterprise when we went public 10 years ago.

Just quickly here’s a little snapshot of what acquisitions – the bigger acquisitions that we’ve done. You see they kind of range from the small of $13 million up to, the largest transaction was the acquisition from Denbury of the interest in Encore Energy Partners at $380 million. That one pretty well doors all the others. That’s really a game changing event for Vanguard, more than doubled our size, made us much more really dramatically increase our exposure in the Permian, up in the Wiliston and up in the Big Horn basins, has a great platform to grow.

Since we closed that deal in December of 2010 we haven’t really sat on our hands. We have done five other acquisitions, totaling about $180 million; have increased our reserves by about 20% through those acquisitions. So we’ve been busy in the market. We continually look for acquisitions that are very accretive to obviously hopefully continue the growth that we’ve been on.

Okay. Probably would be – one of the things we’re most proud of as Vanguard is the fact that overall we’ve led distribution increases of the entire upstream MLP peer group at rise 36% since 2008 which is right when we went public. So we look at acquisitions. We don’t do them just to get bigger or just to grow. We have to have the accretion and through the accretion and the acquisitions we look to increase our distribution. That’s what we think our unit holders are looking for and why they buy this type of paper is they like to yield, but they also want to see capital appreciation and the only way you’re going to get that is through distribution growth.

And I’m going to not even use my whole five minutes. So, but lastly I think our strategy does work as evidenced by this last slide. This basically the return Vanguard unit holders have seen since, from 2009 forward. You can kind of see where we rank in comparative royalty trust C-Corps and some of the other upstream MLP sector that we’re involved in. We think obviously from a total return standpoint it’s been very good then just as a standalone on the unit price.

So with that I’m going to turn it over to TJ. Sorry again, I blew it again.

Question-and-Answer Session


Thanks, Scott. We’ll open up for some Q&A if you’ve got a question.


(Inaudible) from the unconventional (inaudible) with the decline rates on the (inaudible).


Just to recap, the question was your experience with horizontal drilling and how you’re dealing with potentially decline rates and costs on those particular wells.

Mark Houser – President & COO – EV Energy Partners, L.P.

Well, I’ll start that one. We’re drilling well. Our operated wells right now in the Austin Choke and in the Barnett Shale and in terms of decline rates, initial decline rates on most horizontal wells are pretty steep. That’s pretty well documented. I think there’s been enough history in most of the areas, certainly the areas we’re in. that is predictable. I think the danger for an MLP structure is that you’re counting too much on that sort of drilling as a part of your overall portfolio. You’re going to have real steep decline curves. So that’s where we try to be careful not to do too much of that. That being the case these horizontal wells, once they’ve gotten through that initial decline they flatten out just like most of the other wells and at that point I think that’s exciting for all of us over time is that as the shale plays mature, they just become another big section of the portfolio for us to all buy and our job is to just buy and operate a little bit better than the guys before us. So I think the answer is we are – I mean you see different variances in terms of quality of reservoirs drilling horizontally. I think most of us understand the decline initially pretty well. We factored that in to what we pay and what we choose to drill. So I don’t know if you have any other comments on that.

Scott Smith – President and CEO - Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC

No, we just finished a well in West Texas, the Bone Springs well and I tell our operations guy $6.5 million a well, we don’t want a steady diet of this. But we’re happy to drill a couple of them a year. They’re all HPP, high net revenue type of wells. Again we see the same decline issues that Mark alluded to, but the IRs are so good that from a portfolio basis it makes some sense to have some exposure in this type of plays I think for the MLP space. Again this is not going to be our core focus.

James G. Jackson – Executive VP and CFO – Breitburn Energy Partners L.P

At Breitburn we’ve actually drilled very few horizontals wells. Most of that is going on in Florida, but I think the most important thing is what you said, Mark, which is three or four years down the road with the activity and the horizontal drilling today, what does that really mean for our sector’s ability to keep growing? And we think that’s very much positive.

Mark Castiglione - Vice President of Business Development – QR Energy, L.P

The same for QR Energy. We haven’t drilled any horizontal wells within QR Energy. We do have some in our inventory, but I think like it’s been said that we just don’t drill very many at a time. It’s a very limited program.


When you look at some of the acquisition market activity out there, it seemed to slow a little bit in the summer, kind of mirage in the volatility and commodity prices and it’s picked back up again. Just when you look at commodity prices now, how do you view that in the acquisition market out there for both kind of oily assets and assets that are more gas weighted? If you can comment where for each – for more gas weighted assets or for more oil weighted assets how the current money price environment is shaping up for the A&D market.

James G. Jackson – Executive VP and CFO – Breitburn Energy Partners L.P

Well, I’ll take that. We at Breitburn we’re split reasonably between oil and gas. So we look actively at both oil acquisitions and gas acquisitions with prices on the gas side having declined pretty steadily. There I think is a continuing spread between expectations from buyers or expectations from sellers with respect to value and what buyers feel like they can safely underwrite the assets at. I think we’re as a group probably advantaged because we can take a longer term perspective. At Breitburn we actually did two acquisitions this summer. One was a small oil deal, but the larger was a gas deal and we found comfort in the fact that we could underwrite it well. There wasn’t a lot of competition. We could hedge it and they were assets that had previously been owned by a high quality company that had managed them well. So we felt good about that. But there are I think fewer things for sale consistent with your comments, TJ, on both the oil side and the gas side. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take much for companies our size to move the needle. So I think we all probably remain pretty active in terms of looking at things.

Scott Smith – President and CEO - Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC

I think one of the things we kind of stress is – and all of us, we are buying oil and gas properties. But we’re buying cash flow and when prices are low we buy more of it. We all use the strip I think. Nobody said too arcane hedging wise. That’s how we value it. Whatever the price is on the strip, whatever the discount rate that we’re comfortable with because we’re all going to hedge 85%, 90% of the PDP and go from there. But again we’re pretty agnostic as to prices. Again if the opportunity is there we can hedge it and get the right spread and the right accretion. Those are acquisitions that make sense. But really doesn’t make that much difference for us what the pricing is. We’re going to buy in all price environments and we have so far.

Mark Houser – President & COO – EV Energy Partners, L.P.

We’re agnostic as well. We’ll look at both oil and gas opportunities. The thing that we see in gas is – at least what I feel like I’ve been seeing is private sellers of gas properties, it’s hard to close that bid spread. A lot of the private sellers I think value their drilling inventory, their pads. I even had breakfast the other day with a private guy who was talking to me about possibly getting paid for that on gas assets and so I think there’s just unrealistic expectations on the private side. I think on the public side, I think the deal that Mark just did shows that you can close that with some of the public companies. I think that some of the public companies that have conventional gas assets but also have Shale are planning any shale plays and they’re out spending their cash flow; I think they’re more realistic about what their bogey is on the gas properties they’re willing to sell because they need that cash. They need that cash to fund their drilling programs.


Do you see, given the deal that was just done with Encana, do you see other large packages out there or do you see more kind of in the bolt-on opportunities?

Mark Houser – President & COO – EV Energy Partners, L.P.

There’s a few other large packages out there. I think sometimes it’s kind of simple with me. The larger companies, for whatever reason as prices come down, they feel that that’s the time they need to trim their portfolio and so you’ll tend to see things come out which you would think they would wait and do it when prices are high. But they tend to do it just the opposite way because they have a lot of – as prices go down their pressure is to lower their cost and so they see that as an opportunity to just sell higher cost properties, and our job is not to have the lowest cost properties in an area. It’s to just lower those costs over what they were operated with before and we can make money for our investors because we all hedge two or three times as long as a lot of our competitors in the acquisition space. So it seems like in these periods of low prices and some uncertainty the big independents and majors tend to want to sell. And you amplify that with what Mark said about needing the cash, the only thing that’s probably helped is there has been a reasonably healthy equity in that market on average over the past maybe two years. So they’re in decent shape financially, at least for now.


When you guys look at growth opportunities, do you prefer to look in your own backyard and grow around your existing assets or how important is it to each of you kind of for basin diversification as you look to grow?

James G. Jackson – Executive VP and CFO – Breitburn Energy Partners L.P

I think every single one of us here showed you a chart or meant to that we were in like two basins when we started and we’re now in a lot more than that. I think there’s a balance of opportunities. There’s two things you do. What we’re looking at is not necessarily geographically important. It’s the type of assets. We’re all looking for long life PDP type stuff. You have to lower cost. You want some scale, but we’re not so geologically intensive that we’re really good in one area or another because there’s other people to do that. And so I think it gives us an opportunity to focus in more on the type of asset and be a bit more diverse than others can be. Plus every single one of these basins, you run into some sort of pipeline problem or some sort of something that may lower your cash flow in one field or one property for a period of time. It’s nice to have diversification so that you can still get that cash out every quarter that we want to get out to our investors.


As you go through these acquisitions and obviously look to keep your hedge profile intact, kind of what your view over the next few years is, potentially there are gas assets out there for purchase and some of the difficulties that may be involved in getting those done, given the ability to hedge levels that you’d like to see on the gas side. Maybe tie that in with kind of your longer term outlook on the commodity prices as we move forward the next couple of years.

Mark Houser – President & COO – EV Energy Partners, L.P.

Well, I think from the gas side again there’s nothing to be too enthusiastic about gas prices coming back. We have a consulting group and like their crystal ball gets cloudier by the day. By the end of ’13 it’s going to start turning around. Well, I think that the last call we had a week ago was – well maybe it’s going to be the middle of ’14 and next week it will probably be the beginning of ’15. So the story doesn’t get any better, but again how we look at hedging and gas assets, again we’re just going to hedge the strip and if the sellers aren’t willing to sell based on strip pricing we’re not going to be a buyer. If they think – if their view just because their view may be that gas prices are going to rebound faster, well then they’re going to want to sell to somebody who shares that view. I don’t think any of us make that bet because that’s not our business model.

Scott Smith – President and CEO - Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC

I had a really interesting cab ride over here today. I was in a natural gas cab and the cab driver asked me, do you mind if we listen to national public radio. Okay and they turned it on. There was a guy named Robert Reiss. Some of you have heard him talk. He’s a guy who really believes in kind of the long term ability of our country to grow itself, but it needs to be deregulated. So we’re listening to this energy independence talk which you couldn’t even talk about a few years ago. At the same time the cab driver said to me, he said I drive a natural gas vehicle. Why has the price of my gas gone up from $1.99 to $2.40? And I said well, that’s because there’s not enough availability to sell gas. I said the price I sell to the buyer of our gas is much lower. It’s gone down recently, but there aren’t enough folks willing to put in service stations to pull up demand so that those guys have – those guys are holding it tight and they’re able to charge you more for your gas. My point on all that is it made me think about it again. There really needs to be demand pull in our country to help this happen. Either demand pull or even export more gas over time. I think that will happen in terms of gas but I don’t know when. We’re not betting on it anytime soon. There’s just not that much demand pull right now. It’s getting a little better but…

Mark Castiglione - Vice President of Business Development – QR Energy, L.P

I think from my perspective the only good news on natural gas prices is that everyone now thinks they’ll be low forever, which generally speaking is about the time something unexpected happens and the world changes. So I’m not sure how much I want to vote for that, but at least everybody is on the same page which is about the time we get a candle because we hadn’t been thinking of it.


When you go to 40 (inaudible) biggest concern space (inaudible).


Just to recap, asking the biggest concerns that you have with each of your partnerships or kind of the biggest risk factors maybe?

Scott Smith – President and CEO - Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC

Access to capital, just pure and simple. That it. If we don’t have access to capital either in the debt markets or primarily equity markets, we can’t grow. That is the absolute bottom line for us and I think we all share the same deal. We’re an acquisition and grow business. We can’t grow without making acquisitions. We can maintain our cash flow through the drilling opportunities that we have in our asset base, but we can’t grow but then execute on our business model without access to those markets and in times like this, you’ve seen how choppy it is and we’ve had some people come out, deals that I’m sure they weren’t really happy with, but just to get the deals done. And I think most of us unfortunately we don’t have the luxury – we don’t have to go to the market. But I’ll tell you that is our biggest concern is management and our board shares that same feeling is we want to execute our business plan. We have been successful doing it, but we’ve been able to successfully execute equity offerings and – but if the markets aren’t there then the brakes are going to be on continuing to grow.

Mark Houser – President & COO – EV Energy Partners, L.P.

You asked for different answers and I can’t really give you one because Scott’s right, I think that did. I think right now there are some contemporary questions tied to – we like to hedge, we like to hedge long term. There’s counterparty issues especially relative to the international bank and so it’s just diversifying our hedge portfolio, our bank lines to go across a lot of different banks right now. So my first answer is Scott’s, but if I have to give another answer that’d be the thing they ask about as well.

James G. Jackson – Executive VP and CFO – Breitburn Energy Partners L.P

Maybe I can just talk for one different perspective. I have been at Breitburn now since early 2006. Before that I had been an investment banker for 20 years and had a host of different industries that I covered over time. So I had the benefit before coming to Breitburn in the energy space of being in hundreds probably over those years of board meetings where serious issues were being discussed. One thing that I think that is very interesting about this group’s business model is just how much visibility we actually have on our business three, four, five years from now. In any company I banked in the 1990s, sort of 2000s to start a conversation with can we decide how much of our profitability five years from now we actually know we’re going to deliver was a simple showstopper because most companies in corporate America will be selling products in five years that they haven’t designed today.

They haven’t decided to have a market today. They haven’t come up with today. So I think from an investors perspective, particularly a retails perspective to have an option to invest in a business that generally speaking, irrespective of the risks of capital and commodity price moves, has as much a visibility as it does on profitability is a very good proposition. That’s not necessarily a board concern, but it’s what strikes me about our companies and we run two companies. Our companies boards discussions that are different from the many I’ve been over the years.

Mark Castiglione - Vice President of Business Development – QR Energy, L.P

I think from QR Energy’s perspective we do think about the capital markets. One of the ways we’ve been able to mitigate that is with our sponsor, this most recent acquisition that we did from our sponsor. Our sponsor was actually willing to take paper as opposed to cash and so that helped us do a drop down in a market that was relatively volatile at the time and continues to be and so we take some comfort in that. The other thing I would say just to add to what’s been said on the panel, I think we all, it’s just an industry wide issue is people and access, the employee base within the energy space right now is – the employees are in high demand. And so I think that’s something we think about is retaining good employees, but also hiring good employees and that’s something that I think fresh on the minds of all of us within the energy industry.


Great. With that I think we are out of time today and we’ll move over to the cocktail reception at the pavilion behind the hotel. I want to thank all of you for participating in the panel.

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