​Pengrowth sidestepping heavy oil discount with contracts strategy

Pengrowth's Lindbergh SAGD project near Cold Lake, Alta. Image: Scovan Engineering

Heavy oil-focused intermediate Pengrowth Energy Corporation says that it is “well insulated” from the massive current price discount as a result of its market access strategy.

The discount for Canadian heavy oil compared to WTI reached a staggering US$52/bbl in October, and has since narrowed to about US$35. A “normal” range for the differential is US$15 to US$20/bbl.

Pengrowth’s primary asset, the Lindbergh SAGD project in the Cold Lake region, produced 18,350 bbls/d in October, which was blended with 7,700 bbl/d of condensate and sold as 26,050 bbl/d of dilbit, the company said on Thursday. So far in November the project has sold 27,600 bbls/d of dilbit.

Thanks to apportionment protected fixed differential contracts, Pengrowth said its realized price was WTI minus US$24 in October, and WTI minus US$28.60 in November to date.

The October realization equates to a netback of C$33.85/bbl of bitumen, the company said.

“Given current spot differentials for Western Canadian Select (WCS) crude, we wanted to provide the market greater clarity on the advantaged prices we are realizing on our Lindbergh bitumen,” Pengrowth CEO Pete Sametz said in a statement.

“As a result of our market access strategy, Lindbergh production is well insulated from current spot pricing, with only 9% of October production and 6% of November production exposed to the spot market.”

The company said it currently has apportionment protection on 15,000 bbls/d of dilbit in 2019, and will continue to seek additional barrels of apportionment protection at protected pricing.