|6 Months Ended|
Jun. 30, 2018
The Company is the plaintiff in two lawsuits against South Jersey Gas Company and South Jersey Resources Group, LLC (collectively, “SJGC”) pending in United States District Court in Colorado. In March 2015, the Company filed suit against SJGC seeking relief for breach of contract and damages in the amounts that SJGC had short paid, and continued to short pay, the Company in connection with two nearly identical long term gas contracts. Under those contracts, SJGC are long term purchasers of 80,000 MMBtu/day of the Company’s natural gas production. Deliveries under the contracts began in October 2011 and the term of the contracts continues through October 2019. The price for gas was based on specified indices in the contracts. Beginning in October 2014, SJGC began short paying the Company based on price indices unilaterally selected by SJGC and not the applicable index specified in the contracts. SJGC claimed that the index price specified in the contracts, and the index at which SJGC paid for deliveries from 2011 through September 2014, was no longer appropriate under the contracts because a market disruption event (as defined by the contract) had occurred and, as a result, a new index price was required to be determined by the parties. The Company rejected SJGC’s contention that a market disruption event occurred. SJGC’s actions constituted a breach of the contracts by failing to pay the Company based on the express price terms of the contracts and paying the Company based on unilaterally selected price indices in violation of the contracts’ remedial provisions. On May 8, 2017, a jury in the United States District Court in Colorado returned a unanimous verdict finding in favor of Antero’s positions in the lawsuit against SJGC. On July 21, 2017, final judgment on the jury’s unanimous verdict was entered by the court. On August 18, 2017, SJGC filed post-judgment motions with the court. On March 23, 2018, the court denied SJGC’s post-judgment motions. On April 20, 2018, SJGC appealed the final judgment to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and the appeal remains pending.
Subsequent to the entry of judgment, SJGC has continued to short pay the Company on the basis of unilaterally selected price indices and not the index specified in the contract. Accordingly, on December 21, 2017, Antero filed suit against SJGC to recover for its damages since March of 2017. The second lawsuit remains pending.
Through June 30, 2018, the Company estimates that it is owed approximately $79 million (gross damages, including interest) more than SJGC has paid using the indices unilaterally selected by them. Substantially all of this amount has not been accrued in the Company’s financial statements. The Company will vigorously seek recovery from SJGC of all underpayments and damages, including interest, based on the contracted price.
The Company and Washington Gas Light Company and WGL Midstream, Inc. (collectively, “WGL”) were involved in a pricing dispute involving firm gas sales contracts executed June 20, 2014 (the “Contracts”) that the Company began delivering gas under in January 2016. From January 2016 through July 2017 and from December 2017 through January 2018, the aggregate daily gas volumes contracted for under the Contracts was 500,000 MMBtu/day, with the aggregate daily contracted volumes having increased to 600,000 MMBtu/day from August through November 2017. The Company invoiced WGL based on the natural gas index price specified in the Contracts and WGL paid the Company based on that invoice price. However, WGL asserted that the index price was no longer appropriate under the Contracts and claimed that an undefined alternative index was more appropriate for the delivery point of the gas. In July 2016, the matter was referred to arbitration by the Colorado district court. In January 2017, the arbitration panel ruled in the Company’s favor. As a result, the index price has remained as specified in the Contracts and there will be no adjustments to the invoices that have been paid by WGL, nor will future invoices to WGL be adjusted based on the same claim rejected by the arbitration panel. The arbitration panel’s award was confirmed by the Colorado district court on April 14, 2017.
In March of 2017, WGL filed a second legal proceeding against the Company in Colorado district court alleging breach of contract and seeking damages of more than $30 million. In this lawsuit, WGL claimed that the Company breached its contractual obligations under the Contracts by failing to deliver “TCO pool” gas. In subsequent filings, WGL explained that its claims were based on an alleged obligation that the Company must deliver gas to the Columbia IPP Pool (“IPP Pool”). WGL asserted this exact same issue in the arbitration and it was rejected by the arbitration panel. The arbitration panel specifically found that the Delivery Point under the Contracts was at a specific point in Braxton, West Virginia, not the IPP Pool. On August 24, 2017, the Colorado district court dismissed with prejudice WGL’s claims against the Company in its new lawsuit and found that the Company had not breached its Contracts with WGL by allegedly failing to deliver to the IPP Pool. The Court also reaffirmed the arbitration panel’s finding that the delivery point under the Contracts was not the IPP Pool. WGL has appealed this decision to the Colorado Court of Appeals and the appeal remains pending.
The Company is also actively engaged in pursuing cover damages against WGL based on WGL’s failure to take receipt of all of the agreed quantities of gas required under the Contracts. WGL’s failure to take the gas volumes specified in the Contracts is directly related to WGL’s lack of primary firm transportation rights at the Delivery Point. The failures by WGL to take the full contracted volumes gas began in April 2017 and continued each month through December 2017 in varying quantities. In defense of its conduct, WGL has asserted to the Company that their failure to receive gas is excused by (1) the Company’s failure to deliver gas to the IPP Pool or (2) alleged instances of Force Majeure under the Contracts. However, as stated above, the alleged obligation that the Company must deliver gas to the IPP Pool was rejected by the arbitration panel and the Colorado district court. Further, the Contracts expressly prohibit a Force Majeure claim in circumstances in which the gas purchaser does not have primary firm transportation agreements in place to transport the purchased gas. In each instance that WGL has failed to receive the quantity of gas required under the Contracts, the Company has resold the quantities not taken and invoiced WGL for cover damages pursuant to the terms of the Contracts. WGL has refused to pay for the invoiced cover damages as required by the Contracts and has also short paid the Company for, among other things, certain amounts of gas received by WGL. Through June 30, 2018, these damages amounted to approximately $106 million (gross damages, including interest). This amount has not been accrued in the Company’s financial statements. The Company is currently pursuing its cover damages in a lawsuit filed in Colorado district court on October 24, 2017. The Company will continue to vigorously seek recovery of its cover damages and other unpaid amounts, including interest, as part of its claims against WGL.
Effective February 1, 2018, as a result of a recent amendment to its firm gas sales contract with WGL Midstream, Inc. that was executed on December 28, 2017, the total aggregate volumes to be delivered to WGL at the delivery point in Braxton, West Virginia were reduced from 500,000 MMBtu/day to 200,000 MMBtu/day. Upon both (1) the in service of the Dominion Cove Point LNG facility and (2) the earlier of in service of the WB East expansion and January 1, 2019, the aggregate contract volumes to be delivered to WGL will increase by 330,000 MMBtu/day. This increase will be in effect for the remaining term of our gas sale contract with WGL Midstream, which expires in 2038, and these increased volumes will be subject to NYMEX-based pricing. Following the increase of 330,000 MMBtu/day, the aggregate contract volumes to be delivered to WGL will total 530,000 MMBtu/day.
The Company is party to various other legal proceedings and claims in the ordinary course of its business. The Company believes that certain of these matters will be covered by insurance and that the outcome of other matters will not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s consolidated financial position, results of operations, or cash flows.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef