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San Juan Basin Royalty Trust Reports Operating Results (10-Q)

May 11, 2009 | About:

San Juan Basin Royalty Trust (NYSE:SJT) filed Quarterly Report for the period ended 2009-03-31.

San Juan Basin Royalty is an express trust created under the laws of the state of Texas by the San Juan Basin Royalty Trust Indenture. The Trustee Bank One Texas N.A. has the primary function of collecting monthly net proceeds attributable to the Royalty and making the monthly distributions to the unit holders after deducting administrative expenses and any amounts necessary for cash reserves. San Juan Basin Royalty Trust has a market cap of $800.7 million; its shares were traded at around $17.18 with and P/S ratio of 5.5. The dividend yield of San Juan Basin Royalty Trust stocks is 0.4%. San Juan Basin Royalty Trust had an annual average earning growth of 16% over the past 10 years. GuruFocus rated San Juan Basin Royalty Trust the business predictability rank of 2.5-star.

Highlight of Business Operations:

The Trust received Royalty income of $9,550,576 and interest income of $2,605 during the first quarter of 2009. There was no change in cash reserves. After deducting administrative expenses of $583,745, distributable income for the quarter was $8,969,436 ($0.192440 per Unit). In the first quarter of 2008, Royalty income was $25,576,418, interest income was $164,379, there was no change in cash reserves, administrative expenses were $610,074 and distributable income was $25,130,723 ($0.539184 per Unit). Based on 46,608,796 Units outstanding, the per-Unit distributions during the first quarter of 2009 were as follows:

The capital costs attributable to the Underlying Properties for the first quarter of 2009 and deducted by BROG in calculating Royalty income were approximately $9.9 million. BROG has informed the Trust that the 2009 budget for capital expenditures for the Underlying Properties is $25.2 million. In addition, BROG estimates that during 2009 it will incur capital expenses in the amount of approximately $12.1 million attributable to the capital budgets for 2008 and prior years. Approximately 12% of the planned expenditures attributable to the 2009 budget will be on Fruitland Coal formation projects with the remainder to be spent on conventional projects. BROG reports that based on its actual capital requirements, the pace of regulatory approvals, the mix of projects and swings in the price of natural gas, the actual capital expenditures for 2009 could range from $10 million to $45 million.

BROG anticipates 431 projects in 2009 at an estimated cost of $25.2 million. Approximately $6 million of that budget is allocable to 49 new wells, including 39 wells scheduled to be dually completed in the Mesaverde and Dakota formations and four wells projected to be drilled to formations producing coal seam gas. Approximately $7.1 million will be spent on workovers and facilities projects. Of the $12.1 million attributable to the budgets for prior years, approximately $6.9 million is allocable to new wells, and the $5.2 million balance will be applied to miscellaneous capital projects such as workovers and operated facility projects. BROG also anticipates that the possible implementation of new rules minimizing surface disturbances, requiring the implementation of closed-loop systems for the disposal of drilling fluids and cuttings, and restricting the use of open reserve pits could reduce the number of projects due to increased compliance costs.

BROG has informed the Trust that lease operating expenses and property taxes were $8,992,827 and $276,732, respectively, for the first quarter of 2009, as compared to $8,083,988 and $245,295, respectively, for the first quarter of 2008. BROG reports that lease operating expenses were higher in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter of 2008 primarily because demand-related increases in the cost of contract services and materials have not yet been mitigated by the decline in natural gas sales prices. New drilling results in increases in salt water disposal and compression costs. Additionally, the overhead rate determined by the Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies was adjusted in April 2008 to 7.7%, from the previous rate of 6.4%.

Under the Indenture governing the Trust, the Trustee is entitled to an administrative fee for its administrative services and the preparation of quarterly and annual statements of: (i) 1/20 of 1% of the first $100 million of the annual gross revenue of the Trust, and 1/30 of 1% of the annual gross revenue of the Trust in excess of $100 million and (ii) the Trustees standard hourly rates for time in excess of 300 hours annually, provided that the administrative fee due under items (i) and (ii) above will not be less than $36,000 per year (as adjusted annually to reflect the increase (if any) in the Producers Price Index as published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, since December 31, 2003).

On April 28, 2008, the Trust filed a suit against BROG relating to the Arbitration Award in its favor issued in November 2005, in the amount of $7,683,699. The litigation is styled San Juan Basin Royalty Trust vs. Burlington Resources Oil & Gas Company, L.P., No. D1329-CV-08-751, in the District Court of Sandoval County, New Mexico, 13th Judicial District. The Trust alleges breach of contract and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing and seeks a judgment for damages in the amount of $5,025,000, plus interest and punitive damages. The purpose of the arbitration was to resolve certain joint interest audit issues. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the Trust on all five of the issues submitted to arbitration. BROG filed suit in Harris County, Texas alleging that the award should be modified or vacated, and seeking to recover its attorneys fees. The trial court denied BROGs motion to vacate, granted the Trusts application to confirm and rendered a final judgment in favor of the Trust. BROG paid the award as it related to four of the five issues and appealed the award as to the fifth. In August 2007, the appellate court reversed the judgment of the trial court and vacated the award as it related to the unpaid balance. The appellate court also remanded the case to the District Court, where BROG is pursuing its claim for attorneys fees and costs in the amount of approximately $200,000. On September 8, 2008, Burlington filed a motion for summary judgment. The Trust has filed its response opposing that motion and its own cross-motion for summary judgment. On December 15, 2008, BROGs motion for summary judgment was denied. The Trusts motion remains pending. With respect to that fifth issue which was the subject of the appeal, the Trust had asked for damages based on either of two alternative claims. The appellate court ruled that the alternative claim selected by the arbitrator in awarding the Trust approximately $5,000,000 was not technically included within the scope of what the parties intended to submit to arbitration. The appellate court did not rule on whether or not the arbitrator properly decided the fifth issue in favor of the Trust. The litigation filed in New Mexico seeks recovery on the claim which had been resolved in favor of the Trust by the arbitrator.

Read the The complete ReportSJT is in the portfolios of Jean-Marie Eveillard of Arnhold & S. Bleichroeder Advisers, LLC.

Rating: 2.3/5 (4 votes)


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