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S&P upgrades Gulfport on Utica, SCOOP asset base development

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S&P upgrades Gulfport on Utica, SCOOP asset base development

S&P Global Ratings upgraded Gulfport Energy Corp. on the back of its considerable progress developing its Utica Shale and SCOOP asset base, saying it is boosting reserves and production while maintaining a "conservative financial policy."

The rating agency raised Gulfport's corporate credit rating to BB- from B+, the issue-level rating on the company's unsecured debt to BB- from B+ and the recovery rating to 3 from 4 to reflect, among other things, the company's success at integrating assets acquired in the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, or SCOOP, play into its development plan.

2017 has seen Gulfport diversify into two core basins with significant growth potential. It holds about 213,000 net acres in the Utica and approximately 92,900 net acres in the Oklahoma SCOOP play. The company reported year-end 2016 reserves of 3.5 Tcfe, up 35% from 2015 proved reserves, with the Utica reserves accounting for 2.3 Tcfe and the SCOOP reserves 1.2 Tcfe.

"About 90% of the company's reserves were natural gas and we expect 2017 reserves to increase due to Gulfport's strong drilling and completion activity during 2017," David Lagasse said in the Dec. 21 report. Lagasse added that Gulfport is expected to "maintain a conservative financial policy while continuing to develop its Utica and SCOOP asset base" earning it a stable outlook.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.