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Artek Announces Record Year End 2012 Financial and Operating Results

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CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/21/13 -- Artek Exploration Ltd. (TSX: RTK) ("Artek" or the "Company") is pleased to provide this summary of its financial and operating results for the three months and year ended December 31, 2012. A complete copy of the Company's audited comparative financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, along with management's discussion and analysis in respect thereof will be filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the Company's website at www.artekexploration.com.

Three Months Ended Years Ended December 31, December 31,---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2012 2011 2012 2011----------------------------------------------------------------------------(000s, except per share amounts) ($) ($) ($) ($)FinancialOil and gas revenues 13,494 11,653 41,105 44,279Funds flow from operations (1) 6,695 5,782 16,674 20,463 Per share - basic 0.14 0.14 0.37 0.53 - diluted 0.13 0.14 0.37 0.53Net loss (9,868) (16,168) (2,172) (16,915) Per share - basic (0.20) (0.40) (0.05) (0.44) - diluted (0.20) (0.40) (0.05) (0.44)Capital expenditures 17,809 13,663 59,942 43,835Property dispositions -- - 19,444 -Net debt (at period end) (2) (48,913) (50,981) (48,913) (50,981)Shareholders' equity 115,189 94,128 115,189 94,128----------------------------------------------------------------------------(000s) (#) (#) (#) (#)Share DataAt period-end Basic 51,621 43,433 51,621 43,433 Options and warrants 3,986 3,480 3,986 3,480Weighted average Basic 48,876 40,881 44,808 38,575 Diluted 50,123 41,232 45,461 38,937----------------------------------------------------------------------------OperatingProduction Natural gas (mcf/d) 11,153 8,571 9,970 8,195 Crude oil (bbls/d) 1,059 907 881 912 NGLs (bbls/d) 421 118 226 85 Total (boe/d) 3,339 2,454 2,768 2,363Average wellhead prices (3) Natural gas ($/mcf) 3.61 4.32 2.67 4.50 Crude oil ($/bbl) 82.35 92.89 80.78 88.01 NGLs ($/bbl) 42.87 72.63 52.50 73.15 Total ($/boe)(4) 44.12 53.51 40.06 52.67Royalties ($/boe) (7.70) (8.96) (7.28) (10.14)Operating cost ($/boe) (9.25) (12.42) (10.13) (11.61)Transportation cost ($/boe) (1.69) (1.89) (1.65) (1.79)Operating netback ($/boe)(5) 25.47 30.24 21.00 29.14Wells drilled - gross (net) Development 2 (1.0) 1 (0.6) 9 (5.4) 4 (2.1) Exploration 1 (0.6) - 4 (2.4) 2 (1.6) Abandoned - - - - Total 3 (1.6) 1 (0.6) 13 (7.8) 6 (3.7)Undeveloped land Gross (acres) 229,969 146,298 Net (acres) 157,687 107,940----------------------------------------------------------------------------(1) Funds flow from operations is calculated using cash flow from operations as presented in the statement of cash flows before non-cash working capital and asset retirement expenditures. Funds flow from operations is used to analyze the Company's operating performance and does not have a standardized measure prescribed by International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") and therefore may not be comparable with the calculations of similar measures for other companies.(2) Current assets less current liabilities excluding fair value of derivative instruments.(3) Product prices include realized gains or losses from physical fixed price contracts.(4) Oil equivalent price includes minor sulphur sales revenue.(5) Operating netback equals oil and gas revenues including realized hedging gains and losses on commodity related contracts less royalties, operating costs and transportation costs calculated on a boe basis. Operating netback does not have a standardized measure prescribed by IFRS and therefore may not be comparable with the calculations of similar measures for other companies.



2012 FINANCIAL AND OPERATING HIGHLIGHTS

-- Increased average production to 2,768 boe/d, a gain of 17% over 2011 despite selling 218 boe/d early in the year, and exited 2012 at a record level of over 4,000 boe/d. Fourth quarter production rose to a new quarterly high of 3,339 boe/d, up 36% from the same period of 2011 and a 30% increase over the 2012 third quarter.-- Crude oil and liquids volumes grew 44% compared to the fourth quarter of 2011,to a record 1,480 bbls/d, of which 71% is oil and condensate, and represents 44% of total production.-- Reduced annual operating costs 13% to $10.13/boe from $11.61/boe a year ago, while fourth quarter operating expenses fell 26% to $9.25/boe versus $12.42/boe recorded in the same period of 2011.-- Increased proved plus probable reserves by 30% to 29.6 mmboe, highlighted by a 47% increase in proved plus probable crude oil and liquids reserves to 7.3 mmbbls and grew proved reserves by 33% to 17.1 mmboe.-- Replaced 2012 production of 1,013 mboe by 5.6 times and 8.4 times with proved and proved plus probable reserves additions, respectively.-- Invested $59.9 million in capital expenditures, including $7.0 million on land acquisitions in our core areas and $44.8 million on drilling and completion activities, resulting in the successful drilling of 13 (7.8 net) wells with a 100% success rate.-- Executed a $19.4 million strategic disposition of 218 boe/d at Leduc Woodbend in central Alberta at attractive metrics of approximately $89,000/flowing boe and $28/boe for proved plus probable reserves. The sale facilitated capital expansion and significant growth in the Company's core operating area of Inga, British Columbia. Following a successful four- well drilling program conducted late in the year, Leduc Woodbend volumes are back above pre-disposition production levels at approximately 650 boe/d.-- Achieved all-in finding, development and acquisition ("FD&A") costs, including future development costs ("FDC"), of $10.96/boe on proved plus probable reserves and $13.39/boe on proved reserves. Finding and development costs were $12.37/boe on a proved plus probable basis, including FDC but excluding acquisitions and dispositions.-- Achieved a top tier recycle ratio of 2.3 times based on proved plus probable FD&A costs of $10.96/boe and Artek's fourth quarter 2012 operating netback of $25.47/boe.-- Increased proved plus probable reserves value 17% to $257.4 million (before tax at 10% discount), despite lower overall crude oil and natural gas prices utilized in the current reserves report prepared by the independent engineers.-- Increased undeveloped land acreage 12% to 120,846 net acres.-- Net asset value at December 31, 2012 increased to approximately $251 million or $4.51 per diluted share.-- Increased operating bank line to $65 million, while maintaining the acquisition/development line of credit at $10 million.



(i) More detailed information in respect of the results of Artek's independent reserves evaluation for the year ended December 31, 2012 (the "Sproule Report") as evaluated by Sproule Associates Limited ("Sproule"), capital efficiencies including finding and development costs and finding, development and acquisition costs and related information was contained in Artek's press release dated March 7, 2013 and will be contained in Artek's Annual Information Form to be filed on SEDAR on or before March 31, 2013. It should not be assumed that the discounted future net revenues estimated by Sproule represent the fair market value of the reserves.

OPERATIONS UPDATE AND 2013 OUTLOOK

Artek previously announced a 2013 capital expenditure budget of $55 million to $58 million, which contemplates the drilling of approximately 14 to 15 (8 to 9 net) wells. The program consists of up to 10 (6.1 net) horizontal wells at Inga/Fireweed targeting Doig and Montney oil, condensate and natural gas, 3 to 4 (1.2 to 1.6 net) vertical wells in the Leduc Woodbend area and 1 (1.0 net) horizontal well in the Peace River Arch area of Alberta. The drilling program is weighted 100% towards projects targeting oil and condensate, with associated natural gas. After a production focused year in 2012, driven by the validation of the Company's Inga Doig play and a development program at Leduc Woodbend, Artek expects to allocate up to 30% of its planned capital investment on exploration projects and the potential value upside they may represent.

Depending on weather conditions, Artek currently anticipates that it will have two to three Doig horizontal wells and up to two Montney horizontal wells or a total of four to five wells drilled in the Inga area prior to spring break-up. The Company's first two horizontals are at various stages of testing. The first well, a Montney horizontal, has been completed utilizing a 20-stage water based frac program, has subsequently been drilled out and will begin flowing back on clean up within the next few days with an anticipated clean up period of several weeks. The second well, a Doig horizontal, has been completed using propane and is currently flowing back in-line on clean up. The third and fourth horizontals targeting the Doig formation are from a common pad in order to maximize operational efficiencies. The first well of the pair has been drilled to total depth with the packer assembly landed and the second well is currently drilling in the vertical section of the well. Both wells are expected to be completed back-to-back during the latter part of April. The Company plans to spud a fifth horizontal well into breakup season if surface conditions allow. In parallel with its drilling activity and expected production increases, Artek is investing approximately $5 million ($3 million net) to expand its Inga facility from approximately 17 mmcf/d to a licence capacity of 30 mmcf/d. The expansion is scheduled to be completed in the middle of the second quarter of 2013. The Company's investments in facility and sales line optimization in late 2012 have increased the average liquids yield from its Doig natural gas at third party facilities from approximately 15 bbls/mmcf to approximately 30 bbls/mmcf on average in early 2013 which is above and beyond the free liquids Artek gets at its own facility. The Company is continuing to investigate ways to further increase this yield as Artek's production base grows in the Inga area.

At Leduc Woodbend, Artek assumed operatorship of the pool and battery in the fourth quarter of 2012. The Company drilled four wells late in the year targeting Glauconite oil, and as a result, increased production from 380 boe/d recorded earlier in the year to approximately 650 boe/d on 2012 exit. During the first quarter of 2013, an additional three (1.2 net) vertical development wells have been drilled and turned over to production in the past week. Over the last six months, the Company has improved production in the pool by over 65% and increased water injection into the pool commensurately to maintain voidage replacement.

Following spring breakup, current plans call for up to an additional five wells in the greater Inga/Fireweed area, including exploration horizontals targeting the Doig formation at Fireweed and at south Inga, and potentially an additional exploration horizontal targeting the Montney in the Inga area. An additional development well is possible at Leduc Woodbend, and an exploration well is also planned in the Mulligan region of the Peace River Arch targeting light Triassic oil using the Spirit River and Cecil developments as analogues. The Company has over 55 sections of land in what Artek maps as the light oil window for the Triassic.

Assuming the capital program is carried out as currently budgeted, 2013 average production is forecast to be approximately 4,000 boe/d, of which approximately 43% to 44% is forecast to comprise crude oil and NGLs representing more than 40% growth over Artek's 2012 average production. Exit production is forecast to be approximately 4,300 to 4,400 boe/d. Assuming 2013 commodity prices of $3.00/GJ AECO for natural gas and US$95.00/bbl WTI for crude oil, the Company forecasts 2013 annual cash flow of approximately $34 million to $36 million.

The Company continues to maintain financial flexibility and a strong balance sheet with a $65 million operating line of credit plus a $10 million development line. Artek's estimated working capital deficiency at the end of February was approximately $58 million. On March 11, 2013, the Company announced that it has entered into an agreement with a syndicate of underwriters pursuant to which Artek has agreed to issue 8,700,000 common shares at a price of $3.45 per share and 2,150,000 flow-through shares at a price of $4.20 per share for aggregate gross proceeds of approximately $39,045,000. The offering is expected to close on or about March 28, 2013. Proceeds of the offering will initially be used to reduce bank indebtedness thereby freeing up additional borrowing capacity to fund a portion of the Company's ongoing capital program. Artek's budget is reviewed on an ongoing basis in the context of operational results, commodity prices and the strength of its balance sheet.

2012 FOURTH QUARTER FINANCIAL SUMMARY

Artek's average production for the three-month period ending December 31, 2012 was 3,339 boe/d (44% liquids), up 36% from 2011 and up 30% from the 2012 third quarter. Exit volumes for 2012 were in excess of 4,000 boe/d, of which approximately 44% were liquids. Fourth quarter cash flow increased 16% to $6.7 million from the same period of 2011 and 115% over 2012 third quarter cash flow. The Company's year-over-year operating costs per boe dropped 26% to $9.25/boe primarily as a result of increasing production volumes from our Inga property, which had operating costs of approximately $7.25/boe. The Company's operating netback was $25.47/boe in the fourth quarter up 37% from the 2012 third quarter, while general and administrative costs and interest expenses fell approximately 30% on a boe basis to a combined $3.67/boe from the previous quarter.

The Company's fourth quarter loss of $9.9 million was the result of a $15.3 million ($11.5 million net of deferred income tax reduction) impairment of its natural gas producing properties in the Deep Basin area of northeastern British Columbia/northwestern Alberta and the Peace River Arch region of northwestern Alberta due to declines in the price forecasts for natural gas and crude oil. The impairments were required under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") even though, on a total Company basis, Artek had a significant ceiling test cushion of approximately $91 million when its properties at Inga, British Columbia and Leduc Woodbend, which have significant liquids, were included.

NET ASSET VALUE

The following table provides management's calculation of Artek's estimated net asset value at December 31, 2012 based on the estimated future net revenues associated with Artek's proved plus probable reserves before income tax and discounted at 10% as presented in the Sproule Report and an independent third party evaluation of Artek's undeveloped land.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ($ thousands)----------------------------------------------------------------------------Proved plus probable reserves - discounted at 10% 257,357Undeveloped Land (note 1) 35,559Working capital deficiency as at December 31, 2012 (note 2) (48,897)Proceeds from dilutive stock options 7,008----------------------------------------------------------------------------Net asset value 251,027Diluted Common shares outstanding (thousands) 55,608----------------------------------------------------------------------------Net asset value per share (note 3) 4.51--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Notes:(1) Based on an independent land evaluation provided by Seaton Jordan & Associates Ltd. effective December 31, 2012, the details of which were provided in Artek's March 7, 2013 press release.(2) Working capital deficiency includes the Company's accounts receivable less accounts payable and accrued liabilities and bank debt and derivative instruments as at December 31, 2012.(3) Numbers reflected above are before the above noted equity financing.



ADVISORIES

Forward Looking Statements: This press release contains forward-looking statements. Management's assessment of future plans and operations and the timing thereof, future results from operations, production estimates including 2013 average and exit production, commodity mix, initial production rates, estimated payout of wells, the Company's 2013 capital expenditure plans including the number and locations of wells to be drilled, productive capacity of new wells, including the potential of the Company's exploration wells at Inga, financial capacity to carry out its planned 2013 capital program, completion of the financing and timing thereof, estimate of working capital deficiency, commodity price forecasts and the Company's estimated net debt and 2013 cash flow may constitute forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws and necessarily involve risks including, without limitation, risks associated with oil and gas exploration, development, exploitation, production, marketing and transportation, loss of markets, volatility of commodity prices, currency fluctuations, imprecision of reserve estimates, environmental risks, competition from other producers, inability to retain drilling rigs and other services, incorrect assessment of the value of acquisitions, failure to realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions, the inability to fully realize the benefits of the acquisitions, delays resulting from or inability to obtain required regulatory approvals and ability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources. As a consequence, the Company's actual results may differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, the forward looking statements. Forward looking statements or information are based on a number of factors and assumptions which have been used to develop such statements and information but which may prove to be incorrect. Although Artek believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements or information are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on forward looking statements because the Company can give no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct.

The recovery and reserve estimates of Artek's reserves provided herein are estimates only and there is no guarantee that the estimated reserves will be recovered. In addition to other factors and assumptions which may be identified in this document and other documents filed by the Company, assumptions have been made regarding, among other things: the impact of increasing competition; the general stability of the economic and political environment in which Artek operates; the ability of the Company to obtain qualified staff, equipment and services in a timely and cost efficient manner; drilling results; the ability of the operator of the projects which the Company has an interest in to operate the field in a safe, efficient and effective manner; Artek's ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms; field production rates and decline rates; the ability to replace and expand oil and natural gas reserves through acquisition, development or exploration; the timing and costs of pipeline, storage and facility construction and expansion; the ability of the Company to secure adequate product transportation; future oil and natural gas prices; currency, exchange and interest rates; the regulatory framework regarding royalties, taxes and environmental matters in the jurisdictions in which the Company operates; and Artek's ability to successfully market its oil and natural gas products. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. Additional information on these and other factors that could affect the Company's operations and financial results are included in reports on file with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and may be accessed through the SEDAR website (www.sedar.com) or at the Company's website (www.artekexploration.com). Furthermore, the forward looking statements contained in this document are made as at the date of this document and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or to revise any of the included forward looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by applicable securities laws.

BOE Conversions: Barrel of oil equivalent ("BOE") amounts may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A BOE conversion ratio has been calculated using a conversion rate of six thousand cubic feet of natural gas to one barrel. This conversion ratio of six thousand cubic feet of natural gas to one barrel is based on an energy equivalent conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. Given that the value ratio based on the current price of crude oil as compared to natural gas is significantly different from the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing a conversion ratio on a 6:1 basis may be misleading as an indication of value.

Net asset value calculations: in relation to the disclosure of net asset value ("NAV"), the NAV table shows what is normally referred to as a "produce out" NAV calculation under which the current value of the Company's reserves would be produced at forecast future prices and costs and do not necessarily represent a "going concern" value of the Company. The value is a snapshot in time and is based on various assumptions including commodity price forecasts and foreign exchange rates that vary over time. It should not be assumed that the future net revenues estimated by Sproule represent the fair market value of the reserves, nor should it be assumed that Artek's estimated value for its undeveloped land holdings represent the current fair market value of the lands.

Artek is a crude oil and natural gas exploration, development and production company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Artek's shares trade on the TSX under the symbol "RTK".



Contacts:
Artek Exploration Ltd.
Darryl Metcalfe
President and Chief Executive Officer
(403) 296-4799

Artek Exploration Ltd.
Darcy Anderson
Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer
(403) 296-4775
www.artekexploration.com