During the release of Q3 2017 results, Bill Way, the CEO and President of Southwestern Energy Company (NYSE:SWN), expressed that the implementation of their plan continued to offer robust results in the third quarter. Through technological advancements, processing and gathering deals, improving debt maturity schedule, and strategic negotiation of transportation, they are leading material shareholder value and positioning company for increased value creation in 2018 and beyond.
The operating income for the E&P division improved to $64 million for the Q3 2017, versus an operating loss of $777 million in the same quarter of 2016 that comprised an $817 million impairment charges of oil and natural gas properties during the comparable period last year. The jump in operating income was mainly following the absence of impairments and restructuring expenses and higher realized natural gas and liquids rates, partly offset by higher operating costs.
Operating income for the midstream segment, comprised of marketing and gathering activities, was $46 million for the Q3 2017, which comprised a gain on sale of equipment amounting to $3 million, compared to $52 million for the comparable period in 2016. The drop in operating income was mainly due to a drop in volumes gathered leading from lower manufacturing volumes in the Fayetteville Shale.
Southwestern Energy continues to enhance capital efficiency with drilling advancements, increasing recoveries and lowering costs. The firm set two drilling records in the respective quarter. The first drilling record was on the John Hupp 3H in West Virginia, where over 6,200 feet of lateral was drilled 100% in an area of a 15-foot target window, establishing a new 24-hour drilling record. Another was on the William Rogers 405H well in West Virginia, which was made to a total depth of 13,927 feet in not more than ten days from rig launch to rig release. These results demonstrate how advanced know-how is improving operational performance.