Oil and gas MLP EV Energy Partners (NASDAQ: EVEP ) reported first-quarter results before the opening bell this morning. The company announced that its adjusted first-quarter EBITDAX was $56.1 million, 15% higher than the first quarter of last year and a 4% improvement over last quarter. An increase in production as well as higher earnings from its midstream segment both contributed to the gain in underlying cash flow.
First-quarter production for EV Energy Partners' oil and gas segment was 174.7 MMcfe. That is 6% higher than the first quarter of last year and a 2% improvement from the prior quarter. A combination of acquisitions and drilling activities led to the boost in production.
Meanwhile, EV Energy Partners' midstream segment continues to expand. In addition to announcing solid first-quarter results from its midstream segment, EV Energy Partners also announced that it, along with its joint venture partners, would be expanding the Utica East Ohio midstream service complex's capacity from 800 MMcf/d to 1.0 Bcf/d. That increased capacity is needed to serve the growing production from the Utica Shale play.
The combination of upstream oil and gas production along with midstream earnings yielded $28.6 million in distributable cash flow for EV Energy Partners' unit holders. That's 31% higher than the first quarter of last year and 7% more than last quarter. However, it was still well below the $37.5 million the company distributed to its investors in the quarter.
Still, CEO Mark Houser noted in the company's earnings releases that he is "very pleased with our operational performance and results in the first quarter" as well as the ramp-up of the company's midstream activities in the Utica Shale and the future expansion of Utica East Ohio. These activities are important for the company's ability to generate sufficient cash flow to pay its distribution to investors.