Antero Resources (AR) focused on operational efficiency in 2023, and executives told investors during the first-quarter earnings call on April 25 that not much will change in 2024.

“As I started my comments off last quarter, the year 2023 was a transformational year for Antero for operational efficiency gains,” said Paul Rady, Antero president, chairman and CEO. “This year, 2024, continues that trend.”

With a focus on tight spending, Antero reported a ratio of capex per produced Mcfe of $0.55, while others in Antero’s peer group costs averaged $0.90, according to the company’s research. Antero has also focused on the more profitable liquids segment of its portfolio.

The efficiencies have allowed Antero to increase production in a time of low natural gas prices, while other producers have focused on either reducing gas production or keeping it flat. Net production averaged 3.4 Bcfe/d, a 5% increase compared to first-quarter 2023. Liquids production increased to 202,000 bbl/d, an increase of 8% over the same period last year.

The company’s NGL and crude production now makes up 35% of its total profile. Net income for the quarter came in at $36 million.

Over the first quarter, the company used its NGL resources to drive revenue, taking advantage of record propane demand globally. China placed three new propane dehydrogenation (PDH) facilities in service since January, with another three expected to start up by midyear. The total capacity additions in China amount to 170,000 bbl/d.

U.S. propane exports have so far increased by 14% over the 2023 daily average, said David Cannelongo, Antero senior vice president for liquids marketing and transportation. For the week ending April 19, the U.S. exported an all-time high of 2.3 MMbbl/d of propane.

“The U.S. remains the most important source of waterborne export LPG to meet fast-growing global demand,” Cannelongo said.

Antero has been able to leverage its delivery network to maximize revenue. The firm delivers all of its natural gas out of its Appalachian Basin production zones. Three-quarters of the gas goes into LNG production, meaning the company can take advantage of higher prices at the Henry Hub.

The premium at the Henry Hub can be $1 to $2 higher per MMBtu than at the regional hubs, the company reported.

For the remainder of the year, Antero executives said they plan to continue with the same operational strategy. The company’s share price rose more than $2 after releasing its earnings report on April 25, trading at $33.86 as the week ended.

“Operationally, the company had little new to add (during the first quarter earnings call), and as the highest performing E&P YTD in our coverage, frankly it makes sense to keep it simple,” Truist Securities wrote in an analysis on April 25.