NATIONAL FUEL GAS CO, 10-Q filed on 2/2/2018
Quarterly Report
Document And Entity Information
3 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2017
Jan. 31, 2018
Document And Entity Information [Abstract]
 
 
Document Type
10-Q 
 
Amendment Flag
false 
 
Document Period End Date
Dec. 31, 2017 
 
Document Fiscal Year Focus
2018 
 
Document Fiscal Period Focus
Q1 
 
Entity Registrant Name
NATIONAL FUEL GAS CO 
 
Entity Central Index Key
0000070145 
 
Current Fiscal Year End Date
--09-30 
 
Entity Filer Category
Large Accelerated Filer 
 
Entity Common Stock, Shares Outstanding
 
85,801,778 
Trading Symbol
nfg 
 
Consolidated Statements Of Income And Earnings Reinvested In The Business (Unaudited) (USD $)
In Thousands, except Share data, unless otherwise specified
3 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2017
Dec. 31, 2016
INCOME
 
 
Operating Revenues
$ 419,655 
$ 422,500 
Operating Expenses:
 
 
Purchased Gas
94,034 
70,243 
Property, Franchise and Other Taxes
20,848 
20,379 
Depreciation, Depletion and Amortization
55,830 
56,196 
Total Operating Expenses
277,660 
250,361 
Operating Income
141,995 
172,139 
Other Income (Expense):
 
 
Interest Income
2,249 
1,600 
Other Income
1,722 
1,614 
Interest Expense on Long-Term Debt
(28,087)
(29,103)
Other Interest Expense
(502)
(910)
Income Before Income Taxes
117,377 
145,340 
Income Tax Expense (Benefit)
(81,277)
56,432 
Net Income Available for Common Stock
198,654 
88,908 
EARNINGS REINVESTED IN THE BUSINESS
 
 
Balance at Beginning of Period
851,669 
676,361 
Beginning Retained Earnings Unappropriated And Current Period Net Income
1,050,323 
765,269 
Dividends on Common Stock
(35,590)
(34,544)
Cumulative Effect of Adoption of Authoritative Guidance for Stock-Based Compensation
31,916 
Balance at December 31
1,014,733 
762,641 
Earnings Per Common Share, Basic:
 
 
Net Income Available for Common Stock (in dollars per share)
$ 2.32 
$ 1.04 
Earnings Per Common Share, Diluted:
 
 
Net Income Available for Common Stock (in dollars per share)
$ 2.30 
$ 1.04 
Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding:
 
 
Used in Basic Calculation (shares)
85,630,296 
85,189,851 
Used in Diluted Calculation (shares)
86,325,537 
85,797,989 
Dividends Per Common Share:
 
 
Dividends Declared (in dollars per share)
$ 0.415 
$ 0.405 
Utility and Energy Marketing [Member]
 
 
INCOME
 
 
Operating Revenues
225,725 
207,780 
Operating Expenses:
 
 
Operation and Maintenance
51,369 
50,422 
Exploration and Production and Other [Member]
 
 
INCOME
 
 
Operating Revenues
140,450 
161,694 
Operating Expenses:
 
 
Operation and Maintenance
35,542 
30,461 
Pipeline and Storage and Gathering [Member]
 
 
INCOME
 
 
Operating Revenues
53,480 
53,026 
Operating Expenses:
 
 
Operation and Maintenance
$ 20,037 
$ 22,660 
Consolidated Statements Of Comprehensive Income (Unaudited) (USD $)
In Thousands, unless otherwise specified
3 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2017
Dec. 31, 2016
Statement of Comprehensive Income [Abstract]
 
 
Net Income Available for Common Stock
$ 198,654 
$ 88,908 
Other Comprehensive Income (Loss), Before Tax:
 
 
Unrealized Gain (Loss) on Securities Available for Sale Arising During the Period
(44)
(883)
Unrealized Gain (Loss) on Derivative Financial Instruments Arising During the Period
(5,499)
(52,501)
Reclassification Adjustment for Realized (Gains) Losses on Securities Available for Sale in Net Income
(430)
(741)
Reclassification Adjustment for Realized (Gains) Losses on Derivative Financial Instruments in Net Income
(12,548)
(30,717)
Other Comprehensive Loss, Before Tax
(18,521)
(84,842)
Income Tax Expense (Benefit) Related to Unrealized Gain (Loss) on Securities Available for Sale Arising During the Period
(65)
(344)
Income Tax Expense (Benefit) Related to Unrealized Gain (Loss) on Derivative Financial Instruments Arising During the Period
(2,305)
(22,052)
Reclassification Adjustment for Income Tax Benefit (Expense) on Realized Losses (Gains) from Securities Available for Sale in Net Income
(158)
(273)
Reclassification Adjustment for Income Tax Benefit (Expense) on Realized Losses (Gains) from Derivative Financial Instruments in Net Income
(5,197)
(12,954)
Income Taxes – Net
(7,725)
(35,623)
Other Comprehensive Loss
(10,796)
(49,219)
Comprehensive Income
$ 187,858 
$ 39,689 
Consolidated Balance Sheets (Unaudited) (USD $)
In Thousands, unless otherwise specified
Dec. 31, 2017
Sep. 30, 2017
ASSETS
 
 
Property, Plant and Equipment
$ 10,023,252 
$ 9,945,560 
Less - Accumulated Depreciation, Depletion and Amortization
5,294,211 
5,271,486 
Property, Plant and Equipment, Net, Total
4,729,041 
4,674,074 
Current Assets
 
 
Cash and Temporary Cash Investments
166,289 
555,530 
Hedging Collateral Deposits
4,465 1
1,741 1
Receivables – Net of Allowance for Uncollectible Accounts of $24,511 and $22,526, Respectively
161,029 
112,383 
Unbilled Revenue
74,790 
22,883 
Gas Stored Underground
24,139 
35,689 
Materials and Supplies - at average cost
35,139 
33,926 
Unrecovered Purchased Gas Costs
7,787 
4,623 
Other Current Assets
47,914 
51,505 
Total Current Assets
521,552 
818,280 
Other Assets
 
 
Recoverable Future Taxes
116,792 
181,363 
Unamortized Debt Expense
8,148 
1,159 
Other Regulatory Assets
174,577 
174,433 
Deferred Charges
34,063 
30,047 
Other Investments
123,368 
125,265 
Goodwill
5,476 
5,476 
Prepaid Post-Retirement Benefit Costs
57,054 
56,370 
Fair Value of Derivative Financial Instruments
21,107 
36,111 
Other
754 
742 
Total Other Assets
541,339 
610,966 
Total Assets
5,791,932 
6,103,320 
Capitalization:
 
 
Common Stock, $1 Par Value Authorized - 200,000,000 Shares; Issued and Outstanding - 85,760,846 Shares and 85,543,125 Shares, Respectively
85,761 
85,543 
Paid in Capital
800,348 
796,646 
Earnings Reinvested in the Business
1,014,733 
851,669 
Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss
(40,919)
(30,123)
Total Comprehensive Shareholders’ Equity
1,859,923 
1,703,735 
Long-Term Debt, Net of Current Portion and Unamortized Discount and Debt Issuance Costs
2,084,465 
2,083,681 
Total Capitalization
3,944,388 
3,787,416 
Current and Accrued Liabilities
 
 
Notes Payable to Banks and Commercial Paper
Current Portion of Long-Term Debt
300,000 
Accounts Payable
132,409 
126,443 
Amounts Payable to Customers
251 
Dividends Payable
35,590 
35,500 
Interest Payable on Long-Term Debt
27,962 
35,031 
Customer Advances
18,398 
15,701 
Customer Security Deposits
22,503 
20,372 
Other Accruals and Current Liabilities
121,596 
111,889 
Fair Value of Derivative Financial Instruments
6,579 
1,103 
Total Current and Accrued Liabilities
365,288 
646,039 
Deferred Credits
 
 
Deferred Income Taxes
453,285 
891,287 
Taxes Refundable to Customers
366,768 
95,739 
Cost of Removal Regulatory Liability
205,554 
204,630 
Other Regulatory Liabilities
118,551 
113,716 
Pension and Other Post-Retirement Liabilities
125,055 
149,079 
Asset Retirement Obligations
106,516 
106,395 
Other Deferred Credits
106,527 
109,019 
Total Deferred Credits
1,482,256 
1,669,865 
Commitments and Contingencies (Note 6)
Total Capitalization and Liabilities
$ 5,791,932 
$ 6,103,320 
Consolidated Balance Sheets (Parenthetical) (USD $)
In Thousands, except Share data, unless otherwise specified
Dec. 31, 2017
Sep. 30, 2017
Statement of Financial Position [Abstract]
 
 
Receivables, Allowance for Uncollectible Accounts
$ 24,511 
$ 22,526 
Common Stock, Par Value
$ 1 
$ 1 
Common Stock, Shares Authorized
200,000,000 
200,000,000 
Common Stock, Shares Issued
85,760,846 
85,543,125 
Common Stock, Shares Outstanding
85,760,846 
85,543,125 
Consolidated Statements Of Cash Flows (Unaudited) (USD $)
In Thousands, unless otherwise specified
3 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2017
Dec. 31, 2016
OPERATING ACTIVITIES
 
 
Net Income Available for Common Stock
$ 198,654 
$ 88,908 
Adjustments to Reconcile Net Income to Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities:
 
 
Depreciation, Depletion and Amortization
55,830 
56,196 
Deferred Income Taxes
(94,676)
44,852 
Stock-Based Compensation
3,905 
2,482 
Other
3,678 
3,607 
Change in:
 
 
Hedging Collateral Deposits
(2,724)
1,484 
Receivables and Unbilled Revenue
(83,357)
(67,395)
Gas Stored Underground and Materials and Supplies
10,337 
10,597 
Unrecovered Purchased Gas Costs
(3,164)
(1,257)
Other Current Assets
3,591 
9,576 
Accounts Payable
13,173 
18,805 
Amounts Payable to Customers
251 
(16,306)
Customer Advances
2,697 
(983)
Customer Security Deposits
2,131 
673 
Other Accruals and Current Liabilities
11,532 
5,919 
Other Assets
(5,275)
(8,389)
Other Liabilities
(21,775)
(4,122)
Net Cash Provided by Operating Activities
94,808 
144,647 
INVESTING ACTIVITIES
 
 
Capital Expenditures
(142,613)
(106,053)
Net Proceeds from Sale of Oil and Gas Producing Properties
5,759 
Other
2,612 
(4,297)
Net Cash Used in Investing Activities
(140,001)
(104,591)
Financing Activities
 
 
Reduction of Long-Term Debt
307,047 
Dividends Paid on Common Stock
(35,500)
(34,473)
Net Proceeds from Issuance (Repurchase) of Common Stock
(1,501)
938 
Net Cash Used in Financing Activities
(344,048)
(33,535)
Net Increase (Decrease) in Cash and Temporary Cash Investments
(389,241)
6,521 
Cash and Temporary Cash Investments at October 1
555,530 
129,972 
Cash and Temporary Cash Investments at December 31
166,289 
136,493 
Supplemental Disclosure of Cash Flow Information, Non-Cash Investing Activities:
 
 
Non-Cash Capital Expenditures
56,116 
48,965 
Receivable from Sale of Oil and Gas Producing Properties
$ 17,310 
$ 20,795 
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies
Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
 
Principles of Consolidation.  The Company consolidates all entities in which it has a controlling financial interest.  All significant intercompany balances and transactions are eliminated. The Company uses proportionate consolidation when accounting for drilling arrangements related to oil and gas producing properties accounted for under the full cost method of accounting.
 
The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period.  Actual results could differ from those estimates.

Earnings for Interim Periods.  The Company, in its opinion, has included all adjustments (which consist of only normally recurring adjustments, unless otherwise disclosed in this Form 10-Q) that are necessary for a fair statement of the results of operations for the reported periods. The consolidated financial statements and notes thereto, included herein, should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and notes for the years ended September 30, 2017, 2016 and 2015 that are included in the Company's 2017 Form 10-K.  The consolidated financial statements for the year ended September 30, 2018 will be audited by the Company's independent registered public accounting firm after the end of the fiscal year.
 
The earnings for the three months ended December 31, 2017 should not be taken as a prediction of earnings for the entire fiscal year ending September 30, 2018.  Most of the business of the Utility and Energy Marketing segments is seasonal in nature and is influenced by weather conditions.  Due to the seasonal nature of the heating business in the Utility and Energy Marketing segments, earnings during the winter months normally represent a substantial part of the earnings that those segments are expected to achieve for the entire fiscal year.  The Company’s business segments are discussed more fully in Note 7 – Business Segment Information.
 
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.  For purposes of the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows, the Company considers all highly liquid debt instruments purchased with a maturity of generally three months or less to be cash equivalents.
 
Hedging Collateral Deposits.  This is an account title for cash held in margin accounts funded by the Company to serve as collateral for hedging positions.  In accordance with its accounting policy, the Company does not offset hedging collateral deposits paid or received against related derivative financial instruments liability or asset balances.
 
Gas Stored Underground.  In the Utility segment, gas stored underground is carried at lower of cost or net realizable value, on a LIFO method.  Gas stored underground normally declines during the first and second quarters of the year and is replenished during the third and fourth quarters.  In the Utility segment, the current cost of replacing gas withdrawn from storage is recorded in the Consolidated Statements of Income and a reserve for gas replacement is recorded in the Consolidated Balance Sheets under the caption “Other Accruals and Current Liabilities.”  Such reserve, which amounted to $1.7 million at December 31, 2017, is reduced to zero by September 30 of each year as the inventory is replenished.
 
Property, Plant and Equipment.  In the Company’s Exploration and Production segment, oil and gas property acquisition, exploration and development costs are capitalized under the full cost method of accounting. Under this methodology, all costs associated with property acquisition, exploration and development activities are capitalized, including internal costs directly identified with acquisition, exploration and development activities. The internal costs that are capitalized do not include any costs related to production, general corporate overhead, or similar activities. The Company does not recognize any gain or loss on the sale or other disposition of oil and gas properties unless the gain or loss would significantly alter the relationship between capitalized costs and proved reserves of oil and gas attributable to a cost center.
 
Capitalized costs include costs related to unproved properties, which are excluded from amortization until proved reserves are found or it is determined that the unproved properties are impaired.  Such costs amounted to $77.1 million and $80.9 million at December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017, respectively.  All costs related to unproved properties are reviewed quarterly to determine if impairment has occurred. The amount of any impairment is transferred to the pool of capitalized costs being amortized.
 
Capitalized costs are subject to the SEC full cost ceiling test. The ceiling test, which is performed each quarter, determines a limit, or ceiling, on the amount of property acquisition, exploration and development costs that can be capitalized. The ceiling under this test represents (a) the present value of estimated future net cash flows, excluding future cash outflows associated with settling asset retirement obligations that have been accrued on the balance sheet, using a discount factor of 10%, which is computed by applying prices of oil and gas (as adjusted for hedging) to estimated future production of proved oil and gas reserves as of the date of the latest balance sheet, less estimated future expenditures, plus (b) the cost of unevaluated properties not being depleted, less (c) income tax effects related to the differences between the book and tax basis of the properties. The natural gas and oil prices used to calculate the full cost ceiling are based on an unweighted arithmetic average of the first day of the month oil and gas prices for each month within the twelve-month period prior to the end of the reporting period. If capitalized costs, net of accumulated depreciation, depletion and amortization and related deferred income taxes, exceed the ceiling at the end of any quarter, a permanent impairment is required to be charged to earnings in that quarter.  At December 31, 2017, the ceiling exceeded the book value of the oil and gas properties by approximately $334.6 million. In adjusting estimated future cash flows for hedging under the ceiling test at December 31, 2017, estimated future net cash flows were increased by $18.0 million.

On December 1, 2015, Seneca and IOG - CRV Marcellus, LLC (IOG), an affiliate of IOG Capital, LP, and funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, LLC, executed a joint development agreement that allows IOG to participate in the development of certain oil and gas interests owned by Seneca in Elk, McKean and Cameron Counties, Pennsylvania. On June 13, 2016, Seneca and IOG executed an extension of the joint development agreement. Under the terms of the extended agreement, Seneca and IOG will jointly participate in a program to develop up to 75 Marcellus wells, with Seneca serving as program operator. IOG will hold an 80% working interest in all of the joint development wells. In total, IOG is expected to fund approximately $305 million for its 80% working interest in the 75 joint development wells. Of this amount, IOG has funded $267.1 million as of December 31, 2017, which includes $163.9 million of cash ($137.3 million in fiscal 2016 and $26.6 million in fiscal 2017) shown as Net Proceeds from Sale of Oil and Gas Producing Properties on the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017. Such proceeds from sale represent funding received from IOG for costs previously incurred by Seneca to develop a portion of the 75 joint development wells. A receivable of $17.3 million has been recorded at December 31, 2017 in recognition of additional IOG funding that is due to Seneca for costs incurred by Seneca to develop a portion of the 75 joint development wells. This receivable has been shown as a Non-Cash Investing Activity on the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows for the quarter ended December 31, 2017. As the fee-owner of the property’s mineral rights, Seneca currently retains a 7.5% royalty interest and the remaining 20% working interest (26% net revenue interest) in 56 of the joint development wells. In the remaining 19 wells, Seneca retains a 20% working and net revenue interest. Seneca’s working interest under the agreement will increase to 85% after IOG achieves a 15% internal rate of return.
Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss.  The components of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss and changes for the three months ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, net of related tax effect, are as follows (amounts in parentheses indicate debits) (in thousands): 
 
Gains and Losses on Derivative Financial Instruments
Gains and Losses on Securities Available for Sale
Funded Status of the Pension and Other Post-Retirement Benefit Plans
Total
Three Months Ended December 31, 2017
 
 
 
 
Balance at October 1, 2017
$
20,801

$
7,562

$
(58,486
)
$
(30,123
)
Other Comprehensive Gains and Losses Before Reclassifications
(3,194
)
21


(3,173
)
Amounts Reclassified From Other Comprehensive Loss
(7,351
)
(272
)

(7,623
)
Balance at December 31, 2017
$
10,256

$
7,311

$
(58,486
)
$
(40,919
)
Three Months Ended December 31, 2016
 
 
 
 
Balance at October 1, 2016
$
64,782

$
6,054

$
(76,476
)
$
(5,640
)
Other Comprehensive Gains and Losses Before Reclassifications
(30,449
)
(539
)

(30,988
)
Amounts Reclassified From Other Comprehensive Loss
(17,763
)
(468
)

(18,231
)
Balance at December 31, 2016
$
16,570

$
5,047

$
(76,476
)
$
(54,859
)
 
 
 
 
 

Reclassifications Out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss.  The details about the reclassification adjustments out of accumulated other comprehensive loss for the three months ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 are as follows (amounts in parentheses indicate debits to the income statement) (in thousands):
Details About Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss Components
Amount of Gain or (Loss) Reclassified from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss
Affected Line Item in the Statement Where Net Income is Presented
 
Three Months Ended December 31,
 
 
2017
2016
 
Gains (Losses) on Derivative Financial Instrument Cash Flow Hedges:
 
 
 
     Commodity Contracts

$12,842


$31,320

Operating Revenues
     Commodity Contracts
196

(460
)
Purchased Gas
     Foreign Currency Contracts
(490
)
(143
)
Operation and Maintenance Expense
Gains (Losses) on Securities Available for Sale
430

741

Other Income
 
12,978

31,458

Total Before Income Tax
 
(5,355
)
(13,227
)
Income Tax Expense
 

$7,623


$18,231

Net of Tax

Other Current Assets.  The components of the Company’s Other Current Assets are as follows (in thousands):
                            
At December 31, 2017
 
At September 30, 2017
 
 
 
 
Prepayments
$
7,259

 
$
10,927

Prepaid Property and Other Taxes
14,972

 
13,974

State Income Taxes Receivable
9,164

 
9,689

Fair Values of Firm Commitments
3,218

 
1,031

Regulatory Assets
13,301

 
15,884

 
$
47,914

 
$
51,505


 
Other Accruals and Current Liabilities.  The components of the Company’s Other Accruals and Current Liabilities are as follows (in thousands):
                            
At December 31, 2017
 
At September 30, 2017
 
 
 
 
Accrued Capital Expenditures
$
28,488

 
$
37,382

Regulatory Liabilities
38,920

 
34,059

Reserve for Gas Replacement
1,739

 

Federal Income Taxes Payable
8,688

 
1,775

2017 Tax Reform Act Refund
6,000

 

Other
37,761

 
38,673

 
$
121,596

 
$
111,889


 
Earnings Per Common Share.  Basic earnings per common share is computed by dividing income or loss by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding for the period. Diluted earnings per common share reflects the potential dilution that could occur if securities or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised or converted into common stock.  For purposes of determining earnings per common share, the potentially dilutive securities the Company has outstanding are stock options, SARs, restricted stock units and performance shares.  For the quarter ended December 31, 2017, the diluted weighted average shares outstanding shown on the Consolidated Statements of Income reflects the potential dilution as a result of these securities as determined using the Treasury Stock Method.  Stock options, SARs, restricted stock units and performance shares that are antidilutive are excluded from the calculation of diluted earnings per common share. There were 157,603 securities and 317,686 securities excluded as being antidilutive for the quarters ended December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, respectively.
 
Stock-Based Compensation.  The Company granted 208,588 performance shares during the quarter ended December 31, 2017. The weighted average fair value of such performance shares was $50.95 per share for the quarter ended December 31, 2017. Performance shares are an award constituting units denominated in common stock of the Company, the number of which may be adjusted over a performance cycle based upon the extent to which performance goals have been satisfied.  Earned performance shares may be distributed in the form of shares of common stock of the Company, an equivalent value in cash or a combination of cash and shares of common stock of the Company, as determined by the Company. The performance shares do not entitle the participant to receive dividends during the vesting period.
 
Half of the performance shares granted during the quarter ended December 31, 2017 must meet a performance goal related to relative return on capital over the performance cycle of October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2020.  The performance goal over the performance cycle is the Company’s total return on capital relative to the total return on capital of other companies in a group selected by the Compensation Committee (“Report Group”).  Total return on capital for a given company means the average of the Report Group companies’ returns on capital for each twelve month period corresponding to each of the Company’s fiscal years during the performance cycle, based on data reported for the Report Group companies in the Bloomberg database.  The number of these performance shares that will vest and be paid will depend upon the Company’s performance relative to the Report Group and not upon the absolute level of return achieved by the Company.  The fair value of these performance shares is calculated by multiplying the expected number of shares that will be issued by the average market price of Company common stock on the date of grant reduced by the present value of forgone dividends over the vesting term of the award.  The fair value is recorded as compensation expense over the vesting term of the award.  The other half of the performance shares granted during the quarter ended December 31, 2017 must meet a performance goal related to relative total shareholder return over the performance cycle of October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2020.  The performance goal over the performance cycle is the Company’s three-year total shareholder return relative to the three-year total shareholder return of the other companies in the Report Group.  Three-year shareholder return for a given company will be based on the data reported for that company (with the starting and ending stock prices over the performance cycle calculated as the average closing stock price for the prior calendar month and with dividends reinvested in that company’s securities at each ex-dividend date) in the Bloomberg database.  The number of these total shareholder return performance shares ("TSR performance shares") that will vest and be paid will depend upon the Company’s performance relative to the Report Group and not upon the absolute level of return achieved by the Company.  The fair value price at the date of grant for the TSR performance shares is determined using a Monte Carlo simulation technique, which includes a reduction in value for the present value of forgone dividends over the vesting term of the award.  This price is multiplied by the number of TSR performance shares awarded, the result of which is recorded as compensation expense over the vesting term of the award.
 
The Company granted 89,672 non-performance based restricted stock units during the quarter ended December 31, 2017.  The weighted average fair value of such non-performance based restricted stock units was $51.23 per share for the quarter ended December 31, 2017.  Restricted stock units represent the right to receive shares of common stock of the Company (or the equivalent value in cash or a combination of cash and shares of common stock of the Company, as determined by the Company) at the end of a specified time period. These non-performance based restricted stock units do not entitle the participant to receive dividends during the vesting period. The accounting for non-performance based restricted stock units is the same as the accounting for restricted share awards, except that the fair value at the date of grant of the restricted stock units must be reduced by the present value of forgone dividends over the vesting term of the award.
 
New Authoritative Accounting and Financial Reporting Guidance. In May 2014, the FASB issued authoritative guidance regarding revenue recognition. The authoritative guidance provides a single, comprehensive revenue recognition model for all contracts with customers to improve comparability. The revenue standard contains principles that an entity will apply to determine the measurement of revenue and timing of when it is recognized. The original effective date of this authoritative guidance was as of the Company's first quarter of fiscal 2018. However, the FASB has delayed the effective date of the new revenue standard by one year, and the guidance will now be effective as of the Company's first quarter of fiscal 2019. Working towards this implementation date, the Company is currently evaluating the guidance and the various issues identified by industry based revenue recognition task forces. The Company does not believe that its revenue recognition policies will change materially, although the Company is still assessing the impact. The Company will need to enhance its financial statement disclosures to comply with the new authoritative guidance.
In February 2016, the FASB issued authoritative guidance requiring organizations that lease assets to recognize on the balance sheet the assets and liabilities for the rights and obligations created by all leases, regardless of whether they are considered to be capital leases or operating leases. The FASB’s previous authoritative guidance required organizations that lease assets to recognize on the balance sheet the assets and liabilities for the rights and obligations created by capital leases while excluding operating leases from balance sheet recognition. The new authoritative guidance will be effective as of the Company’s first quarter of fiscal 2020, with early adoption permitted. The Company does not anticipate early adoption and is currently evaluating the provisions of the revised guidance.
In March 2016, the FASB issued authoritative guidance simplifying several aspects of the accounting for stock-based compensation. The Company adopted this guidance effective as of October 1, 2016, recognizing a cumulative effect adjustment that increased retained earnings by $31.9 million. The cumulative effect represents the tax benefit of previously unrecognized tax deductions in excess of stock compensation recorded for financial reporting purposes. On a prospective basis, the tax effect of all future differences between stock compensation recorded for financial reporting purposes and actual tax deductions for stock compensation will be recognized upon vesting or settlement as income tax expense or benefit in the income statement. From a statement of cash flows perspective, the tax benefits relating to differences between stock compensation recorded for financial reporting purposes and actual tax deductions for stock compensation are now included in cash provided by operating activities instead of cash provided by financing activities. The changes to the statement of cash flows were applied prospectively at the time of adoption.
In March 2017, the FASB issued authoritative guidance related to the presentation of net periodic pension cost and net periodic postretirement benefit cost. The new guidance requires segregation of the service cost component from the other components of net periodic pension cost and net periodic postretirement benefit cost for financial reporting purposes. The service cost component is to be presented on the income statement in the same line items as other compensation costs included within Operating Expenses and the other components of net periodic pension cost and net periodic postretirement benefit cost are to be presented on the income statement below the subtotal labeled Operating Income (Loss). Under this guidance, the service cost component shall be the only component eligible to be capitalized as part of the cost of inventory or property, plant and equipment. The new guidance will be effective as of the Company’s first quarter of fiscal 2019, with early adoption permitted. The Company does not anticipate early adoption and is currently evaluating the interaction of this authoritative guidance with the various regulatory provisions concerning pension and postretirement benefit costs in the Company’s Utility and Pipeline and Storage segments.
Fair Value Measurements
Fair Value Measurements
Fair Value Measurements
 
The FASB authoritative guidance regarding fair value measurements establishes a fair-value hierarchy and prioritizes the inputs used in valuation techniques that measure fair value. Those inputs are prioritized into three levels. Level 1 inputs are unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for assets or liabilities that the Company can access at the measurement date. Level 2 inputs are inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly at the measurement date. Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs for the asset or liability at the measurement date. The Company’s assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement requires judgment, and may affect the valuation of fair value assets and liabilities and their placement within the fair value hierarchy levels.
 
The following table sets forth, by level within the fair value hierarchy, the Company's financial assets and liabilities (as applicable) that were accounted for at fair value on a recurring basis as of December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017.  Financial assets and liabilities are classified in their entirety based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. The fair value presentation for over the counter swaps combines gas and oil swaps because a significant number of the counterparties enter into both gas and oil swap agreements with the Company.  
Recurring Fair Value Measures
At fair value as of December 31, 2017
(Thousands of Dollars)   
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
 
Netting Adjustments(1)
 
Total(1)
Assets:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Cash Equivalents – Money Market Mutual Funds
$
132,231

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
132,231

Derivative Financial Instruments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Commodity Futures Contracts – Gas
1,374

 

 

 
(1,374
)
 

Over the Counter Swaps – Gas and Oil

 
30,853

 

 
(10,312
)
 
20,541

Foreign Currency Contracts

 
1,232

 

 
(666
)
 
566

Other Investments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Balanced Equity Mutual Fund
36,979

 

 

 

 
36,979

Fixed Income Mutual Fund
44,232

 

 

 

 
44,232

Common Stock – Financial Services Industry
3,239

 

 

 

 
3,239

Hedging Collateral Deposits
4,465

 

 

 

 
4,465

Total                                           
$
222,520

 
$
32,085

 
$

 
$
(12,352
)
 
$
242,253

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Liabilities:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Derivative Financial Instruments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Commodity Futures Contracts – Gas
$
2,190

 
$

 
$

 
$
(1,374
)
 
$
816

Over the Counter Swaps – Gas and Oil

 
16,312

 

 
(10,312
)
 
6,000

Foreign Currency Contracts

 
429

 

 
(666
)
 
(237
)
Total
$
2,190

 
$
16,741

 
$

 
$
(12,352
)
 
$
6,579

Total Net Assets/(Liabilities)
$
220,330

 
$
15,344

 
$

 
$

 
$
235,674

 
Recurring Fair Value Measures
At fair value as of September 30, 2017
(Thousands of Dollars)   
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
 
Netting Adjustments(1)
 
Total(1)
Assets:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Cash Equivalents – Money Market Mutual Funds
$
527,978

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
527,978

Derivative Financial Instruments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Commodity Futures Contracts – Gas
1,483

 

 

 
(963
)
 
520

Over the Counter Swaps – Gas and Oil

 
38,977

 

 
(4,206
)
 
34,771

Foreign Currency Contracts

 
1,227

 

 
(407
)
 
820

Other Investments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Balanced Equity Mutual Fund
37,033

 

 

 

 
37,033

Fixed Income Mutual Fund
45,727

 

 

 

 
45,727

Common Stock – Financial Services Industry
3,150

 

 

 

 
3,150

Hedging Collateral Deposits
1,741

 

 

 

 
1,741

Total                                           
$
617,112

 
$
40,204

 
$

 
$
(5,576
)
 
$
651,740

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Liabilities:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Derivative Financial Instruments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Commodity Futures Contracts – Gas
$
963

 
$

 
$

 
$
(963
)
 
$

Over the Counter Swaps – Gas and Oil

 
5,309

 

 
(4,206
)
 
1,103

     Foreign Currency Contracts

 
407

 

 
(407
)
 

Total
$
963

 
$
5,716

 
$

 
$
(5,576
)
 
$
1,103

Total Net Assets/(Liabilities)
$
616,149

 
$
34,488

 
$

 
$

 
$
650,637


(1) 
Netting Adjustments represent the impact of legally-enforceable master netting arrangements that allow the Company to net gain and loss positions held with the same counterparties. The net asset or net liability for each counterparty is recorded as an asset or liability on the Company’s balance sheet.
 
Derivative Financial Instruments
 
At December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017, the derivative financial instruments reported in Level 1 consist of natural gas NYMEX and ICE futures contracts used in the Company’s Energy Marketing segment. Hedging collateral deposits were $4.5 million at December 31, 2017 and $1.7 million at September 30, 2017, which were associated with these futures contracts and have been reported in Level 1 as well. The derivative financial instruments reported in Level 2 at December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017 consist of natural gas price swap agreements used in the Company’s Exploration and Production and Energy Marketing segments, crude oil price swap agreements used in the Company’s Exploration and Production segment and foreign currency contracts used in the Company's Exploration and Production segment. The derivative financial instruments reported in Level 2 at December 31, 2017 also include basis hedge swap agreements used in the Company's Energy Marketing segment. The fair value of the Level 2 price swap agreements is based on an internal, discounted cash flow model that uses observable inputs (i.e. LIBOR based discount rates and basis differential information, if applicable, at active natural gas and crude oil trading markets). The fair value of the Level 2 foreign currency contracts is determined using the market approach based on observable market transactions of forward Canadian currency rates. 
 
The accounting rules for fair value measurements and disclosures require consideration of the impact of nonperformance risk (including credit risk) from a market participant perspective in the measurement of the fair value of assets and liabilities.  At December 31, 2017, the Company determined that nonperformance risk would have no material impact on its financial position or results of operation.  To assess nonperformance risk, the Company considered information such as any applicable collateral posted, master netting arrangements, and applied a market-based method by using the counterparty's (assuming the derivative is in a gain position) or the Company’s (assuming the derivative is in a loss position) credit default swaps rates.
 
For the quarters ended December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, there were no assets or liabilities measured at fair value and classified as Level 3. For the quarters ended December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, no transfers in or out of Level 1 or Level 2 occurred.
Financial Instruments
Financial Instruments
Financial Instruments
 
Long-Term Debt.  The fair market value of the Company’s debt, as presented in the table below, was determined using a discounted cash flow model, which incorporates the Company’s credit ratings and current market conditions in determining the yield, and subsequently, the fair market value of the debt.  Based on these criteria, the fair market value of long-term debt, including current portion, was as follows (in thousands): 
 
December 31, 2017
 
September 30, 2017
 
Carrying Amount
 
Fair Value
 
Carrying Amount
 
Fair Value
Long-Term Debt
$
2,084,465

 
$
2,214,839

 
$
2,383,681

 
$
2,523,639


 
The fair value amounts are not intended to reflect principal amounts that the Company will ultimately be required to pay. Carrying amounts for other financial instruments recorded on the Company’s Consolidated Balance Sheets approximate fair value. The fair value of long-term debt was calculated using observable inputs (U.S. Treasuries/LIBOR for the risk free component and company specific credit spread information – generally obtained from recent trade activity in the debt).  As such, the Company considers the debt to be Level 2.
 
Any temporary cash investments, notes payable to banks and commercial paper are stated at cost. Temporary cash investments are considered Level 1, while notes payable to banks and commercial paper are considered to be Level 2.  Given the short-term nature of the notes payable to banks and commercial paper, the Company believes cost is a reasonable approximation of fair value.
 
Other Investments.  Investments in life insurance are stated at their cash surrender values or net present value as discussed below. Investments in an equity mutual fund, a fixed income mutual fund and the stock of an insurance company (marketable equity securities), as discussed below, are stated at fair value based on quoted market prices.
 
Other investments include cash surrender values of insurance contracts (net present value in the case of split-dollar collateral assignment arrangements) and marketable equity and fixed income securities. The values of the insurance contracts amounted to $38.9 million at December 31, 2017 and $39.4 million at September 30, 2017. The fair value of the equity mutual fund was $37.0 million at both December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017. The gross unrealized gain on this equity mutual fund was $9.5 million at December 31, 2017 and $9.9 million at September 30, 2017. A sale of shares in the equity mutual fund during the quarter ended December 31, 2017 resulted in $1.5 million of cash proceeds and a realized gain of $0.4 million. The fair value of the fixed income mutual fund was $44.2 million at December 31, 2017 and $45.7 million at September 30, 2017. The gross unrealized loss on this fixed income mutual fund was $0.2 million at December 31, 2017 and was less than $0.1 million at September 30, 2017. A sale of shares in the fixed income mutual fund during the quarter ended December 31, 2017 resulted in $1.5 million of cash proceeds and a realized loss of less than $0.1 million. The fair value of the stock of an insurance company was $3.2 million at both December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017. The gross unrealized gain on this stock was $2.3 million at December 31, 2017 and $2.2 million at September 30, 2017. The insurance contracts and marketable equity and fixed income securities are primarily informal funding mechanisms for various benefit obligations the Company has to certain employees.
 
Derivative Financial Instruments.  The Company uses derivative financial instruments to manage commodity price risk in the Exploration and Production segment as well as the Energy Marketing segment. The Company enters into futures contracts and over-the-counter swap agreements for natural gas and crude oil to manage the price risk associated with forecasted sales of gas and oil. In addition, the Company also enters into foreign exchange forward contracts to manage the risk of currency fluctuations associated with transportation costs denominated in Canadian currency in the Exploration and Production segment. These instruments are accounted for as cash flow hedges. The Company also enters into futures contracts and swaps, which are accounted for as cash flow hedges, to manage the price risk associated with forecasted gas purchases. The Company enters into futures contracts and swaps to mitigate risk associated with fixed price sales commitments, fixed price purchase commitments, and the decline in value of natural gas held in storage. These instruments are accounted for as fair value hedges. The duration of the Company’s combined cash flow and fair value commodity hedges does not typically exceed 5 years while the foreign currency forward contracts do not exceed 8 years. The Exploration and Production segment holds the majority of the Company’s derivative financial instruments.

The Company has presented its net derivative assets and liabilities as “Fair Value of Derivative Financial Instruments” on its Consolidated Balance Sheets at December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017.  Substantially all of the derivative financial instruments reported on those line items relate to commodity contracts and a small portion relates to foreign currency forward contracts.
 
Cash Flow Hedges
 
For derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as a cash flow hedge, the effective portion of the gain or loss on the derivative is reported as a component of other comprehensive income (loss) and reclassified into earnings in the period or periods during which the hedged transaction affects earnings.  Gains and losses on the derivative representing either hedge ineffectiveness or hedge components excluded from the assessment of effectiveness are recognized in current earnings. 

As of December 31, 2017, the Company had the following commodity derivative contracts (swaps and futures contracts) outstanding:
Commodity
Units

 
Natural Gas
99.1

 Bcf (short positions)
Natural Gas
1.6

 Bcf (long positions)
Crude Oil
3,645,000

 Bbls (short positions)
    
As of December 31, 2017, the Company was hedging a total of $94.7 million of forecasted transportation costs denominated in Canadian dollars with foreign currency forward contracts (long positions).
As of December 31, 2017, the Company had $17.5 million ($10.3 million after tax) of net hedging gains included in the accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) balance. It is expected that $5.0 million ($3.0 million after tax) of such unrealized gains will be reclassified into the Consolidated Statement of Income within the next 12 months as the underlying hedged transaction are recorded in earnings.
The Effect of Derivative Financial Instruments on the Statement of Financial Performance for the
Three Months Ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 (Thousands of Dollars)
Derivatives in Cash Flow Hedging Relationships
Amount of Derivative Gain or (Loss) Recognized in Other Comprehensive Income (Loss) on the Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income (Loss) (Effective Portion) for the Three Months Ended December 31,
Location of Derivative Gain or (Loss) Reclassified from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss) on the Consolidated Balance Sheet into the Consolidated Statement of Income (Effective Portion)
Amount of Derivative Gain or (Loss) Reclassified from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss) on the Consolidated Balance Sheet into the Consolidated Statement of Income (Effective Portion) for the Three Months Ended December 31,
Location of Derivative Gain or (Loss) Recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Income (Ineffective Portion and Amount Excluded from Effectiveness Testing)
Derivative Gain or (Loss) Recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Income (Ineffective Portion and Amount Excluded from Effectiveness Testing) for the Three Months Ended December 31,
 
2017
2016
 
2017
2016
 
2017
2016
Commodity Contracts
$
(5,948
)
$
(50,444
)
Operating Revenue
$
12,842

$
31,320

Operating Revenue
$
(433
)
$
(100
)
Commodity Contracts
956

(1,536
)
Purchased Gas
196

(460
)
Not Applicable


Foreign Currency Contracts
(507
)
(521
)
Operation and Maintenance Expense
(490
)
(143
)
Not Applicable


Total
$
(5,499
)
$
(52,501
)
 
$
12,548

$
30,717

 
$
(433
)
$
(100
)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Fair Value Hedges
 
The Company utilizes fair value hedges to mitigate risk associated with fixed price sales commitments, fixed price purchase commitments, and the decline in the value of certain natural gas held in storage. With respect to fixed price sales commitments, the Company enters into long positions to mitigate the risk of price increases for natural gas supplies that could occur after the Company enters into fixed price sales agreements with its customers. With respect to fixed price purchase commitments, the Company enters into short positions to mitigate the risk of price decreases that could occur after the Company locks into fixed price purchase deals with its suppliers. With respect to storage hedges, the Company enters into short positions to mitigate the risk of price decreases that could result in a lower of cost or net realizable value writedown of the value of natural gas in storage that is recorded in the Company’s financial statements. As of December 31, 2017, the Company’s Energy Marketing segment had fair value hedges covering approximately 21.2 Bcf (20.6 Bcf of fixed price sales commitments and 0.6 Bcf of commitments related to the withdrawal of storage gas). For derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as a fair value hedge, the gain or loss on the derivative as well as the offsetting gain or loss on the hedged item attributable to the hedged risk completely offset each other in current earnings, as shown below.

Derivatives in Fair Value Hedging Relationships
Location of Gain or (Loss) on Derivative and Hedged Item Recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Income
Amount of Gain or (Loss) on Derivative Recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Income for the
Three Months Ended December 31, 2017
(In Thousands)
Amount of Gain or (Loss) on the Hedged Item Recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Income for the
Three Months Ended December 31, 2017
(In Thousands)
Commodity Contracts
Operating Revenues
$
(1,753
)
$
1,753

Commodity Contracts
Purchased Gas
$
137

$
(137
)
 
 
$
(1,616
)
$
1,616

 
Credit Risk
 
The Company may be exposed to credit risk on any of the derivative financial instruments that are in a gain position. Credit risk relates to the risk of loss that the Company would incur as a result of nonperformance by counterparties pursuant to the terms of their contractual obligations. To mitigate such credit risk, management performs a credit check, and then on a quarterly basis monitors counterparty credit exposure. The majority of the Company’s counterparties are financial institutions and energy traders. The Company has over-the-counter swap positions and applicable foreign currency forward contracts with sixteen counterparties of which ten are in a net gain position. On average, the Company had $2.1 million of credit exposure per counterparty in a gain position at December 31, 2017. The maximum credit exposure per counterparty in a gain position at December 31, 2017 was $8.1 million. As of December 31, 2017, no collateral was received from the counterparties by the Company. The Company's gain position on such derivative financial instruments had not exceeded the established thresholds at which the counterparties would be required to post collateral, nor had the counterparties' credit ratings declined to levels at which the counterparties were required to post collateral.
 
As of December 31, 2017, thirteen of the sixteen counterparties to the Company’s outstanding derivative instrument contracts (specifically the over-the-counter swaps and applicable foreign currency forward contracts) had a common credit-risk related contingency feature. In the event the Company’s credit rating increases or falls below a certain threshold (applicable debt ratings), the available credit extended to the Company would either increase or decrease. A decline in the Company’s credit rating, in and of itself, would not cause the Company to be required to increase the level of its hedging collateral deposits (in the form of cash deposits, letters of credit or treasury debt instruments). If the Company’s outstanding derivative instrument contracts were in a liability position (or if the liability were larger) and/or the Company’s credit rating declined, then additional hedging collateral deposits may be required.  At December 31, 2017, the fair market value of the derivative financial instrument assets with a credit-risk related contingency feature was $19.2 million according to the Company’s internal model (discussed in Note 2 — Fair Value Measurements).  At December 31, 2017, the fair market value of the derivative financial instrument liabilities with a credit-risk related contingency feature was $4.2 million according to the Company's internal model (discussed in Note 2 - Fair Value Measurements). For its over-the-counter swap agreements and foreign currency forward contracts, no hedging collateral deposits were required to be posted by the Company at December 31, 2017.    
 
For its exchange traded futures contracts, the Company was required to post $4.5 million in hedging collateral deposits as of December 31, 2017. As these are exchange traded futures contracts, there are no specific credit-risk related contingency features. The Company posts or receives hedging collateral based on open positions and margin requirements it has with its counterparties.
 
The Company’s requirement to post hedging collateral deposits and the Company's right to receive hedging collateral deposits is based on the fair value determined by the Company’s counterparties, which may differ from the Company’s assessment of fair value. Hedging collateral deposits may also include closed derivative positions in which the broker has not cleared the cash from the account to offset the derivative liability. The Company records liabilities related to closed derivative positions in Other Accruals and Current Liabilities on the Consolidated Balance Sheet. These liabilities are relieved when the broker clears the cash from the hedging collateral deposit account. This is discussed in Note 1 under Hedging Collateral Deposits.
Income Taxes
Income Taxes
Income Taxes

The effective tax rate for the quarters ended December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016 was negative 69.2% and 38.8%, respectively. The difference is a result of the impact of the one-time remeasurement of the deferred income tax liability and a lower statutory rate of 24.5% as a result of the 2017 Tax Reform Act (as discussed below).
On December 22, 2017, the tax legislation referred to as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (the 2017 Tax Reform Act) was enacted. The 2017 Tax Reform Act significantly changes the taxation of business entities and includes specific provisions related to rate regulated companies. The more significant changes that impact the Company are the reduction in the corporate federal income tax rate from 35% to a blended 24.5% for fiscal 2018 and 21% for fiscal 2019 and beyond. As a fiscal year taxpayer, the Company is required to use a blended tax rate for fiscal 2018. In addition, beginning in fiscal 2019, the corporate alternative minimum tax will be eliminated and there will be enhanced limitations on the deductibility of certain executive compensation. For the rate regulated subsidiaries, the 2017 Tax Reform Act also allows for the continued deductibility of interest expense, the elimination of full expensing for tax purposes of certain property acquired after September 27, 2017 and the continuation of certain rate normalization requirements for accelerated depreciation benefits. The non-rate regulated subsidiaries are allowed full expensing of certain property acquired after September 27, 2017 and have potential limitations on the deductibility of interest expense beginning in fiscal 2019.
The above changes had a material impact on the financial statements in the quarter ended December 31, 2017. Under GAAP, the tax effects of a change in tax law must be recognized in the period in which the law is enacted, or the quarter ending December 31, 2017 for the 2017 Tax Reform Act. GAAP also requires deferred income tax assets and liabilities to be measured at the enacted tax rate expected to apply when temporary differences are to be realized or settled. The Company’s deferred income taxes were remeasured based upon the new tax rates. For the non-rate regulated activities, the change in deferred income taxes was $111.0 million and was recorded as a reduction to income tax expense. For the rate regulated activities, the reduction in deferred income taxes of $336.7 million was recorded as a decrease to Recoverable Future Taxes of $65.7 million and an increase to Taxes Refundable to Customers of $271.0 million. The 2017 Tax Reform Act includes provisions that stipulate how these excess deferred taxes are to be passed back to customers for certain accelerated tax depreciation benefits. Potential refunds of other deferred income taxes will be determined by the federal and state regulatory agencies. The Company is awaiting regulatory guidance in the jurisdictions in which it operates.
The 2017 Tax Reform Act also repealed the corporate alternative minimum tax (AMT) and provides that the Company’s existing AMT credit carryovers are refundable beginning in fiscal 2019. As of December 31, 2017, the Company had $92.0 million of AMT credit carryovers that are expected to be utilized or refunded between fiscal 2019 and fiscal 2022.
The SEC issued guidance in Staff Accounting Bulletin 118 (SAB 118) which provides for up to a one year period (the measurement period) in which to complete the required analysis and income tax accounting for the 2017 Tax Reform Act. SAB 118 describes three scenarios associated with a company’s status of accounting for income tax reform: (1) a company is complete with its accounting for certain effects of tax reform, (2) a company is able to determine a reasonable estimate for certain effects of tax reform and records that estimate as a provisional amount, or (3) a company is not able to determine a reasonable estimate and therefore continues to apply the provisions of the tax laws that were in effect immediately prior to the 2017 Tax Reform Act being enacted.

The Company has determined a reasonable estimate for the measurement of the changes in deferred income taxes (noted above), which have been reflected as provisional amounts in the December 31, 2017 financial statements. The final determination of the impact of the income tax effects of these items will require additional analysis and further interpretation of the 2017 Tax Reform Act from yet to be issued U.S. Treasury regulations, state income tax guidance, federal and state regulatory guidance and technical corrections.
Capitalization
Capitalization
Capitalization
 
Common Stock.  During the three months ended December 31, 2017, the Company issued 63,082 original issue shares of common stock as a result of SARs exercises, 68,534 original issue shares of common stock for restricted stock units that vested and 79,079 original issue shares of common stock for performance shares that vested.  In addition, the Company issued 25,453 original issue shares of common stock for the Direct Stock Purchase and Dividend Reinvestment Plan and 25,879 original issue shares of common stock for the Company’s 401(k) plans.  The Company also issued 6,912 original issue shares of common stock to the non-employee directors of the Company who receive compensation under the Company’s 2009 Non-Employee Director Equity Compensation Plan, as partial consideration for the directors’ services during the three months ended December 31, 2017.  Holders of stock options, SARs, restricted share awards or restricted stock units will often tender shares of common stock to the Company for payment of option exercise prices and/or applicable withholding taxes.  During the three months ended December 31, 2017, 51,218 shares of common stock were tendered to the Company for such purposes.  The Company considers all shares tendered as cancelled shares restored to the status of authorized but unissued shares, in accordance with New Jersey law.
 
Current Portion of Long-Term Debt.    None of the Company's long-term debt at December 31, 2017 will mature within the following twelve-month period. Current Portion of Long-Term Debt at September 30, 2017 consisted of $300.0 million of 6.50% notes scheduled to mature in April 2018. The Company redeemed these notes on October 18, 2017 for $307.0 million, plus accrued interest. The call premium was recorded to Unamortized Debt Expense on the Consolidated Balance Sheet in October 2017.
Commitments And Contingencies
Commitments And Contingencies
Commitments and Contingencies
 
Environmental Matters.  The Company is subject to various federal, state and local laws and regulations relating to the protection of the environment.  The Company has established procedures for the ongoing evaluation of its operations to identify potential environmental exposures and to comply with regulatory requirements.  It is the Company’s policy to accrue estimated environmental clean-up costs (investigation and remediation) when such amounts can reasonably be estimated and it is probable that the Company will be required to incur such costs. 
    
At December 31, 2017, the Company has estimated its remaining clean-up costs related to former manufactured gas plant sites will be approximately $3.0 million.  This estimated liability has been recorded in Other Deferred Credits on the Consolidated Balance Sheet at December 31, 2017. The Company expects to recover its environmental clean-up costs through rate recovery over a period of approximately 4 years. The Company is currently not aware of any material additional exposure to environmental liabilities.  However, changes in environmental laws and regulations, new information or other factors could have an adverse financial impact on the Company.

Northern Access 2016 Project. On February 3, 2017, Supply Corporation and Empire received FERC approval of the Northern Access 2016 project described herein. On April 7, 2017, the NYDEC issued a Notice of Denial of the federal Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification and other state stream and wetland permits for the New York portion of the project (the Water Quality Certification for the Pennsylvania portion of the project was received on January 27, 2017). On April 21, 2017, Supply Corporation and Empire filed a Petition for Review in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit of the NYDEC's Notice of Denial with respect to National Fuel's application for the Water Quality Certification, and on May 11, 2017, the Company commenced legal action in New York State Supreme Court challenging the NYDEC's actions with regard to various state permits. The Company also has pending with FERC a proceeding asserting, among other things, that the NYDEC exceeded the reasonable and statutory time frames to take action under the Clean Water Act and, therefore, waived its opportunity to approve or deny the Water Quality Certification. In light of these pending legal actions, the Company has not yet determined a target in-service date. As a result of the decision of the NYDEC, Supply Corporation and Empire evaluated the capitalized project costs for impairment as of December 31, 2017 and determined that an impairment charge was not required. The evaluation considered probability weighted scenarios of undiscounted future net cash flows, including a scenario assuming successful resolution with the NYDEC and construction of the pipeline, as well as a scenario where the project does not proceed. Further developments or indicators of an unfavorable resolution could result in the impairment of a significant portion of the project costs, which totaled $75.5 million at December 31, 2017. The project costs are included within Property, Plant and Equipment and Deferred Charges on the Consolidated Balance Sheet.
 
Other.  The Company is involved in other litigation and regulatory matters arising in the normal course of business.  These other matters may include, for example, negligence claims and tax, regulatory or other governmental audits, inspections, investigations and other proceedings.  These matters may involve state and federal taxes, safety, compliance with regulations, rate base, cost of service and purchased gas cost issues, among other things.  While these other matters arising in the normal course of business could have a material effect on earnings and cash flows in the period in which they are resolved, an estimate of the possible loss or range of loss, if any, cannot be made at this time.
Business Segment Information
Business Segment Information
Business Segment Information    
 
The Company reports financial results for five segments: Exploration and Production, Pipeline and Storage, Gathering, Utility and Energy Marketing.  The division of the Company’s operations into reportable segments is based upon a combination of factors including differences in products and services, regulatory environment and geographic factors.
 
The data presented in the tables below reflect financial information for the segments and reconciliations to consolidated amounts.  As stated in the 2017 Form 10-K, the Company evaluates segment performance based on income before discontinued operations, extraordinary items and cumulative effects of changes in accounting (when applicable).  When these items are not applicable, the Company evaluates performance based on net income.  There have not been any changes in the basis of segmentation nor in the basis of measuring segment profit or loss from those used in the Company’s 2017 Form 10-K.  A listing of segment assets at December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017 is shown in the tables below.  
Quarter Ended December 31, 2017 (Thousands)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exploration and Production
Pipeline and Storage
Gathering
Utility
Energy Marketing
Total Reportable Segments
All Other
Corporate and Intersegment Eliminations
Total Consolidated
Revenue from External Customers
$139,141
$53,310
$170
$187,089
$38,636
$418,346
$1,096
$213
$419,655
Intersegment Revenues
$—
$21,985
$23,665
$2,182
$126
$47,958
$—
$(47,958)
$—
Segment Profit: Net Income (Loss)
$106,698
$38,462
$45,400
$20,993
$1,046
$212,599
$(719)
$(13,226)
$198,654

 


 





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Thousands)
Exploration and Production
Pipeline and Storage
Gathering
Utility
Energy Marketing
Total Reportable Segments
All Other
Corporate and Intersegment Eliminations
Total Consolidated
Segment Assets:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
At December 31, 2017
$1,420,790
$1,793,848
$589,793
$1,988,758
$72,466
$5,865,655
$77,214
$(150,937)
$5,791,932
At September 30, 2017
$1,407,152
$1,929,788
$580,051
$2,013,123
$60,937
$5,991,051
$76,861
$35,408
$6,103,320

Quarter Ended December 31, 2016 (Thousands)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Exploration and Production
Pipeline and Storage
Gathering
Utility
Energy Marketing
Total Reportable Segments
All Other
Corporate and Intersegment Eliminations
Total Consolidated
Revenue from External Customers
$160,932
$53,000
$26
$170,971
$36,809
$421,738
$554
$208
$422,500
Intersegment Revenues
$—
$22,155
$27,840
$1,826
$19
$51,840
$—
$(51,840)
$—
Segment Profit: Net Income (Loss)
$35,080
$19,368
$10,981
$21,175
$1,782
$88,386
$(179)
$701
$88,908
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Retirement Plan And Other Post-Retirement Benefits
Retirement Plan and Other Post-Retirement Benefits
Retirement Plan and Other Post-Retirement Benefits
 
Components of Net Periodic Benefit Cost (in thousands):
 
 
Retirement Plan
 
Other Post-Retirement Benefits
Three Months Ended December 31,
2017
2016
 
2017
2016





 




Service Cost
$
2,480

$
2,992

 
$
458

$
612

Interest Cost
8,252

9,596

 
3,700

4,752

Expected Return on Plan Assets
(15,429
)
(14,929
)
 
(7,871
)
(7,865
)
Amortization of Prior Service Cost (Credit)
235

264

 
(107
)
(107
)
Amortization of Losses
9,301

10,672

 
2,639

4,604

Net Amortization and Deferral for Regulatory Purposes (Including Volumetric Adjustments) (1)
1,721

535

 
3,608

1,312






 




Net Periodic Benefit Cost
$
6,560

$
9,130

 
$
2,427

$
3,308

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(1) 
The Company’s policy is to record retirement plan and other post-retirement benefit costs in the Utility segment on a volumetric basis to reflect the fact that the Utility segment experiences higher throughput of natural gas in the winter months and lower throughput of natural gas in the summer months.
 
Employer Contributions.    During the three months ended December 31, 2017, the Company contributed $27.6 million to its tax-qualified, noncontributory defined-benefit retirement plan (Retirement Plan) and $0.7 million to its VEBA trusts for its other post-retirement benefits.  In the remainder of 2018, the Company may contribute up to $5.0 million to the Retirement Plan. In the remainder of 2018, the Company expects its contributions to the VEBA trusts to be in the range of $2.0 million to $3.0 million.
Regulatory Matters
Regulatory Matters
Regulatory Matters
    
On April 28, 2016, Distribution Corporation commenced a rate case by filing proposed tariff amendments and supporting testimony requesting approval to increase its annual revenues by approximately $41.7 million. Distribution Corporation explained in the filing that its request for rate relief was necessitated by a revenue requirement driven primarily by rate base growth, higher operating expense and higher depreciation expense, among other things. On January 23, 2017, the administrative law judge assigned to the proceeding issued a recommended decision (RD) in the case. The RD, as revised on January 26, 2017, recommended a rate increase designed to provide additional annual revenues of $8.5 million, an equity ratio, subject to update of 42.3% based on the Company’s equity ratio, and a cost of equity, subject to update of 8.6%. On April 20, 2017, the NYPSC issued an Order adopting some provisions of the RD and modifying or rejecting others. The Order provides for an annual rate increase of $5.9 million. The rate increase became effective May 1, 2017. The Order further provides for a return on equity of 8.7%, and established an equity ratio of 42.9%. The Order also directs the implementation of an earnings sharing mechanism to be in place beginning on April 1, 2018.
On July 28, 2017, Distribution Corporation filed an appeal with New York State Supreme Court, Albany County, seeking review of the Order. The appeal contends that portions of the Order should be invalidated because they fail to meet the applicable legal standard for agency decisions. On December 11, 2017, the appeal was transferred to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department. The Company cannot predict the outcome of the appeal at this time.
On December 22, 2017, the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the 2017 Tax Reform Act) was enacted into law. On December 29, 2017, the NYPSC issued an order instituting a proceeding to study the potential effects of the enactment of the 2017 Tax Reform Act on the tax expenses and liabilities of New York utilities, and the “regulatory treatment of any windfalls resulting from same in order to preserve the benefits for ratepayers.” In its order, the NYPSC stated that the effect of the 2017 Tax Reform Act on utilities’ taxation is likely to be material and complex and that the proceeding was needed to begin the process of addressing the impact on the State’s utilities and ratepayers. The order establishes that the first steps in such process will be soliciting information from its regulated utilities to quantify the impact of the 2017 Tax Reform Act, scheduling a technical conference with the utilities, and the issuance of a NY Department of Public Service Staff (Staff) proposal for accounting and ratemaking treatment of the tax changes. The order further states that once Staff’s proposal is issued, utilities and other interested parties will be invited to comment on Staff’s recommendation. The order also declares that utilities are “put on notice that it is the [NYPSC]’s intent to ensure that net benefits accruing from the Tax Act are preserved for ratepayers, either through deferral accounting or another method, from the first day the Tax Act is put into effect. Utilities acting contrary to this intent do so at their own risk.” The Company cannot predict the outcome of this proceeding at this time. Refer to Note 4 - Income Taxes for further discussion of the 2017 Tax Reform Act.
FERC Rate Proceedings
Supply Corporation currently has no active rate case on file. Supply Corporation's current rate settlement requires a rate case filing no later than December 31, 2019.
Empire currently has no active rate case on file. Empire’s current rate settlement requires a rate case filing no later than July 1, 2021.
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies (Policy)
Principles of Consolidation.  The Company consolidates all entities in which it has a controlling financial interest.  All significant intercompany balances and transactions are eliminated. The Company uses proportionate consolidation when accounting for drilling arrangements related to oil and gas producing properties accounted for under the full cost method of accounting.
 
The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period.  Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Earnings for Interim Periods.  The Company, in its opinion, has included all adjustments (which consist of only normally recurring adjustments, unless otherwise disclosed in this Form 10-Q) that are necessary for a fair statement of the results of operations for the reported periods. The consolidated financial statements and notes thereto, included herein, should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and notes for the years ended September 30, 2017, 2016 and 2015 that are included in the Company's 2017 Form 10-K.  The consolidated financial statements for the year ended September 30, 2018 will be audited by the Company's independent registered public accounting firm after the end of the fiscal year.
 
The earnings for the three months ended December 31, 2017 should not be taken as a prediction of earnings for the entire fiscal year ending September 30, 2018.  Most of the business of the Utility and Energy Marketing segments is seasonal in nature and is influenced by weather conditions.  Due to the seasonal nature of the heating business in the Utility and Energy Marketing segments, earnings during the winter months normally represent a substantial part of the earnings that those segments are expected to achieve for the entire fiscal year.  The Company’s business segments are discussed more fully in Note 7 – Business Segment Information.
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.  For purposes of the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows, the Company considers all highly liquid debt instruments purchased with a maturity of generally three months or less to be cash equivalents.
Hedging Collateral Deposits.  This is an account title for cash held in margin accounts funded by the Company to serve as collateral for hedging positions.  In accordance with its accounting policy, the Company does not offset hedging collateral deposits paid or received against related derivative financial instruments liability or asset balances.
Gas Stored Underground.  In the Utility segment, gas stored underground is carried at lower of cost or net realizable value, on a LIFO method.  Gas stored underground normally declines during the first and second quarters of the year and is replenished during the third and fourth quarters.  In the Utility segment, the current cost of replacing gas withdrawn from storage is recorded in the Consolidated Statements of Income and a reserve for gas replacement is recorded in the Consolidated Balance Sheets under the caption “Other Accruals and Current Liabilities.”  Such reserve, which amounted to $1.7 million at December 31, 2017, is reduced to zero by September 30 of each year as the inventory is replenished.
Property, Plant and Equipment.  In the Company’s Exploration and Production segment, oil and gas property acquisition, exploration and development costs are capitalized under the full cost method of accounting. Under this methodology, all costs associated with property acquisition, exploration and development activities are capitalized, including internal costs directly identified with acquisition, exploration and development activities. The internal costs that are capitalized do not include any costs related to production, general corporate overhead, or similar activities. The Company does not recognize any gain or loss on the sale or other disposition of oil and gas properties unless the gain or loss would significantly alter the relationship between capitalized costs and proved reserves of oil and gas attributable to a cost center.
 
Capitalized costs include costs related to unproved properties, which are excluded from amortization until proved reserves are found or it is determined that the unproved properties are impaired.  Such costs amounted to $77.1 million and $80.9 million at December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017, respectively.  All costs related to unproved properties are reviewed quarterly to determine if impairment has occurred. The amount of any impairment is transferred to the pool of capitalized costs being amortized.
 
Capitalized costs are subject to the SEC full cost ceiling test. The ceiling test, which is performed each quarter, determines a limit, or ceiling, on the amount of property acquisition, exploration and development costs that can be capitalized. The ceiling under this test represents (a) the present value of estimated future net cash flows, excluding future cash outflows associated with settling asset retirement obligations that have been accrued on the balance sheet, using a discount factor of 10%, which is computed by applying prices of oil and gas (as adjusted for hedging) to estimated future production of proved oil and gas reserves as of the date of the latest balance sheet, less estimated future expenditures, plus (b) the cost of unevaluated properties not being depleted, less (c) income tax effects related to the differences between the book and tax basis of the properties. The natural gas and oil prices used to calculate the full cost ceiling are based on an unweighted arithmetic average of the first day of the month oil and gas prices for each month within the twelve-month period prior to the end of the reporting period. If capitalized costs, net of accumulated depreciation, depletion and amortization and related deferred income taxes, exceed the ceiling at the end of any quarter, a permanent impairment is required to be charged to earnings in that quarter.  At December 31, 2017, the ceiling exceeded the book value of the oil and gas properties by approximately $334.6 million. In adjusting estimated future cash flows for hedging under the ceiling test at December 31, 2017, estimated future net cash flows were increased by $18.0 million.

On December 1, 2015, Seneca and IOG - CRV Marcellus, LLC (IOG), an affiliate of IOG Capital, LP, and funds managed by affiliates of Fortress Investment Group, LLC, executed a joint development agreement that allows IOG to participate in the development of certain oil and gas interests owned by Seneca in Elk, McKean and Cameron Counties, Pennsylvania. On June 13, 2016, Seneca and IOG executed an extension of the joint development agreement. Under the terms of the extended agreement, Seneca and IOG will jointly participate in a program to develop up to 75 Marcellus wells, with Seneca serving as program operator. IOG will hold an 80% working interest in all of the joint development wells. In total, IOG is expected to fund approximately $305 million for its 80% working interest in the 75 joint development wells. Of this amount, IOG has funded $267.1 million as of December 31, 2017, which includes $163.9 million of cash ($137.3 million in fiscal 2016 and $26.6 million in fiscal 2017) shown as Net Proceeds from Sale of Oil and Gas Producing Properties on the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017. Such proceeds from sale represent funding received from IOG for costs previously incurred by Seneca to develop a portion of the 75 joint development wells. A receivable of $17.3 million has been recorded at December 31, 2017 in recognition of additional IOG funding that is due to Seneca for costs incurred by Seneca to develop a portion of the 75 joint development wells. This receivable has been shown as a Non-Cash Investing Activity on the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows for the quarter ended December 31, 2017. As the fee-owner of the property’s mineral rights, Seneca currently retains a 7.5% royalty interest and the remaining 20% working interest (26% net revenue interest) in 56 of the joint development wells. In the remaining 19 wells, Seneca retains a 20% working and net revenue interest. Seneca’s working interest under the agreement will increase to 85% after IOG achieves a 15% internal rate of return.
Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss.  The components of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss and changes for the three months ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, net of related tax effect, are as follows (amounts in parentheses indicate debits) (in thousands): 
 
Gains and Losses on Derivative Financial Instruments
Gains and Losses on Securities Available for Sale
Funded Status of the Pension and Other Post-Retirement Benefit Plans
Total
Three Months Ended December 31, 2017
 
 
 
 
Balance at October 1, 2017
$
20,801

$
7,562

$
(58,486
)
$
(30,123
)
Other Comprehensive Gains and Losses Before Reclassifications
(3,194
)
21


(3,173
)
Amounts Reclassified From Other Comprehensive Loss
(7,351
)
(272
)

(7,623
)
Balance at December 31, 2017
$
10,256

$
7,311

$
(58,486
)
$
(40,919
)
Three Months Ended December 31, 2016
 
 
 
 
Balance at October 1, 2016
$
64,782

$
6,054

$
(76,476
)
$
(5,640
)
Other Comprehensive Gains and Losses Before Reclassifications
(30,449
)
(539
)

(30,988
)
Amounts Reclassified From Other Comprehensive Loss
(17,763
)
(468
)

(18,231
)
Balance at December 31, 2016
$
16,570

$
5,047

$
(76,476
)
$
(54,859
)
 
 
 
 
 

Reclassifications Out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss.  The details about the reclassification adjustments out of accumulated other comprehensive loss for the three months ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 are as follows (amounts in parentheses indicate debits to the income statement) (in thousands):
Details About Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss Components
Amount of Gain or (Loss) Reclassified from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss
Affected Line Item in the Statement Where Net Income is Presented
 
Three Months Ended December 31,
 
 
2017
2016
 
Gains (Losses) on Derivative Financial Instrument Cash Flow Hedges:
 
 
 
     Commodity Contracts

$12,842


$31,320

Operating Revenues
     Commodity Contracts
196

(460
)
Purchased Gas
     Foreign Currency Contracts
(490
)
(143
)
Operation and Maintenance Expense
Gains (Losses) on Securities Available for Sale
430

741

Other Income
 
12,978

31,458

Total Before Income Tax
 
(5,355
)
(13,227
)
Income Tax Expense
 

$7,623


$18,231

Net of Tax


Other Current Assets.  The components of the Company’s Other Current Assets are as follows (in thousands):
                            
At December 31, 2017
 
At September 30, 2017
 
 
 
 
Prepayments
$
7,259

 
$
10,927

Prepaid Property and Other Taxes
14,972

 
13,974

State Income Taxes Receivable
9,164

 
9,689

Fair Values of Firm Commitments
3,218

 
1,031

Regulatory Assets
13,301

 
15,884

 
$
47,914

 
$
51,505

Other Accruals and Current Liabilities.  The components of the Company’s Other Accruals and Current Liabilities are as follows (in thousands):
                            
At December 31, 2017
 
At September 30, 2017
 
 
 
 
Accrued Capital Expenditures
$
28,488

 
$
37,382

Regulatory Liabilities
38,920

 
34,059

Reserve for Gas Replacement
1,739

 

Federal Income Taxes Payable
8,688

 
1,775

2017 Tax Reform Act Refund
6,000

 

Other
37,761

 
38,673

 
$
121,596

 
$
111,889

Earnings Per Common Share.  Basic earnings per common share is computed by dividing income or loss by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding for the period. Diluted earnings per common share reflects the potential dilution that could occur if securities or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised or converted into common stock.  For purposes of determining earnings per common share, the potentially dilutive securities the Company has outstanding are stock options, SARs, restricted stock units and performance shares.  For the quarter ended December 31, 2017, the diluted weighted average shares outstanding shown on the Consolidated Statements of Income reflects the potential dilution as a result of these securities as determined using the Treasury Stock Method.  Stock options, SARs, restricted stock units and performance shares that are antidilutive are excluded from the calculation of diluted earnings per common share. There were 157,603 securities and 317,686 securities excluded as being antidilutive for the quarters ended December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, respectively.
Stock-Based Compensation.  The Company granted 208,588 performance shares during the quarter ended December 31, 2017. The weighted average fair value of such performance shares was $50.95 per share for the quarter ended December 31, 2017. Performance shares are an award constituting units denominated in common stock of the Company, the number of which may be adjusted over a performance cycle based upon the extent to which performance goals have been satisfied.  Earned performance shares may be distributed in the form of shares of common stock of the Company, an equivalent value in cash or a combination of cash and shares of common stock of the Company, as determined by the Company. The performance shares do not entitle the participant to receive dividends during the vesting period.
 
Half of the performance shares granted during the quarter ended December 31, 2017 must meet a performance goal related to relative return on capital over the performance cycle of October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2020.  The performance goal over the performance cycle is the Company’s total return on capital relative to the total return on capital of other companies in a group selected by the Compensation Committee (“Report Group”).  Total return on capital for a given company means the average of the Report Group companies’ returns on capital for each twelve month period corresponding to each of the Company’s fiscal years during the performance cycle, based on data reported for the Report Group companies in the Bloomberg database.  The number of these performance shares that will vest and be paid will depend upon the Company’s performance relative to the Report Group and not upon the absolute level of return achieved by the Company.  The fair value of these performance shares is calculated by multiplying the expected number of shares that will be issued by the average market price of Company common stock on the date of grant reduced by the present value of forgone dividends over the vesting term of the award.  The fair value is recorded as compensation expense over the vesting term of the award.  The other half of the performance shares granted during the quarter ended December 31, 2017 must meet a performance goal related to relative total shareholder return over the performance cycle of October 1, 2017 to September 30, 2020.  The performance goal over the performance cycle is the Company’s three-year total shareholder return relative to the three-year total shareholder return of the other companies in the Report Group.  Three-year shareholder return for a given company will be based on the data reported for that company (with the starting and ending stock prices over the performance cycle calculated as the average closing stock price for the prior calendar month and with dividends reinvested in that company’s securities at each ex-dividend date) in the Bloomberg database.  The number of these total shareholder return performance shares ("TSR performance shares") that will vest and be paid will depend upon the Company’s performance relative to the Report Group and not upon the absolute level of return achieved by the Company.  The fair value price at the date of grant for the TSR performance shares is determined using a Monte Carlo simulation technique, which includes a reduction in value for the present value of forgone dividends over the vesting term of the award.  This price is multiplied by the number of TSR performance shares awarded, the result of which is recorded as compensation expense over the vesting term of the award.
 
The Company granted 89,672 non-performance based restricted stock units during the quarter ended December 31, 2017.  The weighted average fair value of such non-performance based restricted stock units was $51.23 per share for the quarter ended December 31, 2017.  Restricted stock units represent the right to receive shares of common stock of the Company (or the equivalent value in cash or a combination of cash and shares of common stock of the Company, as determined by the Company) at the end of a specified time period. These non-performance based restricted stock units do not entitle the participant to receive dividends during the vesting period. The accounting for non-performance based restricted stock units is the same as the accounting for restricted share awards, except that the fair value at the date of grant of the restricted stock units must be reduced by the present value of forgone dividends over the vesting term of the award.
 
New Authoritative Accounting and Financial Reporting Guidance. In May 2014, the FASB issued authoritative guidance regarding revenue recognition. The authoritative guidance provides a single, comprehensive revenue recognition model for all contracts with customers to improve comparability. The revenue standard contains principles that an entity will apply to determine the measurement of revenue and timing of when it is recognized. The original effective date of this authoritative guidance was as of the Company's first quarter of fiscal 2018. However, the FASB has delayed the effective date of the new revenue standard by one year, and the guidance will now be effective as of the Company's first quarter of fiscal 2019. Working towards this implementation date, the Company is currently evaluating the guidance and the various issues identified by industry based revenue recognition task forces. The Company does not believe that its revenue recognition policies will change materially, although the Company is still assessing the impact. The Company will need to enhance its financial statement disclosures to comply with the new authoritative guidance.
In February 2016, the FASB issued authoritative guidance requiring organizations that lease assets to recognize on the balance sheet the assets and liabilities for the rights and obligations created by all leases, regardless of whether they are considered to be capital leases or operating leases. The FASB’s previous authoritative guidance required organizations that lease assets to recognize on the balance sheet the assets and liabilities for the rights and obligations created by capital leases while excluding operating leases from balance sheet recognition. The new authoritative guidance will be effective as of the Company’s first quarter of fiscal 2020, with early adoption permitted. The Company does not anticipate early adoption and is currently evaluating the provisions of the revised guidance.
In March 2016, the FASB issued authoritative guidance simplifying several aspects of the accounting for stock-based compensation. The Company adopted this guidance effective as of October 1, 2016, recognizing a cumulative effect adjustment that increased retained earnings by $31.9 million. The cumulative effect represents the tax benefit of previously unrecognized tax deductions in excess of stock compensation recorded for financial reporting purposes. On a prospective basis, the tax effect of all future differences between stock compensation recorded for financial reporting purposes and actual tax deductions for stock compensation will be recognized upon vesting or settlement as income tax expense or benefit in the income statement. From a statement of cash flows perspective, the tax benefits relating to differences between stock compensation recorded for financial reporting purposes and actual tax deductions for stock compensation are now included in cash provided by operating activities instead of cash provided by financing activities. The changes to the statement of cash flows were applied prospectively at the time of adoption.
In March 2017, the FASB issued authoritative guidance related to the presentation of net periodic pension cost and net periodic postretirement benefit cost. The new guidance requires segregation of the service cost component from the other components of net periodic pension cost and net periodic postretirement benefit cost for financial reporting purposes. The service cost component is to be presented on the income statement in the same line items as other compensation costs included within Operating Expenses and the other components of net periodic pension cost and net periodic postretirement benefit cost are to be presented on the income statement below the subtotal labeled Operating Income (Loss). Under this guidance, the service cost component shall be the only component eligible to be capitalized as part of the cost of inventory or property, plant and equipment. The new guidance will be effective as of the Company’s first quarter of fiscal 2019, with early adoption permitted. The Company does not anticipate early adoption and is currently evaluating the interaction of this authoritative guidance with the various regulatory provisions concerning pension and postretirement benefit costs in the Company’s Utility and Pipeline and Storage segments.
Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies (Tables)
The components of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss and changes for the three months ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, net of related tax effect, are as follows (amounts in parentheses indicate debits) (in thousands): 
 
Gains and Losses on Derivative Financial Instruments
Gains and Losses on Securities Available for Sale
Funded Status of the Pension and Other Post-Retirement Benefit Plans
Total
Three Months Ended December 31, 2017
 
 
 
 
Balance at October 1, 2017
$
20,801

$
7,562

$
(58,486
)
$
(30,123
)
Other Comprehensive Gains and Losses Before Reclassifications
(3,194
)
21


(3,173
)
Amounts Reclassified From Other Comprehensive Loss
(7,351
)
(272
)

(7,623
)
Balance at December 31, 2017
$
10,256

$
7,311

$
(58,486
)
$
(40,919
)
Three Months Ended December 31, 2016
 
 
 
 
Balance at October 1, 2016
$
64,782

$
6,054

$
(76,476
)
$
(5,640
)
Other Comprehensive Gains and Losses Before Reclassifications
(30,449
)
(539
)

(30,988
)
Amounts Reclassified From Other Comprehensive Loss
(17,763
)
(468
)

(18,231
)
Balance at December 31, 2016
$
16,570

$
5,047

$
(76,476
)
$
(54,859
)
 
 
 
 
 

The details about the reclassification adjustments out of accumulated other comprehensive loss for the three months ended December 31, 2017 and 2016 are as follows (amounts in parentheses indicate debits to the income statement) (in thousands):
Details About Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss Components
Amount of Gain or (Loss) Reclassified from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss
Affected Line Item in the Statement Where Net Income is Presented
 
Three Months Ended December 31,
 
 
2017
2016
 
Gains (Losses) on Derivative Financial Instrument Cash Flow Hedges:
 
 
 
     Commodity Contracts

$12,842


$31,320

Operating Revenues
     Commodity Contracts
196

(460
)
Purchased Gas
     Foreign Currency Contracts
(490
)
(143
)
Operation and Maintenance Expense
Gains (Losses) on Securities Available for Sale
430

741

Other Income
 
12,978

31,458

Total Before Income Tax
 
(5,355
)
(13,227
)
Income Tax Expense
 

$7,623


$18,231

Net of Tax

The components of the Company’s Other Current Assets are as follows (in thousands):
                            
At December 31, 2017
 
At September 30, 2017
 
 
 
 
Prepayments
$
7,259

 
$
10,927

Prepaid Property and Other Taxes
14,972

 
13,974

State Income Taxes Receivable
9,164

 
9,689

Fair Values of Firm Commitments
3,218

 
1,031

Regulatory Assets
13,301

 
15,884

 
$
47,914

 
$
51,505

The components of the Company’s Other Accruals and Current Liabilities are as follows (in thousands):
                            
At December 31, 2017
 
At September 30, 2017
 
 
 
 
Accrued Capital Expenditures
$
28,488

 
$
37,382

Regulatory Liabilities
38,920

 
34,059

Reserve for Gas Replacement
1,739

 

Federal Income Taxes Payable
8,688

 
1,775

2017 Tax Reform Act Refund
6,000

 

Other
37,761

 
38,673

 
$
121,596

 
$
111,889

Fair Value Measurements (Tables)
Schedule of Fair Value, Assets and Liabilities Measured on Recurring Basis
The following table sets forth, by level within the fair value hierarchy, the Company's financial assets and liabilities (as applicable) that were accounted for at fair value on a recurring basis as of December 31, 2017 and September 30, 2017.  Financial assets and liabilities are classified in their entirety based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement. The fair value presentation for over the counter swaps combines gas and oil swaps because a significant number of the counterparties enter into both gas and oil swap agreements with the Company.  
Recurring Fair Value Measures
At fair value as of December 31, 2017
(Thousands of Dollars)   
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
 
Netting Adjustments(1)
 
Total(1)
Assets:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Cash Equivalents – Money Market Mutual Funds
$
132,231

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
132,231

Derivative Financial Instruments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Commodity Futures Contracts – Gas
1,374

 

 

 
(1,374
)
 

Over the Counter Swaps – Gas and Oil

 
30,853

 

 
(10,312
)
 
20,541

Foreign Currency Contracts

 
1,232

 

 
(666
)
 
566

Other Investments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Balanced Equity Mutual Fund
36,979

 

 

 

 
36,979

Fixed Income Mutual Fund
44,232

 

 

 

 
44,232

Common Stock – Financial Services Industry
3,239

 

 

 

 
3,239

Hedging Collateral Deposits
4,465

 

 

 

 
4,465

Total                                           
$
222,520

 
$
32,085

 
$

 
$
(12,352
)
 
$
242,253

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Liabilities:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Derivative Financial Instruments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Commodity Futures Contracts – Gas
$
2,190

 
$

 
$

 
$
(1,374
)
 
$
816

Over the Counter Swaps – Gas and Oil

 
16,312

 

 
(10,312
)
 
6,000

Foreign Currency Contracts

 
429

 

 
(666
)
 
(237
)
Total
$
2,190

 
$
16,741

 
$

 
$
(12,352
)
 
$
6,579

Total Net Assets/(Liabilities)
$
220,330

 
$
15,344

 
$

 
$

 
$
235,674

 
Recurring Fair Value Measures
At fair value as of September 30, 2017
(Thousands of Dollars)   
Level 1
 
Level 2
 
Level 3
 
Netting Adjustments(1)
 
Total(1)
Assets:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Cash Equivalents – Money Market Mutual Funds
$
527,978

 
$

 
$

 
$

 
$
527,978

Derivative Financial Instruments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Commodity Futures Contracts – Gas
1,483

 

 

 
(963
)
 
520

Over the Counter Swaps – Gas and Oil

 
38,977

 

 
(4,206
)
 
34,771

Foreign Currency Contracts

 
1,227

 

 
(407
)
 
820

Other Investments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Balanced Equity Mutual Fund
37,033

 

 

 

 
37,033

Fixed Income Mutual Fund
45,727

 

 

 

 
45,727

Common Stock – Financial Services Industry
3,150

 

 

 

 
3,150

Hedging Collateral Deposits
1,741

 

 

 

 
1,741

Total                                           
$
617,112

 
$
40,204

 
$

 
$
(5,576
)
 
$
651,740

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Liabilities:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Derivative Financial Instruments:
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Commodity Futures Contracts – Gas
$
963

 
$

 
$

 
$
(963
)
 
$

Over the Counter Swaps – Gas and Oil

 
5,309

 

 
(4,206
)
 
1,103

     Foreign Currency Contracts

 
407

 

 
(407
)
 

Total
$
963

 
$
5,716

 
$

 
$
(5,576
)
 
$
1,103

Total Net Assets/(Liabilities)
$
616,149

 
$
34,488

 
$

 
$

 
$
650,637


(1) 
Netting Adjustments represent the impact of legally-enforceable master netting arrangements that allow the Company to net gain and loss positions held with the same counterparties. The net asset or net liability for each counterparty is recorded as an asset or liability on the Company’s balance sheet.
Financial Instruments (Tables)
Based on these criteria, the fair market value of long-term debt, including current portion, was as follows (in thousands): 
 
December 31, 2017
 
September 30, 2017
 
Carrying Amount
 
Fair Value