Energy Business

Crude Oil Capex, Production Estimates Rise in Q2

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Among a group of 16 independent oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) companies, crude oil production in the second quarter of 2015 rose an estimated 21% sequentially. At the same time, estimates for full-year capital spending (capex) rose by 10%. And all this at a time when oil prices dropped by about $15 a barrel.

Analysts at RBN Energy reported Thursday that small and mid-sized E&P companies have indicated that they increased capital investment plans for the full year by $730 million sequentially in the second quarter to a total of $13.9 billion from a first-quarter estimate of $13.17 billion. In 2014, the 11 companies included in the survey spent $23.32 billion. These firms also produce natural gas, but they are more directly focused on oil production.

Among the five large independents, however, the total capital spending estimate has dropped from $28.3 billion to $27.64 billion for 2015, compared with a 2014 total of $41.88 billion.

Small and mid-sized companies now estimate full-year production will rise 16%, compared with an estimate for a 13% rise at the end of the first quarter. Large companies have lifted their production-increase estimate from 3% at the end of the first quarter to 4%.

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Based on second-quarter announcements, here are current spending and production estimates for 2015 for five E&P companies as reported by RBN Energy.

Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLR) has maintained its original estimate of $2.7 billion in capex, down 40% from 2014 actual spending, and raised its production estimate to 76.9 million barrels, a 21% increase over 2014 production of 63.6 million barrels.

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE: PXD) raised its estimate on capex for 2015 by $350 million to $1.95 billion, still 44% lower than actual 2014 spending. Pioneer maintained its production forecast of 81.6 million barrels for the year, up 10% over 2014 production of 74.2 million barrels.