Hess plans big spending on oil exploration, production in Guyana & US basin
(Reuters) Hess Corp said on Tuesday it expects a 37% jump in capital spending for exploration and production this year, as the oil company looks to focus on operations in Guyana and the U.S. Bakken shale basin.
Global crude prices have risen by more than 50% to above $86 per barrel over the past 12 months, prompting producers to spend more on exploration and drilling after years of prioritizing shareholder returns.
Still, oil companies are expected to maintain attractive shareholder returns, with Hess CEO John Hess saying earlier this month it would announce “meaningful” dividend growth this year and accelerate buyback plans.
Hess expects to spend $2.6 billion on exploration and production in 2022, of which about 80% will be allocated to Guyana and the Bakken, compared with $1.9 billion last year.
The company’s net production is forecast to average between 330,000 and 340,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in 2022, excluding Libya, compared with the 295,000 boepd expected in 2021.
Shares of the company, which gained 50% in 2021, fell 3.2% to $85.93 on Tuesday. The S&P Energy Index was down 2%.
The forecast for increased production comes as markets worry about supply amid geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies struggled to meet targets for higher output in recent months.
Oil and gas producers are expected to increase budgets by 13% this year, according to Cowen & Co.
Hess will spend about $1 billion to further develop Guyana, home to one of the world’s largest oil discoveries this century and considered a growth engine for the company. About $1.15 billion will be spent on production, including for three rigs in North Dakota’s Bakken basin.
The company is set to report its fourth-quarter results on Wednesday.