Newfield Exploration (NFX)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 20, 2011 9:00 am ET


Terry W. Rathert - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer and Executive Vice President

Lee K. Boothby - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Gary D. Packer - Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President


Brian Singer - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Leo P. Mariani - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Brian Lively - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division

Joseph D. Allman - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Gil Yang - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Amir Arif - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

David W. Kistler - Simmons & Company International, Research Division



Good day, everyone. Welcome to the Newfield Exploration's Third Quarter 2011 Conference Call. Just a reminder, today's call is being recorded. And before we get started, one housekeeping matter. Our discussion with you today will contain forward-looking statements, such as estimated production and timing, drilling and development plans, expected cost reductions and planned capital expenditures.

Although we believe that the expectations reflected in these statements are reasonable, they are based upon assumptions and anticipated results that are subject to numerous uncertainties and risks. Actual results may vary significantly from those anticipated due to many factors and risks, some of which may be unknown.

Please see Newfield's 2010 Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for a discussion of factors that may cause actual results to vary.

Forward-looking statements made during this call speak only as of today's date and unless legally required, Newfield undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement.

In addition, reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures to GAAP financial measures, together with Newfield's earnings release and any other applicable disclosures, are available on the Investor Relations page of Newfield's website at

And at this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Lee Boothby. Please go ahead, sir.

Lee K. Boothby

Thank you, operator. Good morning, and thanks for joining us today for our third quarter conference call. I'm joined in Houston today by other members of our leadership team, and together we'll be happy to address your questions at the end of today's call. Today, we'll provide a brief summary of our third quarter financial and operating results, provide some color on where we are today and brief updates on our most significant oil developments.

Our oil production year-to-date is up nearly 30% over last year, and we have some large development projects that will provide a boost as we enter 2012. I also will provide thoughts on know we are scenario planning today to execute the right game plan in 2012. We will stick with our tradition and not providing full year guidance until we have final board approval in early February.

Let's quickly address our third quarter financial results.

Our net income before FAS 133 gains was $140 million or $1.04 per share. Revenues in the third quarter were $628 million or 40% higher than the same period last year. Net cash provided by operating activities before changes in operating assets and liabilities was $409 million or $3.02 per share. Our natural gas production was 45 Bcf or about 494 million cubic feet per day. This was down from the second quarter and reflects our continued emphasis on liquids production with our capital investments. Our oil liftings increased 16% quarter-over-quarter to 5.1 million barrels or about 55,000 barrels per day equivalent.

Results of our oil focused programs are evident with crude and liquid volumes up nearly 30% over last year's third quarter. Our domestic recurring LOE expense on a unit of production basis was higher than guidance and reflected increased service cost. With the exception of international production taxes, the remainder of our costs and expenses were in line with guidance. International production taxes reflected higher oil price realizations as we continue to enjoy the wide Brent and WTI differentials.

Although I'm not happy about our operational results of late, I can assure you that we are taking the appropriate actions and have a simplified and focused game plan to deliver superlative execution in 2012. Year-to-date, we have sold a greater number of non-strategic assets than we originally anticipated, and we have other sales in process. We also have made some tough cost-cutting decisions as a result of challenges in this environment, particularly in the Williston Basin. A combination of these events negatively impacted our production and as a result, we've adjusted our full year guidance. We have high confidence in our asset base. It's a great portfolio of assets, and we believe it provides us with multiple options to grow our cash flow from operations.

Our portfolio is a competitive advantage, and we will use it to make the best long-term decisions for our shareholders. It's important that you understand that our recent challenges are not related to well performance in our core focus areas.

I said in our midyear update that we were more likely to cut activity than raise our $1.9 billion capital budget for the year. As we entered the fourth quarter, it became apparent to us that we would need to curtail some activities to ensure we do not overspend our budget. Keep in mind that our budget year-to-date have some large development projects to midyear front-end loaded, Pyrenees, Piatu, leasing in our stealth play, et cetera. We will spend significantly less in the fourth quarter to meet our $1.9 billion capital budget.

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