WPX Energy (NYSE:WPX) is forecasting up to $1.2 billion in capital spending for 2012 and full-year EBITDAX of approximately $1.2 billion. A definition of EBITDAX is included at the end of this news release. Prior to the decline in natural gas prices in 2012, Williams (NYSE:WMB) had originally forecasted a capital budget of $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion and double-digit production growth for WPX Energy. “For 2012, we’ve lowered our spending in keeping with our philosophy for capital discipline,” CEO Ralph Hill said. “We’re primarily focusing on our Bakken oil and Piceance natural gas liquids properties where we have the best opportunities to generate the highest revenues and returns.” Approximately 95 percent of the company’s 2012 domestic capital budget is focused on its core areas in the Bakken Shale, Piceance Basin and Marcellus Shale, with approximately 65 percent of the budget designated for areas with oil and NGL production. WPX plans to add a sixth rig in the Bakken Shale at mid-year and deploy an average of five rigs in the Piceance Basin and three rigs in the Marcellus Shale in 2012. This represents a reduction of six rigs in the Piceance and four rigs in the Marcellus vs. previous plans, which equates to a more than 40 percent decrease in the company’s rig count in these basins. “This drilling program allows us to remain in a position of strength with regard to our balance sheet,” Hill said. “At the same time, it provides us with the flexibility to grow the oil and NGL component of our portfolio.” Capital spending is expected to yield a 50-60 percent increase in domestic oil production and a 10-12 percent increase in NGL production. Domestic natural gas production is expected to remain flat compared with 2011. This is based on $400 million in capital spending reductions for natural gas areas in 2012 vs. the projected 2012 capital budget from late 2011.
Under WPX’s updated capital plan, overall production for all products is expected to grow at 4 percent in 2012 on an Mcf equivalent basis, with volumes for oil and NGL converted to natural gas equivalence using a 6-to-1 ratio. In 2011, WPX averaged 1,408 MMcfe per day.“We believe that our portfolio remains one of the most flexible and higher returning in the nation. It allows us to be nimble with our drilling activity depending on commodity prices,” Hill added. WPX is forecasting full-year EBITDAX of approximately $1.2 billion for 2012. This assumes the impact of the company’s existing hedges (detailed below) and a $3 NYMEX natural gas price. At a $3.50 natural gas price, EBITDAX would be approximately $1.3 billion for 2012. At a $4.00 natural gas price, EBITDAX would be approximately $1.4 billion. All three EBITDAX scenarios assume a $99 per barrel oil price. A $1 change in the price of oil equates to a $5 million impact to EBITDAX. WPX currently has the following hedges in place:
|WPX Hedging as of 2/1 for 2012||Volume||Avg. Price|
|Natural gas fixed price at the basin Bbtu/d, $ per Mcf||509||$5.05|
|NGL swaps, Bbl/d, $ per Bbl||3,660||$50.74|
|Crude oil swaps Bbl/d, $ per Bbl||7,169||$97.32|
|Crude oil collars Bbl/d, $ per Bbl||2,000||$85 - $106.30|
Further details pertaining to WPX’s 2012 forecast will be provided on Feb. 23 when the company is scheduled to report its full-year 2011 financial results.Management will discuss the results during a Live Meeting starting at 10:30 a.m. EST on the same day. Participants are encouraged to participate in the meeting via a link at www.wpxenergy.com. Audio for the Feb. 23 earnings conference will be available at (888) 334-2993. The passcode is 4022996. International callers should dial (719) 325-2309 and use the same passcode. EBITDAX represents earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation, depletion and amortization, exploration expenses and other items such as impairments, unrealized derivative gains and losses, or other non-cash items. It is not a measure of net income or cash flows as determined by U.S. GAAP. About WPX Energy, Inc. WPX Energy is an exploration and production company focused on developing its significant natural gas, natural gas liquids and oil reserves, particularly in the Piceance Basin, Bakken Shale and Marcellus Shale. The company also has domestic operations in the Powder River and San Juan basins and the Barnett Shale, as well as international investments in Argentina and Colombia. Go to http://www.wpxenergy.com/investors/subscribe-to-email/ to join our e-mail list. This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements, other than statements of historical facts, included in this press release that address activities, events or developments that the company expects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future are forward-looking statements. Such statements are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of the company. Statements regarding future drilling and production are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties normally incident to the exploration for and development and production of oil and gas. These risks include, but are not limited to, the volatility of oil, natural gas and NGL prices; uncertainties inherent in estimating oil, natural gas and NGL reserves; drilling risks; environmental risks; and political or regulatory changes. Investors are cautioned that any such statements are not guarantees of future performance and that actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements in this press release are made as of the date of this press release, even if subsequently made available by WPX Energy on its website or otherwise. WPX Energy does not undertake and expressly disclaims any obligation to update the forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Investors are urged to consider carefully the disclosure in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, available from us at WPX Energy, Attn: Investor Relations, P.O. Box 21810, Tulsa, Okla., 74102, or from the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov .