RBN Energy: natural as producers boost their already bold 2017 production outlook.
An analysis of mid-year 2017 guidance shows that the nine natural gas-focused exploration and production companies we’ve been tracking are still fully committed to the very aggressive exploration and development spending they outlined at the beginning of the year. These Gas-Weighted E&Ps slightly upped their total 2017 capital budgets to $8.87 billion, a whopping 59% boost from their 2016 investment — well above the 44% and 29% increases announced by the Oil-Weighted and Diversified E&P peer groups, respectively. The gas-focused producers also increased their 2017 production guidance by 1% to 1.046 billion barrels of oil equivalent (Bboe), in contrast to the mid-year reductions in 2017 output announced by the other two peer groups. Today, we continue our review of updated capital spending plans by 43 U.S.-based E&Ps, this time with a look at companies that focus on natural gas.
EQT is boosting its organic capex by 66% in 2017, but this significant spending is dwarfed by its merger-and-acquisition dealmaking. The company spent $1.7 billion in 2016 and early 2017 adding acreage in its core southwestern Pennsylvania/northern West Virginia production area before announcing the blockbuster $8.2 billion purchase of Rice Energy in June 2017. The EQT/Rice transaction, the largest corporate E&P deal in the U.S. since 2012, will increase EQT’s production by 59% and make it the largest U.S. natural gas producer. The Rice purchase significantly increases EQT’s contiguous acreage in its core areas, expanding opportunities for the longer lateral drilling that will boost the company’s organic output by 13% this year.Illinois: unpaid bill backlog hits a record $16 billion.