Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Hess Production YoY Flat; Reported Loss Less Than Forecast; Unnecessary Talk About Rig Counts -- April 27, 2016

Hess reports; link here.
Quarterly revenue dropped 36% year over year to $993 million, falling short of estimates of $1.02 billion for the first three months of the year.
Before today's market open, New York City-based Hess posted a loss of $1.72 per share for the quarter, beating estimates of a loss of $1.83 per share for the quarter. Last year, Hess reported a loss of 98 cents per share for the 2015 first quarter.
Oil and gas production fell to 350,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day for the latest quarter, compared with 355,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the same period last year.
Exploration and production capital and exploratory expenditures declined 56% to $544 million.
With Regard To Earnings And Rigs

If this was in response to an analyst's question, it speaks volumes about the analyst -- I'll explain why after the link. The Dickinson Press is reporting:
Hess Corp. said on Wednesday it would add drilling rigs in North Dakota's Bakken shale basin, its largest area of operations, if oil prices approach $60 per barrel, a level executives believe offers the best chance to return to profitability.

The update came after the U.S. oil producer reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss, with cost cuts helping offset more than 60 percent drop in crude prices in the past 18 months.
My thoughts, in an e-mail sent to a reader:
It seems to me I recall another company saying the same thing some time ago, maybe EOG, although maybe it was Hess.
I think this (the number of rigs) will be interesting to watch. As I've always said, rig count provides a measure of activity, but seems to be fairly irrelevant in the Bakken where 29 active rigs now are producing what 200 rigs did two years ago, and on top of that: 1,000 DUCs; 1,500 inactive wells; and, countless wells taken off-line every day.
My hunch is that as oil moves above $50, smart operators are going to worry more about getting their financial statements back in order. Based on what little I know, every section (that matters) in the Bakken has been tied up with "leases held by production." There certainly should not be any urgency to drill.
Except that oil men like to drill, my hunch is that adding rigs remains near the bottom of their list of things to get done.
I think smaller operators will add their first rig before larger companies like EOG, Whiting, CLR, add another rig to the ones they already have.
For newbies, let's put the 1,000 DUCs, 1,500 active wells; and countless wells taken off-line every day: during the boom, around 2,000 new wells were drilled every year. Plus or minus half-a-thousand. 

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