Update: February 8, 2017. Shares of Pioneer Natural Resources (PXD) closed up today, February 8, by 3.85% after this big player in the low-cost Permian Basin blew past earnings estimates and released aggressive guidance on future production growth. The company’s fourth quarter earnings of 49 cents a share was 15 cents a share above Wall Street estimates. Production in the fourth quarter grew to 242,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day, up 3% year over year for the quarter and at the top end of company projections for 237,000 to 242,000 barrels a day. The quarter marked a seventh consecutive quartet of production growth. For the full year production climbed 15% from 2015’s average level. Production costs per barrel fell 29% year over year thanks to production growth in the extremely low-cost Spraberry and Wolfcamp geologies and to cost reductions throughout the company’s portfolio. (Production from wells in the Spraberry and Wolfcamp geologies grew by 36% in 2016.) In the year Pioneer added 205 million barrels to proved reserves from discoveries, extensions, and revisions of previous estimates at a finding and development cost of $9.11 a barrel of oil equivalent. That amounted to reserve replacement of 232% of 2016 production. Pioneer said it sees production growing by 15% to 18% in 2017.
Amazing numbers, right?
But not the most amazing.
Pioneer told Wall Street analysts that it projects production growing to 1 million barrels a day by 2026. That would be four times 2016 production. The only constraint, CEO Tim Dove said, is how much capital the company decides it wants to put to work.
Notice that phrasing: “Wants to put to work.” Thanks to the company’s low costs and its continued ability to continue to reduce costs, Pioneer can invest to expand production at this rate while it projects living within its cash flow beginning next year even at $55 a barrel oil. The company projects that new Permian wells will deliver internal rates of return ranging from 50% to 100% at $55 a barrel oil. (The company finished the year with $3 billion in cash on hand and $3.2 billion in debt.) The company projects $2.8 billion in capital spending in 2017. It has hedges in place to cover about 85% of expected 2017 oil production.
Pioneer Natural Resources is a member of my 50 Stocks long-term portfolio. The shares are up 86.62% as of the close on February 8, since I added them to the portfolio on January 13, 2012.