Oil and Gas Producer Apache Raises 2017 Budget by More Than 60%

Oil Reuters

U.S. oil and gas producer Apache Corp estimated its capital spending in 2017 would be more than 60 percent higher than 2016, joining a growing list of shale producers that are ramping up spending to take advantage of recovering oil prices.

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Apache said on Thursday that it plans to spend $3.1 billion in 2017, higher than the $1.9 billion it spent last year. It spent $4.7 billion in 2015.

U.S. crude prices dipped to a low of $26.05 per barrel last year, but have largely traded above $50 since late November.

This has prompted producers such as Exxon Mobil Corp , Chevron Corp and Hess Corp to boost their capital budgets for this year.

Apache earmarked nearly two-thirds of its 2017 budget for the Permian Basin in Texas, with $500 million alone budgeted for developing infrastructure in the so-called Alpine High field.

The company said last September that it had amassed more than 300,000 acres in the field, most of which is in Reeves County, Texas.

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However, Apache said it expects to spend less on the lower-margin, North American Onshore regions, which, along with scheduled maintenance-related downturns in the North Sea and Canada, would hurt production this year.

The company expects to produce 486,000-506,000 barrels of oil-equivalent per day (boed) this year, less than the 522,000 boed it produced in 2016.

Apache's total production was nearly flat at 490,376 boepd in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. (http://bit.ly/2moGRY9)

Net loss attributable to Apache's common shareholders was $182 million, or 48 cents per share. The company had posted a loss of $4.02 billion, or $10.62 per share, a year earlier, when it incurred one-time charges of $5.9 billion.

Excluding items, Apache reported a loss of 6 cents per share in the latest quarter. Analysts on average had expected a profit of 7 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The Houston-based company's total revenue fell about 2 percent to $1.45 billion.

Apache's stock was up 0.36 percent at $55.11 in thin trading volume before the bell. (Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Shounak Dasgupta)