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Rosetta Prunes 2015 Spending, Adds Hedges

Weak commodity prices have prompted Texas-focused Rosetta Resources Inc. to cut its capital spending plans for next year. The company said it anticipates spending $700-800 million and possibly as much as $900 million.

Spending would be allocated 54% to the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, with about 40% going to further delineate the company's Delaware sub-basin acreage in the Permian Basin of West Texas. Previous guidance was for spending up to $950 million.

"Drilling and completion costs should account for approximately 80% of total spending with the remaining 20% allocated to central facilities, leasehold and other corporate costs," the company said Tuesday. "The 2015 capital expenditure program will be funded from a combination of internally generated cash flow, cash on hand, and borrowings under the company's credit facility."

The program is based on a one- to two-rig Eagle Ford program and plans to operate two to three horizontal rigs in the Delaware Basin. Rosetta expects to complete 70-100 gross operated wells during the year.

"This 2015 capital plan allows us the flexibility to adjust our capital spending during an uncertain and challenging commodity price environment," said CEO Jim Craddock. "We will continue to monitor market conditions during 2015 and maintain capital discipline to ensure the integrity of our balance sheet."

Analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. said it was a "positive" to see the company's "quick reaction to a rapidly deteriorating crude market."

Rosetta said it expects full-year production to be 76,000-82,000 boe/d. The average oil ratio is expected to be about 27%. The company recently put on additional hedges for its 2015 forecasted crude oil production, adding about 7,000 boe/d in the form of costless collars with an average Louisiana Light Sweet floor price of $55/bbl and an average ceiling of about $85/bbl.

Direct lease operating expense (LOE) unit costs are expected to to average from $2.95-3.20/boe in 2015. Total LOE, including direct LOE, workover expenses and insurance are expected to range $4.50-4.85/boe.

Wunderlich Securities Inc. has a "buy" rating on Rosetta (ROSE) shares with a price target of $37.00. Analyst Irene Haas said in a note that "...unlike many companies waiting to hear more from service providers, Rosetta is already giving us expense guidance going into 2015. Also, unlike others in this price environment, ROSE has added to its hedge book -- a good move, should bad come to worse."

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