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Parsley Bolts On More Permian Running Room; 2017 Capex to Nearly Double

Parsley Energy Inc. agreed late Tuesday to pay $607 million to bolt on 23,000 net leasehold acres in West Texas, within the Permian’s Midland and southern Delaware sub-basins.

The Austin, TX-based exploration and production (E&P) company also unveiled its 2017 capital expenditure (capex) and production outlook, which is highlighted by expectations of roughly 58% year/year (y/y) production growth, longer laterals and a mix more heavily weighted to oil.

Through a series of unrelated agreements, Parsley said it plans to tack on 17,800 net leasehold acres in the Midland in the West Texas counties of Upton, Reagan, Glasscock and Midland. The agreements also add 5,200 net acres in the southern Delaware play of West Texas in Reeves, Pecos and Ward counties. Parsley also agreed to pay $43 million to add a 17% average royalty interest in about 3,900 net acres in Reeves and Pecos counties.

The bolt-ons would add roughly 2,300 boe/d net in current production with around 340 net horizontal drilling locations prospective for the Wolfcamp A and B, the Lower Spraberry and the Bone Spring formations, Parsley said. The Midland transactions are expected to close by Feb. 27, with the Delaware transactions set to be completed by the end of this month.

"We continue to focus on digestible bolt-on acreage that can be rapidly assimilated into our development program," CEO Bryan Sheffield said. "All of the acquisition properties meet our high standards for acreage quality, return profile, and upside potential. Together, these properties will increase our net acreage by more than 15%, and we believe that our track record of operational excellence, productivity enhancement, and cost leadership makes us the best owner of these assets."

Parsley has been an active participant in the land grab underway in West Texas over the past year or so, with Tuesday's announcement the latest in a series of deals by the Permian pure-play operator.

Parsley now plans to spend $750-900 million in capex in 2017, a substantial increase over its $460-510 million earmarked for 2016.

This year around 60% of the capex is to be allocated to the Midland, with the remainder for the Delaware. The E&P plans to complete 120-140 gross operated horizontal wells, including 85-95 wells in the Midland and 35-45 in the southern Delaware. After completing a modest five to seven wells last year in the Delaware, management said the E&P is transitioning from delineation to development.

Average lateral lengths for 2017 are expected to increase to around 8,000 feet, compared with 7,000 feet in 2016. Total net lateral footage for 2017 is expected to represent a 75% y/y increase.

Production is expected to average 57,000-63,000 boe/d in 2017, increasing to 70,000-80,000 boe/d by 4Q2017, versus an average 37,000-39,000 boe/d in 2016. The average oil mix is expected to increase y/y to 68-73% from 65-70%.

"Having maintained healthy activity levels, steadily supplemented our acreage portfolio, and increased our operational capacity throughout the downturn, Parsley has a head start toward leading production and cash flow growth in a more benign commodity price environment," COO Matt Gallagher said.

"...On top of sustainable growth from our reliably prolific and expanding Midland Basin resource base, we believe 2017 will mark an inflection point for Parsley in the southern Delaware Basin as years of exploration and delineation begin to pay substantial dividends.”

Production from the southern Delaware should “increase fourfold by the end of the year and, boosted by this contribution, we expect to generate significant production momentum through the end of 2017," Gallagher added. "This production growth should be characterized by robust returns and expanding margins as a function of meaningfully higher average lateral lengths, net revenue interest, and oil as a percent of total production, accompanied by lower unit costs and development costs per lateral foot."

Lease operating expenses are expected to average $4-4.75/boe, roughly in line with 2016 costs of $4.25-4.75. General and administrative costs are expected to average $4.50-5.25/boe from $5-5.50/boe in 2016, while production and ad valorem taxes are expected to hold flat y/y at 6.5-7.5% of revenue.

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