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Whiting Beats Production Guidance For 2Q, Increases 2H2015 Capex

Bakken Shale heavyweight Whiting Petroleum Corp. said it beat its production guidance for 2Q2015, during which time it also shed some of its noncore assets, and it now plans to increase capital expenditures (capex) over the rest of the year.

The Denver-based company said Friday that estimated production for 2Q2015 is 15.5 million boe (170,245 boe/d). If that holds true, it would be nearly 2% higher than the high end of the production guidance the company announced for the quarter last April -- which ranged from 14.8 to 15.2 million boe -- and 55% higher than 2Q2014, which totaled 10.0 million boe.

"Based on these strong results, we now project full-year 2015 production of 59.7 million boe, or 7% growth over 2014," Whiting said Friday. "Adding back asset sales, this guidance equates to a 10% growth rate over 2014."

Whiting said its capex budget for the full-year 2015 was forecast to increase 15%, from $2.0 billion to $2.3 billion. The $300 million increase includes $158 million for the company's operated drilling budget, $120 million for its non-operated drilling budget, and $22 million for rig termination fees that were incurred during 2Q2015. It estimated that capex during 1H2015 totaled $1.59 billion.

"In the first half of the year, we drilled and completed approximately 23 more net Bakken wells than projected due to an improvement in operating efficiencies," Whiting said. "In addition, we incurred $211 million of non-operated drilling expenditures.

"We have entered into an agreement to monetize the majority of our non-operated drilling through the remainder of 2015 to concentrate capital in our most profitable operated drilling prospects and project only $42 million of non-operated capex in the second half of 2015."

Whiting said that during 2Q2015, it sold two packages of older, conventional, operated and non-operated properties to private buyers for a total of $185 million. Both sales closed in June.

In an operations update, the company said it has been testing larger sand volume completions across its acreage in the Williston Basin. "These completions incorporated sand volumes of four to six million pounds with well costs ranging from $6.5 million to $7.5 million," Whiting said. It added that production from enhanced completions in three areas -- the Polar and Walleye fields in Williams County, ND, and the Pronghorn field in Stark County, ND -- have outperformed its type curves.

Whiting will release its 2Q2015 financial and operating results after the markets close on July 29 and will hold a conference call to discuss the quarter at 11 a.m. EDT on July 30.

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