Look for Anadarko Petroleum Corp. to spend more on liquids-rich plays, such as the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, while Appalachia's Marcellus Shale is the only play where the company is still drilling dry gas wells, Anadarko executives said during an earnings conference call Tuesday.
Anadarko's production growth in the Eagle Ford, Marcellus and the Haynesville Shale has been impressive enough to move analysts at Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities Inc. (TPH) to exclaim, "Damn" in commentary on the company's latest results.
"The biggest component at [the fourth quarter] was the Eagle Ford (51% of shales volume, $4/share in our net asset value), and we would expect to see that continue as [Anadarko] rightly keeps the pedal down on oily assets, ending 4Q2010 with seven operated rigs plus adding two more rigs in January 2011," TPH said. "Of the three shale plays, Eagle Ford and Marcellus should drive growth in 2011 with additional company and resource allocation likely toward the Eagle Ford, considering oily weighted production at current commodity prices."
In 2010 Anadarko grew sales volumes by 7% over the prior year, including a 13% increase in liquids. The company added 359 million boe of proved reserves, replacing 153% of last year's production, the company said.
Last year "was a year of very strong performance with record sales volumes, above-target reserve growth and industry-leading exploration results -- each of which surpassed the guidance we provided in March -- while spending approximately $200 million less capital than originally projected," said CEO Jim Hackett. "Additionally, we strengthened the balance sheet by completing several transactions that enhanced liquidity and significantly extended near-term debt maturities, and had approximately $3.7 billion of cash on hand at year-end. We are positioned to deliver upon the strategic plan we laid out last March to achieve a five-year 7-9% production CAGR (compounded annual growth rate) and surpass 3 billion boe of proved reserves by year-end 2014."
Full-year 2010 sales volumes of natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGL) totaled a record 235 million boe, or 643,000 boe/d, which was 6.5 million boe more than the midpoint of the original sales volumes guidance the company provided in March, Anadarko said. This was a roughly 7% increase over full-year 2009 sales volumes of 220 million boe.
The company estimated that proved reserves at year-end totaled 2.42 billion boe, with approximately 69% in the proved developed category and approximately 31% categorized as proved undeveloped. At year-end Anadarko's product mix of proved reserves was made up of approximately 56% natural gas and 44% liquids.
Record production of 235 million boe was primarily driven by an 11% increase in sales volumes from the Rocky Mountain region, growth in the company's liquids-rich plays and accelerated activity in the Marcellus Shale, the company said.
With infrastructure and service agreements in place, Anadarko said it has established itself as the largest producer in the Eagle Ford Shale with current gross production of approximately 27,000 boe/d.
A midstream expansion in the Marcellus Shale during the fourth quarter enabled the company to nearly double its gross daily sales volumes from the end of the third quarter to about 330 MMcf/d at the end of the year.
"The success of Anadarko's worldwide exploration program, coupled with the results of our evaluation and development activity in the U.S. onshore, has continued to add differentiating value for shareholders," Hackett said.
Offshore, the company's exploration drilling program achieved a success rate of approximately 60%, and a 100% success rate on a total of nine appraisal wells last year. "In addition to these industry-leading results, the further evaluation and development of our Marcellus and Eagle Ford shale programs -- where we amassed large fairway acreage positions at attractive costs in the early stages of exploration -- enabled us to establish a net risked resource potential of 1.5 billion boe in these two major growth areas," Hackett said.
Full-year net income was $761 million ($1.52/share).