Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) last week once again increased its 2007 full-year production guidance -- this time by 2 million boe -- to 193 million boe.

The Houston-based independent, which has revised upward its oil and gas production forecast three times this year, now is forecasting 4Q2007 production from its retained portfolio to be in the range of 50-52 million boe, compared with a previous guidance of 48-50 million boe.

"The strong performance of Independence Hub, combined with the completion of the first phase of the Fort Union Gas Gathering expansion in the Powder River Basin and a relatively calm hurricane season, is driving higher-than-anticipated production," said COO Karl Kurz. "We now expect total production for 2007 from our retained properties to be in the range of 192-194 million boe -- almost a 6% increase over our original projections at the beginning of the year."

Independence Hub, located in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, is currently producing 850 MMcf/d, and it is expected to be producing close to its rated capacity of 1 Bcf/d by year's end. APC operates Independence Hub with about 60% of the throughput capacity.

In November Fort Union Gas Gathering LLC completed the first phase of its expansion project in the Powder River Basin. The project, in which Anadarko holds about a 15% stake, has added more than 200 MMcf/d of capacity and has initially enabled APC to increase net production in the Powder River Basin by 50 MMcf/d, the company said.

In addition, the first phase of APC's majority-owned Chapita Wells processing plant in the Uinta Basin of eastern Utah is complete. The facility adds 250 MMcf/d of processing capacity, nearly doubling what was previously available in the basin. The plant also is the origination point for the new 400 MMcf/d, 128-mile, high-pressure Kanda Lateral pipeline. The company expects to begin processing natural gas at the facility in the next few days.

"Since the acquisitions [of Kerr-McGee Corp. and Western Gas Resources Inc.] in 2006, our optimized portfolio has performed very well," said Kurz. "Our performance gives us strong momentum as we expect to close out 2007 at production rates greater than 560,000 boe/d, with a solid platform to deliver continued production growth of 5-9% in 2008 and beyond."

In a note to clients, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey/the Gerdes Group (STRH) analysts said that the start-up of the Fort Union project and the ramp-up of the Independence Hub led them to bring production volume forward from 2008 into 2007, which "consequently increased our 4Q2007 production expectation from 50 MMboe to 51 MMboe."

The STRH team, which rates APC as a "buy," said the Houston-based producer trades in line with the exploration and production industry, with "almost 10% better capital productivity and 10% lower margins. Principally due to underappreciated capital productivity and production additions," that include the Independence Hub, Powder River coalbed methane and the deepwater Blind Faith field, which equate to almost 20% of APC's mid-point 2007 production guidance, APC offers 36% upside to our target price."

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