U.S. independent Hess Corp. expects to add a fourth rig to its Bakken Shale activity by the end of this year, but the company continues to prioritize capital discipline.

Hess Capex

“As our portfolio becomes increasingly free cash flow positive in the coming years we commit to return up to 75% of our annual free cash flow to shareholders, with the remainder going to strengthen the balance sheet by increasing our cash position or further reducing our debt,” CEO John Hess said in an earnings call Wednesday.

Given the strength of the oil market and the world’s need for more supply, he said the company “will give serious consideration to adding a fourth rig later this year” in the Bakken.

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