Oasis Petroleum Inc., which holds oil-weighted upstream assets in the Williston and Permian basins, said Thursday it expects capital expenditures (capex) to total $700-730 million in 2020, down 5% from the November estimate of about $750 million.

In a preliminary announcement of its 2019 results, the Houston-based exploration and production (E&P) company said it expects to generate positive free cash flow (FCF) in 2020, and is forecasting a mid-single-digit increase in fourth quarter 2020 oil volumes from 4Q2019.

The company “is well positioned for success with an outstanding portfolio of assets, strong prospects for free cash flow generation, and ample financial flexibility,” said CEO Thomas B. Nusz.

“We enter 2020 with a focused plan to deliver mid-single-digit volume growth from fourth quarter 2019 to fourth quarter 2020, drive positive E&P and consolidated free cash flow, reduce debt, enhance capital efficiency and create meaningful value for shareholders.”

Oasis delivered higher than expected production and lower than expected cash costs and capex during 4Q2019, “which resulted in significant free cash flow and debt reduction” during the period.

Oasis estimated that its realized price for natural gas averaged between $2.65-2.85/Mcf for the fourth quarter, compared with a Henry Hub average of $2.41/Mcf. Estimated average realized crude prices were between $53.55-53.75/bbl, compared with a West Texas Intermediate price of $56.89/bbl.

E&P capex was between $592-604 million, Oasis said, 4-5% below the planned range of $620-640 million.

Oasis said it completed and placed on production 78 gross (51.5 net) operated wells in 2019, including 67 gross (41.6 net) operated in the Williston Basin and 11 gross (9.9 net) operated in the Permian’s Delaware sub-basin.

E&P capex, excluding capitalized interest, midstream capex, acquisitions and divestitures in 2019, ranged from $592-604 million, Oasis estimated. Fourth quarter capex, meanwhile, ranged from $115-125 million, or about 23% below the implied midpoint of 4Q2019 guidance.

Oasis also acquired 1,800 “highly complementary net acres” for about $20-22 million during the year, and netted cash proceeds of $41-43 million from an upstream divestiture program.

The company is scheduled to hold its fourth quarter conference call on Feb. 26.

In a research note published Thursday, analysts at Raymond James & Associates Inc. confirmed that Oasis beat consensus forecasts on both production and capex in 4Q2019. Production was 3-4% above analyst estimates, while capex was about 20% under.

“Significant E&P cash flow in 2019 helped reduce E&P debt (including total principal of unsecured notes and the Oasis credit facility) by $188 million during the year from $2.508 billion at year-end 2018 to $2.32 billion at year-end 2019,” said the Raymond James analysts.

Oil and gas production totaled 87,400 boe/d for the final quarter, “2% above the upper range of guidance, with oil volumes at 60,100 b/d, at the top end of guidance.”