Whiting Petroleum Corp., the largest oil producer operating in North Dakota, posted losses for the third quarter following the oil price rout and the writedown of its purchase of rival Kodiak Oil & Gas in 2014.
In its third quarter financial and operating results report, Whiting reported a net loss of $1.87 billion, compared with a net income of $158 million, or $9.14 and $1.32 per share respectively, in the one-year-ago timeframe. Also during this timeframe, Whiting production rose 38 percent to 160,590 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d), despite witnessing the average price or each barrel sold decrease by 49 percent.
In a statement, Whiting Chairman, President and CEO James J. Volker said, “Our third quarter results demonstrate we remain on track to balance capital spending and cash flow in 2016 at approximately $1 billion while maintaining our longer term growth profile. Total capital expenditures decreased 46 percent from the second quarter while production adjusted for asset sales was relatively flat.”
Bakken production, enhanced recovery
In the company’s Bakken-Three Forks acreage, Whiting’s production levels averaged 130,895 BOE/d and represented 82 percent of total third quarter production. The company has continued to test enhanced completion methods, with its Williston Basin assets contributing to a 44 percent quarter-over-quarter productivity increase.
In the third quarter, Whiting completed 34 operated wells with average sand volumes of 5.2 million pounds, which produced for 30 or more days. For comparison, in the second quarter the company had 54 operated wells with average sand volumes of 3.5 million pounds. Wells completed during the third quarter reached an average 30-day production rate of 1,102 BOE/d, 44 percent greater than second quarter figures. For the fourth quarter of 2015, Whiting predicts its production levels will be around 13.9 to 14.3 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Volker said, “We expect production in the fourth quarter to benefit from the continuing transition to high volume, enhanced completions as evidenced by the outstanding results at our P Johnson pad, which tested an average rate per well of 5,224 BOE/d. The pad incorporated 7 million pounds of sand per completion versus our typical 5 million pound completion.”
Year-to-date, Whiting has sold roughly $400 million of assets and anticipates more non-core asset sales by the end of the year. Additionally, the third quarter ended with no draws made on its $4 billion borrowing base. Volker commented, “Our credit commitments from our banks under our borrowing base remain unchanged at $3.5 billion. This demonstrates the confidence our banking group has in the quality of our assets and in our strategic plan.”