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Whiting (WLL) Hikes 2021 CapEx View, Awaits FCF Generation

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Whiting Petroleum Corporation (WLL - Free Report) recently provided its capital budget and production guidance for 2021, expecting its capex to increase next year as it presumes commodity prices and demand to rise from the pandemic falls.

Production in 2021

Whiting Petroleum expects its overall net production for 2021 in the range of 82,000-88,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (Boe/d) or 85,000 Boe/d at the midpoint. This projection is lower than 2020’s guided range of 98,000-99,000 Boe/d.

The company anticipates its 2021 oil production within the guided band of 48,000-52,000 barrels of oil per day (BPD).

Capital Spending View

For next year, this exploration and production energy player’s total capex is envisioned at the midpoint ($240 million) of the $228- $252 million range, higher than last year’s projected band of $213-$218 million. It estimates to spend in the range of $220-$245 billion for lease operations while its general and administrative cash expense is assumed in the $48-$52 million bracket.

Operational and Other Updates

Whiting Petroleum, which recently emerged from bankruptcy,  intends to drill 37 gross (24 net) operated wells in 2021 and bring online 56 gross (36.8 net) operated wells. This also comprises 39 gross (23.6 net) operated drilled uncompleted wells carried over from 2020.

President and CEO Lynn A. Peterson believes that the company is well prepared, both financially and operationally as it enters 2021. Whiting Petroleum concluded 2020 with $360 million worth of revolver debt, making available $390 million of liquidity. With this 2021 capital plan, the company expects its average annual production capacity to match the 2020-end levels. This new 2021 financial program will enable the company to generate significant free cash flow, which it will use to repay its revolver debt and provide adequate liquidity to look for investment prospects.

Talking of Whiting Petroleum’s anticipated pay-for-performance structure, Peterson stated, “we continue to make changes to our compensation structure with the goal of aligning our executive pay with shareholder interests. Our variable compensation will be heavily performance weighted and equity will comprise a larger part of the total compensation package”.

Company Summary

Whiting Petroleum is an oil and gas company. It develops, produces, acquires and explores crude oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids, primarily in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. The company is based in Denver, United States.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Whiting Petroleum currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked players in the energy space are DCP Midstream Partners, LP (DCP - Free Report) , Plains Group Holdings, L.P. (PAGP - Free Report) and Altus Midstream Company (ALTM - Free Report) , all presently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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