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Pioneer Natural (PXD) Tops on Q4 Earnings, Hikes Dividend

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Pioneer Natural Resources Company (PXD - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2021 earnings of $4.58 per share (excluding one-time items), beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.05. The bottom line surged from the year-ago quarter’s profit of $1.07 per share.

Total quarterly revenues of $4,317 million missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4,798 million. However, the top line improved from the year-ago quarter’s $1,856 million.

The better-than-expected earnings can be attributed to higher oil-equivalent production volumes and commodity price realizations. The positives were partially offset by increased costs and expenses.

Pioneer Natural Resources Company Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

 

Dividend Hike

For first-quarter 2022, Pioneer Natural announced a dividend payment of $3.78 per share of common stock, which includes a variable dividend of $3 per share and base dividend of 78 cents. This suggests a 5.6% increase from the prior dividend of $3.58 per share. The dividend is payable on Mar 14, 2022, to its stockholders of record at the close of business on Feb 28, 2022.

Moreover, the company repurchased $250 million of common stock in the fourth quarter of 2021. Also, its board of directors authorized a new $4-billion common stock repurchase program, replacing the existing $2-billion repurchase program.

Production

For fourth-quarter 2021, total production was 687.1 thousand barrels of oil-equivalent per day (MBoe/d), up from the year-ago figure of 364.5 MBoe/d.

Oil production was 393.5 thousand barrels per day (MBbls/d), up from the year-ago quarter’s 204.5 MBbls/d. NGLs production was 161.7 MBbls/d compared with the prior-year quarter’s 85.8 MBbls/d. Natural gas production amounted to 792.2 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d), up from the year-ago quarter’s 445.4 MMcf/d.

Price Realization

On an oil-equivalent basis, the average realized price was $58.78 per barrel for the reported quarter compared with $30.22 a year ago. The company reported an average realized crude price of $76.38 a barrel, up from $40.94 reported in the December-end quarter of 2020.

Average natural gas price improved to $5.20 per thousand cubic feet from $2.37 in the prior-year quarter. Natural gas liquids were sold at $38.45 a barrel, up from $18.51 a year ago.

Operating Costs

The company’s expenses for oil and gas production were $377 million, up from $175 million in the year-ago quarter. Total costs and expenses increased to $3,326 million in the fourth quarter from $1,828 million in the year-ago period.

Cash, Debt and Capex

As of Dec 31, 2021, the company’s cash and cash equivalents totaled $3,847 million, while long-term debt summed $6,688 million. It had a debt to capitalization of 23.3%.

In the December-end quarter, the company spent $941 million.

Reserves

As of Dec 31, 2021, Pioneer Natural’s proved reserves were recorded at 2,222,000 MBoe, up from the year-ago period’s 1,271,321 MBoe. Production averaged 617,332 oil-equivalent barrels per day in 2021, which comprised 57.8% crude oil.

Outlook

For 2022, Pioneer Natural projects oil production of 350-365 thousand barrels of oil per day (MBo/d). It projects a total production of 623-648 MBoe/d.

For first-quarter 2022, the company expects oil production of 348-363 MBo/d and a total production of 620-645 MBoe/d.

The company anticipates a total capital budget of $3.3-$3.6 billion for 2022. It boasted that the capital spending would be fully funded by its $10.5-billion projected cash flow for the year.

In 2022, the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock plans to operate 22-24 horizontal drilling rigs in the Midland Basin, which includes a three-rig average program in the southern Midland Basin joint venture area. The capital budget for 2022 is expected to place 475 to 505 wells online.

You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Glimpse of Other Players' Q4 Results

Increased commodity prices created a favorable market scenario for upstream companies. In particular, upstream companies like ConocoPhillips (COP - Free Report) , Continental Resources, Inc. (CLR - Free Report) and Devon Energy Corporation (DVN - Free Report) recently reported solid fourth-quarter earnings numbers due to high commodity prices.

ConocoPhillips, based in Houston, TX, is primarily involved in the exploration and production of oil and natural gas. COP reported fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings per share of $2.27, comfortably beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.20.

ConocoPhillips’ earnings for 2022 are expected to soar 62.1% year over year. COP reported preliminary 2021 year-end proved reserves at 6.1 billion BoE. As of Dec 31, 2021, ConocoPhillips had $5,028 million in total cash and cash equivalents.

Continental Resources is an explorer and producer of oil and natural gas. It operates resources across the East, South and North areas in the United States. CLR reported fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings of $1.79 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.73.

Continental Resources’ earnings for 2022 are expected to soar 61.2% year over year. The company’s board of directors announced a quarterly dividend payment of 23 cents per share, a 15% increase from 20 cents paid out in the previous quarter.

Devon Energy is an independent energy company that engages primarily in the exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas.  DVN reported fourth-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings of $1.39 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.21 by 14.9%.

Devon Energy’s earnings for 2022 are expected to soar 66% year over year. At 2021-end, DVN had proved reserves of nearly 1,625 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE), up 14.8% from the 2020-end level of 1,415 MMBOE.