Dec 19, 2018

Shale Oil Driller Diamondback Energy Targets 28% Production Growth For 2019

By James Hanshaw

Diamondback Energy, one of the leading independent shale oil producers, will target 28% growth in total production driven by 30% growth in oil production, on a pro-forma basis, by spending $2.7 – $3.1 billion. 

Midland, Texas - based Diamondback Energy has recently announced its capital expenditure plans for 2019. The company expects to grow its total production to the range of 275,000 to 290,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day (68% – 70% oil). The midpoint of this guidance implies over 28% pro forma year over year production growth and over 30% pro forma year over year oil production growth within cash flow at current commodity prices. 

The company has planned capital expenditures of $2.7 – $3.1 billion for 2019. This includes $2.35 – $2.7 billion for drilling and completion and $350 – $400 million for midstream and infrastructure investments (excluding equity investments in long-haul pipelines). 

Diamondback Energy plans to operate between 18 and 22 drilling rigs versus 24 operated drilling rigs today, reducing rig count by three rigs immediately. With 14 operated drilling rigs, the company estimates that it can keep the production flat at more than 250,000 boe per day, which is this year's exit rate. The company will operate eight completion crews entering 2019 after releasing two crews in December 2018. 

Diamondback Energy is reducing drilling activity in light of the recent weakness in commodity prices. But the company has confirmed that it if the oil price environment improves, then it might increase capital expenditure and drilling activity to target higher levels of production growth. However, if prices turn out to be weaker than expected, then the company may further dial back investments and drilling activity. 

Diamondback Energy has also announced 50% increase in cash dividends to $0.75 per common share to be payable quarterly beginning Q1 2019. 

Further reading: Diamondback Energy, Seeking Alpha