Whiting Petroleum is betting on the Bakken with the $271 million purchase of an additional 8,752 net acres in Mountrail County from an undisclosed seller.
The acreage is adjacent to Whiting’s existing operations in the Sanish Field. That will mean few additional administrative costs, and will allow Whiting to further increase capital efficiency by extending laterals on certain wells in its existing acres.
The new acreage also already has five drilled wells, of which a net 2.3 are complete, producing around 4,200 barrels per day. In all, the purchase adds 61 drilling locations, extending Whiting’s top tier inventory at $50 per barrel of oil to six years with a two-rig drilling program.
To help it pay for the purchase, the newly re-organized producer will divest Colorado assets in the Denver-Julesburg Basin that are worth about $187 million. The 67,278 net acres there has daily production of 7,100 barrels of oil per day.
“These two transactions result in a significantly deeper drilling inventory in our key Sanish operating area, while divesting of properties in Colorado that were not going to compete internally for capital,” President and CEO of Whiting Lynn A. Peterson said. “These transactions demonstrate our strategy to focus our attention on value-enhancing opportunities that compete for capital in a $50 oil environment. Including these transactions, the Company now estimates that in a mid-$50s oil environment it has over 6 years of high-quality drilling inventory, assuming a two rig drilling program.”
The two transactions are set to close in the third quarter of 2021. The difference between acquisition cost and divestiture proceeds will be covered by the Company’s revolving loan fund.
Whiting plans a conference call Aug. 5 to discuss its second quarter results.
Delaware-based Whiting is an independent oil and gas company in the Rocky Mountains region of the United states trading under the symbol WLL on the New York Stock Exchange.
It was one of the first Bakken companies to declare bankruptcy during the coronavirus pandemic.
It emerged from its reorganization in September, shrugging off $3 billion less debt. It was given a $750 million revolving loan fund, of which $425 million was drawn upon re-emergence. That loan that is due April 2024. Shareholders, meanwhile, were given one share for every 75 they owned prior to the restructuring.
In investor presentations, Whiting has said it aims to become the Williston Basin’s low-cost operator by pursuing in-basin scale efficiencies, along with providing sustainable shareholder returns.
It remains one of the Bakken’s top producers, along with Continental, Oasis, Hess, and Enerplus.