Image courtesy of Blastcube/Wikimedia Commons.

Whiting Petroleum announced Wednesday that it will suspend completion activities as it slashed its capital budget by 80 percent.

The Colorado-based company said it will suspend completion operations in the second quarter of this year.

The company has not said when it expects to resume completion activities.

Whiting has set its 2016 capital budget at $500 million, a decrease of about 80 percent from its 2015 capital expenditures.

The company plans to spend the majority of its 2016 capital budget in the first half of the year as it completes projects initiated in 2015 and winds down completion operations.

Whiting’s projected spend rate is expected to decline to $80 million per quarter in the second half of the year.

The company expects to invest $440 million of its 2016 capital budget on development activity primarily in its core Bakken and Niobrara areas, representing 88 percent of the total budget.

The company’s 2016 capital budget reflects the suspension of completion operations.

Whiting projects that it will have an inventory of 73 drilled uncompleted wells in the Williston Basin Bakken/Three Forks play and 95 drilled uncompleted wells in the DJ Basin Niobrara play at the end of 2016.

“This inventory of drilled uncompleted wells should afford Whiting a highly capital-efficient means to resume growth upon a rebound in oil prices,” the company said.

Whiting produced 14.3 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMBOE) in the fourth quarter 2015, with crude oil and natural gas liquids (NGLs) accounting for 88 percent of production.

The company said its better than forecast production results were thanks to enhanced completions in the Williston Basin and an increase in gas capture rates across its acreage.

Whiting saw its proved reserves jump to a record high of 820.6 MMBOE in 2015, a 5 percent year-over-year increase despite asset sales of 53.2 MMBOE and an SEC 2015 oil price deck 47 percent lower than 2014.

As of the end of 2015, proved developed reserves accounted for 49 percent of proved reserves and crude oil and NGLs accounted for 87 percent of proved reserves.

Whiting booked a fourth quarter 2015 net loss available to common shareholders of $98.68 million, compared to a loss of $353.68 million in the prior year quarter, on $423.51 million in revenues.

Full year net income available to common shareholders fell to a loss of $2.21 billion, compared to a full year 2014 net income of $64.8 million in 2014, on full year revenues of $2.05 billion.

“We are focused on returns and balance sheet strength. Our 2016 budget reflects these priorities as we plan to run two rigs in the Bakken and two rigs in the Niobrara for the balance of the year…We believe this conservative strategy should help us to maintain our liquidity position and leave us well positioned to capitalize on a rebound in oil prices,” Whiting’s chairman, president and CEO James J. Volker said.


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