(Reuters) – Hess Corp said on Tuesday it expects 2022 capital budget for production to rise 37% as the oil company looks to focus on its operations in Guyana and the U.S. Bakken shale basin.
A more than 50% rise in global crude prices in the past year to above $86 a barrel is expected to encourage producers to spend more on exploration and drilling activity after years of prioritizing shareholder returns over business investments.
Still, oil companies are expected to maintain attractive shareholder returns, with Hess CEO John Hess saying earlier this month it would announce “meaningful” dividend growth this year and accelerate buyback plans.
Hess expects to spend $2.6 billion on production in 2022, of which about 80% will be allocated to Guyana and the Bakken, compared with $1.9 billion last year.
The company’s net production is forecast to average between 330,000 and 340,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in 2022, excluding Libya, compared with the 295,000 boepd expected in 2021.
The forecast for increased production comes as markets worry about oil supply amid geopolitical tensions in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies struggled to meet targets for higher production in recent months.
Oil and gas producers are expected to increase budgets 13% this year, according to brokerage Cowen & Co.
Hess will spend about $1 billion to further develop Guyana, home of one of the world’s largest oil discoveries this century and considered a growth engine for the company, while about $1.15 billion will be spent on production, including for three rigs in North Dakota’s Bakken basin.
The company is set to report its fourth-quarter results on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Arathy Somasekhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Shounak Dasgupta)