Apache Corporation has hosted a webcast today with analysts and investors to provide an update on the company's North Sea operations, recent drilling success and views on the future potential of its portfolio in the region.
"Today we will highlight the uniqueness of Apache's global portfolio and our North Sea assets in particular. We believe our performance and outlook reflect a truly differentiated opportunity that will provide significant value accretion in the coming years. With our financial position and our asset portfolio now in excellent shape, our strategy over the next five years is to focus on growing North America with the support of significant free cash flow generated by our Egypt and North Sea operations. At the same time, we believe that our international regions, and the North Sea in particular, have significant upside potential that will create value for Apache shareholders beyond its near-term free-cash-flow-generation potential," said John J. Christmann, IV, Apache's chief executive officer and president.
Apache enjoys an advantaged position in the North Sea
The North Sea region plays an important role in the overall Apache portfolio by providing competitive investment opportunities across multiple time horizons, exposure to an asset base that is less sensitive to oil price volatility and potential reserve upside with high-impact exploration potential. With industry-leading production efficiency of 92% approximately 50% lower operating costs and materially advantaged infrastructure and offtake capabilities, Apache's position in the North Sea is highly differentiated.
Forties field is proving very resilient, and Beryl area offers significant exploration upside
The Forties field has produced more than 2.6 billion bbls and has recovered more than 50% of the resource in place over the past 40 years. With the size of the remaining resource estimated at nearly 2.5 billion bbls, even small incremental improvements in the recovery factor can result in significant reserve and production gains. Notably, every 1% increase in recovery factor equates to approximately 50 million bbls of additional recoverable reserves.
Beryl, is a geologically complex area with multiple fields and stacked pay potential providing significant exploration opportunity. Following the completion of the first 3-D shoot since 1997, Apache recently announced two exceptional discoveries in the area and is moving ahead with development and additional exploration efforts.
Since the acquisition of these two fields, Apache has invested nearly US$2.6 billion in infrastructure and is now reaping the benefits of this investment as a higher percentage of capital dollars is now being directed to drilling and production. Over the past four years, Apache invested 44% of its capital on infrastructure, yet over the next five years, it is estimated the company will only spend 12% of its annual capital on infrastructure requirements. The result will be improving capital efficiency, and all else being equal, improving returns on capital employed.
Significant reserves potential underscores longevity and upside for the region
Apache estimates its total net unrisked reserve potential in the North Sea is 574 million to more than 1 billion boed, none of which was booked at year-end 2014. This potential represents an opportunity of four to seven times Apache's year-end 2014 proved reserves in the North Sea of approximately 145 million boe. Assuming historical development and exploration success rates, Apache believes it can sustain both reserves and production at current levels for at least another five years while generating significant free cash flow.
"The North Sea region plays a key role in the Apache portfolio, and our assets are highly differentiated from other operators in the area. We can either sustain or grow our reserves, production and free cash flow at high rates of return, depending on how much capital we ultimately allocate there. We will be able to achieve this because we have high-quality assets coupled with an infrastructure advantage, a cost advantage and a very large exploratory and development inventory. I am proud of what we have delivered this year and am even more excited about what we are positioned to deliver in the future," said Christmann.
The presentation and webcast will be archived on Apache's website www.apachecorp.comAdapted from various sources by Louise Mulhall
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