Oil and gas production in the United States is in full swing. The U.S. Energy Information Administration states that domestic energy production is hitting levels not seen in decades. Natural gas production is on the rise thanks to abundant supplies that are now being tapped into effectively due to advancements in drilling technology, such as hydraulic fracturing. As far as oil is concerned, in its monthly short-term energy outlook, the EIA found that in July oil production hit its highest level in 27 years.
This is a gold mine for companies like Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC ) that explore for and produce oil and gas. Anadarko has an advantageous position because its assets are situated in some of the highest-producing oil and gas fields across the country. These assets are producing record results for Anadarko.
Wattenberg leads the way
The Wattenberg is a large natural gas field located in Colorado's Denver Basin. This field achieved a record 169,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day last quarter, which represented a nearly 60% increase in year-over-year production there. This was due to Anadarko's focus on higher-margin liquids production, thanks to the continued success of the company's horizontal drilling program.
In all, Anadarko delivered record average daily production, of 848,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. Adjusted earnings per share rose to $1.32, representing 25% growth year over year.
Thanks to booming production of oil and gas across the United States, a number of exploration and production companies are doing well. Rising production and profitability are a recurring theme, although Anadarko stands out as an above-average performer.
For instance, peer in the space Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN ) had a solid quarter as well. Its adjusted earnings per share rose 16% in the most recent quarter, driven by successful results in its own core assets.
Anadarko growing overseas
One unique aspect of Anadarko's business is that it's gearing up internationally, while others in the industry are shying away from operating outside the United States. Some exploration and production companies view international operations as too risky, due to continued geopolitical turmoil and repeated supply disruptions over the past year.
For these reasons, ConocoPhillips sold considerable interests in Kazakhstan, Algeria, and Nigeria last year. Its divestments totaled $7 billion, which the company said would be reinvested back into U.S. oil fields.
Moreover, Devon Energy's operations are almost entirely comprised of U.S.-based assets. It holds considerable positions in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford shale.
By contrast, Anadarko is ramping up its efforts in Algeria as well as Ghana, which may be a risky bet. But these efforts are paying off. Anadarko achieved oil production milestones at its El Merk development in Algeria. Production there eclipsed 150,000 barrels per day recently. At the Jubilee field offshore Ghana, cumulative oil production reached 100 million barrels last quarter.
Clearly, Anadarko isn't afraid to keep operating in international markets, and the results are working in the company's favor.
Going forward, management expects strong performance to continue. The company increased the midpoint of its 2014 sales volume guidance by 5 million barrels of oil equivalent.
Anadarko earnings show the strength of its assets
Anadarko has a diverse asset portfolio, which produced record results last quarter. Production and earnings soared, thanks to continued success at its Wattenberg field, as well as its promising international operations in Algeria and Ghana.
In turn, the company is rewarding shareholders. After Anadarko released its quarterly earnings, the company announced a 50% dividend increase. Management is clearly committed to sharing its success with investors, and that's a great sign.
Anadarko has a high-quality portfolio of diverse assets, and its recent earnings proved that it is a company taking full advantage of booming oil and gas production.
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