If there's one thing investors need to know about EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), it is that the company just keeps getting better at getting oil out of the ground. That was abundantly clear in its third-quarter report, when the company delivered guidance-beating production. However, that was just one of the three remarkable numbers EOG Resources detailed this quarter.
A beat and a raise
EOG Resources reported that it produced 275,700 barrels of oil in the U.S. during the third quarter, which was 3% above the company's guidance. What makes this a remarkable result is that EOG did it despite the fact that investment spending was down 32% from the prior year.
Fueling that expectation-beating result were wells the company recently completed in the Eagle Ford shale. During the quarter, the company completed 47 wells, which delivered an average 30-day initial production rate of 1,825 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d). That is a higher rate than the 60 wells it brought online last quarter, which averaged 1,705 BOE/d over their first 30 days.
As a result of the stronger-than-expected production as well as improving production from new wells, EOG Resources is boosting its full-year production guidance. The company now expects to produce between 278,500 to 282,100 barrels of oil per day, which at the midpoint is up 3% from its prior guidance. The company also noted that it is adding $200 million to its capex budget, boosting it up to a range of $2.6 billion to $2.8 billion, which will enable it to complete additional wells to drive production growth as it heads into 2017.
Detailing a monster field
While the Eagle Ford shale is currently EOG Resources' largest contributor to production, it no longer is its biggest resource play. That is after the company detailed a remarkable upward revision to the net resource potential of its Delaware Basin oil play. The company said that it is increasing its resource potential by 155% to 6 billion barrels of oil equivalent, due in part to its recent acquisition of Yates as well as its ability to get more oil out of the ground. For perspective, EOG's Delaware Basin resource potential is now almost twice that of its Eagle Ford shale position.
This most recent increase comes just one year after the company raised its net resource potential by 1 billion barrels, boosting it up to 2.35 billion barrels of oil equivalent. It also likely will not be the last, with the company believing that it could add more resources through further advances in cost management and technology.
Oil companies continue to find more oil in West Texas' Delaware Basin than ever imagined. This past September, for example, Apache (NASDAQ:APA) announced a monster discovery in a largely overlooked portion of the play. According to Apache, Alpine High has at least 3 billion barrels of oil resources, and it is optimistic that there could be even more oil in some of the other formations underneath its acreage position.
Ratcheting up the growth rate
Last quarter, EOG Resources was one of the first major shale producers to introduce a long-term oil growth forecast. Fueling that forecast was EOG's ability to get more oil out of each well for less money than ever before, which allowed it to return to growth mode despite low oil prices.
Initially, the company forecast that it could grow its oil output by a 10% compound annual growth rate through 2020 at flat $50 oil, with the capability to ramp that rate up to 20% at $60 oil. However, thanks to its continued success at permanently pushing out costs and improving production rates, it is increasing that growth forecast. The company now sees its oil output growing by 15% annually through 2020 at $50 oil and by 25% compounded annually at $60 oil. It is a remarkable improvement in such a short amount of time, especially when peers like Apache do not expect to return to a growth trajectory until the second half of next year.
EOG Resources continues to make stunning advancements in shale development. Because of that, it seems like every couple of quarters it revises the resource potential of one of its major shale plays up by a meaningful amount. Now it is doing the same thing with its growth potential. The net result is that EOG Resources is poised to deliver a tremendous amount of oil in the years ahead even if oil prices do not budge.