ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) announced today that it intends to resume its share repurchase program in the fourth quarter. The oil company had previously suspended buybacks in April as it slashed spending and production to combat a significant decline in oil prices. But with oil prices improving and the company bringing the bulk of its curtailed production back on line, it has the confidence to resume its buybacks.
ConocoPhillips anticipates repurchasing $1 billion of stock during the fourth quarter using the available cash on its balance sheet, which stood at $7.2 billion at the end of the second quarter. While the company retains the option to determine the level and pace of buybacks, it's the first oil producer to resume its repurchase program following this year's crash in oil prices.
ConocoPhillips also reported preliminary operational and financial results for the third quarter; it expects to unveil its final numbers at the end of next month. The company anticipates third-quarter production volumes between 1.05 million and 1.07 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/D), which includes about 90,000 BOE/D of production curtailments, with roughly 90% at its North American operations. It fully restored those North American volumes by the end of the third quarter, which will increase its cash flow from operations by about $150 million at current oil prices.
Besides benefiting from those restored volumes and improving oil prices, the company also expects to get a boost from its recent acquisition of acreage in Canada from Kelt Exploration. Under the deal, which closed at the end of August, ConocoPhillips paid $390 million for assets that produced an average of 15,000 BOE/D during the second quarter.