Anadarko Petroleum Corp. predicts growth in sales this year while holding investment in capital expenditures steady.
But even as it continues to focus on the North American shale fields — doubling the number of wells in the Rockies and expanding production in the Eagle Ford Shale — the company is also considering taking its shale expertise to North Africa.
Anadarko released projections for 2013 during a conference call with investors and analysts Wednesday.
The company said sales of oil and gas will rise about 5 percent in 2013, driven largely by activity in the Wattenberg and Eagle Ford shale plays.
Onshore volume is expected to be up 10 percent.
Production could be higher if the ethane market recovers, the company said.
Anadarko also said it expects to make between $7.2 billion and $7.6 billion in capital expenditures this year, about the same as last year.
Executives also said Anadarko intends to sell a 10 percent stake in its natural gas project in Mozambique.
Al Walker, the company’s president and CEO, said the company also is in talks with the Algerian government about beginning shale production there, and is conducting tests elsewhere in North Africa.
Walker didn’t offer details about discussions with the Algerian government but said the project involves more than just that one country.
“We do see a lot going on in North Africa,” he said.
Walker was named chairman of Anadarko’s board on Tuesday, effective in mid-May. He has served as president and CEO since last spring.
Robert Daniels, senior vice president for international and deepwater exploration, said Anadarko’s success in the Wattenberg, the Eagle Ford and other U.S. shale plays has prepared it for shale work internationally.
“We understand what it takes to make that work,” he said, and the company’s acreage positions in Tunisia and Morocco, both of which share a border with Algeria, make those countries potential places of interest.
Daniels said the company is analyzing data from Morocco now and will conduct tests in Tunisia this year.
For 2013, however, U.S. onshore exploration and production remains key to the company’s bottom line.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the Wattenberg shale in the Rockies.
“That baby’s going straight up,” said Chuck Meloy, senior vice president for U.S. onshore exploration and production.
The number of planned wells there is expected to double by the end of the year, to 300, and increase to 350 in 2014.
Anadarko will target 60 percent of its capital expenditures to U.S. onshore exploration, primarily the Wattenberg and the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas.
An additional 15 percent of Anadarko’s capital expenditures will go to the Gulf of Mexico, with another 15 percent spent on international plays, mostly in Africa. The final 10 percent will go to midstream developments.
Doug Lawler, senior vice president for international and deepwater operations, said the company will make about $1.3 billion in investments in deepwater and international exploration in 2013, a figure that is likely to remain constant through 2020.
But joint ventures should ensure returns escalate through the decade, he said.
Anadarko’s Mozambique venture has been one of its highest-profile holdings, as the company and its partners have made two huge natural gas
discoveries in Mozambique’s Rovuma Basin. One is estimated to hold 17 trillion to more than 30 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas resources. The other is estimated to hold 15 trillion to 35 trillion cubic feet, with a third potential discovery under evaluation.
Anadarko and Italian oil and gas company Eni are involved in a project to build a plant to export liquefied natural gas from Mozambique beginning in 2018.
Senior vice president and Chief Financial Officer Bob Gwin said the company expects to sell a 10 percent stake of its Mozambique holdings.
Anadarko has a 36.5 percent stake in that project and Walker said it intends to remain as the operator.
Gwin said a sale was “not imminent in the coming days” but is expected in 2013.