Hess boosts 2017 drilling by $350 million

Hess drilling operations in North Dakota (courtesy Hess Corp.)
Hess drilling operations in North Dakota (courtesy Hess Corp.)

The oil company Hess Corp. is boosting its production and exploration budget to $2.25 billion this year, an increase of $350 million or 20 percent over last year’s budget. It includes additional rigs in North Dakota’s Bakken oil field, development of the Liza field in Guyana and the restart of drilling at the Valhall field in Norway.

Several exploration and production companies have already announced they said they expected to increase spending after the two-year downturn. Hess, which is headquartered in New York with significant operations in Houston, is one of the first to announce its budget this year.

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Hess’s exploration budget includes: $700 million to boost rigs in unconventional shale fields from two to six and bring on 75 new wells in the Bakken; $375 million on production in deepwater Gulf of Mexico and Norway; $375 million on drilling and platform installation in the Gulf’s Stampede field; $275 million on full development of the North Malay Basin in Malaysia; $125 million on development in Guyana; $350 million to drill wells on the Stabroek Block offshore Guyana; Plus some additional dollars for seismic and licensing work.

The company expects production to increase 8 percent to 12 percent over the year as it ramps up drilling.

CEO John Hess called the drilling philosophy a “balanced approach.”

Hess also decided in the fourth quarter to defer further development of the Equus natural gas fields off the coast of Australia.