WPX Energy Abandoning the Marcellus? Sure Looks That Way

bye byeWPX Energy, the drilling division of Williams that was spun off into its own company just two years ago, continues to “bump along the bottom” according to an unflattering article on The Motley Fool investor’s website (see WPX Energy Still Lacks Growth, Leading to Low Valuation). MDN told you about the shakeup in WPX’s leadership in December (see CEO Shake-up Explained: Taconic Capital Jerking WPX’s Chain). New CEO Jim Bender released WPX’s 2014 plan of action and capital spending budget on Monday. Although the company had 33 unique drill permit locations for the last four months of 2013 in PA according to the recently published Marcellus and Utica Shale Databook, it appears to us that for 2014 WPX plans to drill precisely zero new Marcellus wells, which of course is a disappointment–especially for landowners signed with WPX who haven’t yet seen drilling on their land.

Looking at WPX’s 2014 budget (see below), there is a paltry $20-$30 million budgeted for the Marcellus (i.e. “Appalachia”), likely being used to finish wells started at the end of 2013. There’s a big fat goose egg for the number of rigs they plan to operate in the Marcellus this year. Our conclusion: WPX is saying bye-bye to the Marcellus. Is this yet more chain-jerking by Taconic and corporate raiders? Is it really the wisest course for WPX to abandon the northeast? Below is their announcement about 2014 plans, and the forecast of where they will spend $1.47 billion this year…

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