[Editor's note: A version of this story appears in the March 2019 edition of Oil and Gas Investor. Subscribe to the magazine here.]

As head of one of the largest and most successful independents in the U.S., Anadarko Petroleum Corp. chairman and CEO Al Walker has led the pivot most independents are now making: to focus on shareholder returns as much as production growth.

To meet that goal, in 2018 the company bought back stock, reduced debt and increased its dividend from 5 cents to 30 cents per share, ending the year with $1.3 billion of cash on hand. Walker has vowed to continue to improve per-barrel margins and lower the free cash flow, breakeven oil price the company needs. In the fourth-quarter conference call in February, Walker reiterated that Anadarko Petroleum will use $50 oil in planning and moreover, all the company’s main assets except the Delaware Basin are free-cash-flow positive at $50—and the Delaware will be in 2020.

The 2019 budget midpoint is $4.5 billion, equal to the 2018 spend. In the Delaware Basin this year, Anadarko will operate 10 rigs and turn to sales 150 operated wells. In the Denver-Julesburg Basin, it will operate four rigs and turn 250 operated wells to sales. In the Gulf of Mexico, one or two drillships and two platform rigs will work, and the company will bring 10 deepwater wells to sales. Walker also said, “The Powder River Basin is a coming attraction.” In the first half of 2019, Anadarko is expected to take a final investment decision (FID) on its Mozambique LNG export facility, for which it has already announced several contracts with Asian buyers.

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