Oil and gas producer Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) said Oct. 31 it may shift some investment out of Colorado if voters in that state approve a ballot proposal that limits drilling in populated areas.

The measure would put at least 85% of new oil and gas development on non-federal lands off limits to new drilling, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has said. Oil companies have raised tens of millions to oppose the measure.

Anadarko could shift focus to properties in the Delaware Basin, which spans West Texas and New Mexico, if Colorado voters on Nov. 6 pass Proposition 112, a law requiring up to 2,500-ft separations between new wells and homes, schools and parks, executives said during an earnings conference call.

"We are interested in what's going to happen in Colorado. That will have some impact in terms of where we'll allocate capital," said CEO Al Walker.


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The company's backlog of drilled-but-uncompleted wells and approved well permits in Colorado give it confidence in what it has scheduled in the state next year, regardless of the vote, executives added.

Pressure pumper Liberty Oilfield Services Inc. (NYSE: LBRT), which is headquartered in Denver, also said Oct. 31 that approval of the state's Proposition 112 drilling rules could affect its operations. It does not expect passage of the law to immediately curtail activity in the state, Liberty CEO Chris Wright said on a call.

"That would render a lot of non-governmental lands undrillable. It's having the effect of oil companies shifting rigs out of Colorado now, and looking at the Powder River Basin and Permian and Bakken," said Gregory Reid, president of investment management firm Salient MLP Complex.

If the rule is struck down, shares of Colorado-focused oil companies that have been negatively impacted by Proposition 112 could rally, Reid added.

Shares of Anadarko were down 2.4% to $55.08 in midday trading on Oct. 31 even as analysts said its earnings were in-line with expectations.

Anadarko saw total volumes for third quarter rise to 682,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, an increase of 9% from the same quarter last year. Oil producers are benefiting from a jump in global oil prices, up 44% in the third quarter over a year earlier, to near four-year highs.

Anadarko said its onshore oil sales volumes averaged a record 175,000 barrels per day during the quarter, up 37% from a year ago after adjusting for divestitures. It posted margins of $33.68 per barrel of oil in the quarter, up 58% from a year ago.

The company's oil production volumes in the Delaware Basin, which extends from West Texas to parts of New Mexico, rose to 70,000 barrels per day in the quarter, up 83% from a year ago.

Capex for the quarter were $1.4 billion. Excluding spending related to the Western Gas Partners LP (NYSE: WES) business, spending fell within Anadarko's previous guidance of between $1.05 billion and $1.25 billion. Annual spending is projected to be unchanged at between $4.5 billion and $4.8 billion, it said.

Anadarko reported adjusted net income of $411 million for the third quarter, or 82 cents per share, vs. a loss of $427 million a year ago. Analysts had anticipated per-share profit of 84 cents for the quarter, according to data from Refinitiv.

Revenue for the quarter totaled $3.7 billion, vs. $2.5 billion a year ago. That was above analysts' forecasts of $3.5 billion, according to Refinitiv.