[Editor's note: This release was updated at 4 p.m. CST Dec. 10.]
Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES) and ConocoPhillips Co. (NYSE: COP) expect to produce more oil in 2019 than last year without altering their exploration budget in a big way, the two oil and gas producers said Dec. 10.
ConocoPhillips will spend more on Alaska and Canada than before in the next year while keeping expenses in the continental U.S., which includes the costly and crowded Permian Basin, largely unchanged.
Pipelines in the basin are running at full capacity, while unprecedented drilling has resulted in a labor shortage.
ConocoPhillips said it will spend $1.2 billion on Alaska from its total capex of $6.1 billion in 2019, partly a result of a recently sanctioned oil project there. In 2018, the company expects to spend less than $1 billion in the region.
Meanwhile, Hess said the lion's share of its $2.9 billion capital expenditure in 2019 will be used for exploration in Guyana and in the Bakken shale region of eastern Montana and western North Dakota.
The company's spending in Guyana largely focuses on production from its offshore discoveries in partnership with Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) that now total more than 5 billion barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d).
The raised production forecasts come as global oil markets struggle with oversupply, resulting in producer group OPEC and other key exporters agreeing to cut their crude output from January.
U.S. oil production, however, is expected to rise to a record high of 10.9 million barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2018 and 12.1 million (bbl/d) in 2019.
For Hess, production is expected to range between 270,000 and 280,000 boe/d, excluding Libya, up from the 255,000 boe/d it expects in 2018, while ConocoPhillips was aiming to produce between 2% and 2.6% more oil and gas next year.
"As we focus spending on our high return investment opportunities, we will continue to reduce our unit costs to drive margin expansion and improve profitability," Hess CEO John Hess said in a statement on Dec. 10.
Last week, oil major Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) increased its spending budget for the first time in four years. The company said it plans to spend more on shale production next year, as well as in refining and chemicals.
Colombia’s state-run oil company Ecopetrol SA is looking to spend $500 million in exploring unconventional deposits over the next three years, its CEO said on March 5, starting with pilot programs in the Magdalena Medio region.
Oil major Exxon Mobil said Jan. 31 it would create three new separate E&P companies, effective April 1, in an effort to double its profit by 2025.
Oil and gas operating costs in the U.S. shale basins have come down recently following a drop in crude prices, BP’s head of upstream Bernard Looney said on Feb. 5.