[Editor’s note: This story was updated at 7:25 p.m. CT Nov. 2.]
Shale drillers Diamondback Energy Inc. and WPX Energy Inc. reported third straight quarterly losses on Nov. 2, as coronavirus-induced lockdowns hammered crude prices.
Travel restrictions have kept fuel demand floored through much of this year and pushed U.S. crude prices briefly into negative territory in April, forcing oil producers to rein in costs by slashing budgets and lowering output.
Even though prices have recovered from spring lows, U.S. crude is still down 39% this year, weighed by a threat of rising infections globally pushing countries back into lockdowns.
Permian Basin-focused Diamondback said it will not consider raising production till commodity prices recover, as such growth would magnify oversupply issues. The company plans to prioritize its dividend and pay down debt instead.
The company, headquartered in Midland, Texas, last month reported third-quarter production nearly unchanged at 287,315 boe/d, while total equivalent prices fell about 26% to $26.75/bbl, excluding hedging.
The lower prices forced Diamondback to take $1.45 billion impairment charges during the quarter, adding to the more than $3.5 billion in the prior two quarters.
The company reported a net loss of $1.11 billion, or $7.05 per share, for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 due to the charges.
On an adjusted basis, Diamondback earned 62 cents per share, beating analysts' estimates of 37 cents, according to Refinitiv IBES data.
Rival WPX Energy, which agreed to be taken over by Devon Energy Corp. last month, also posted a quarterly loss, mainly due to changes in the value of its hedges and debt cancellation. Excluding items, it earned 11 cents per share beating estimates.
Diamondback shares rose nearly 2% after the bell, while WPX rose 1%.
Gulfport Energy, which has faced activist investor pressure this year to improve its stock performance, agreed to divest various noncore assets including water assets across its Scoop position in Oklahoma.
A court-ordered sale of one-time shale high-flyer Alta Mesa Resources fell through due to a lack of financing on March 9, a day when oil prices and shares of U.S. oil producers plummeted.
Led by industry icon Tom Ward, Mach Resources this year bagged the vast portfolio of Alta Mesa Resources out of bankruptcy and for a song. His premise: Prepare to be the last owner of any asset acquired. And he’s far from done.