US oil and gas reserves and production study 2018

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Improved commodity prices propel US oil and gas revenues

The 50 largest US exploration and production (E&P) companies increased capital expenditures for the first time since 2014. Companies also reported the highest oil reserves during the five-year study period (2013–2017), while US oil production posted an average 4% annual growth, even accounting for a modest decline in output in 2016.

The US oil and gas reserves and production study is a compilation and analysis of certain oil and gas reserve disclosure information as reported by publicly traded companies in their annual reports filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

This report presents the US exploration and production (E&P) results for the five-year period from 2013 through 2017 for the largest 50 companies based on 2017 end-of-year US oil and gas reserve estimates.

Study highlights

Commodity prices improved in 2017, increasing revenues and results of operations. The studied companies continued to optimize their portfolio and cost structure in order to respond to the cyclical nature of commodity prices.

Capital expenditures

  • Expenditures totaled US$114.5 billion, 32% higher than 2016 and 2% lower than 2015.
  • Growth is observed in all categories of spend. Development and exploration spend increased the most by 49% and 30% respectively.
  • The companies drilled 30% and 23% more development and exploration wells, respectively, compared to 2016.

Revenues and results of operations

  • Revenues were US$135.9 billion, up 32% from 2016 and the highest since 2014 as a result of improved commodity prices.
  • Impairments were US$10.2 billion,  a 47% reduction from 2016 and the lowest since 2013 as the study companies’ outlook of future prices further stabilized.
  • Depreciation, depletion and amortization (DD&A) expenses decreased, mainly due to lower unit-of-production rates, which resulted from reserve revisions and dispositions as well  as higher impairments in prior periods.
  • After-tax earnings of US$17.2 were recognized, a substantial improvement from US$33.8 billion in net losses in 2016 and the first combined net income position since 2014.

Oil production and reserves

  • Production was 2.4 billion barrels, a 5% increase from 2016.
  • The companies reported 1.7 billion net upward revisions, the first net positive result for the study period.
  • The companies reported 76% more extensions and discoveries in 2017 when compared to 2016.

Gas production and reserves

  • Production was 12.5 trillion cubic feet (tcf), a 7% decline from 2016, primarily due to sales of gas assets to companies outside the study group.
  • The companies reported 9.9 tcf net upward revisions, the first net positive result for the study period.
  • The companies reported 63% more combined extensions and discoveries and improved recovery for 2017 when compared to 2016.