Pioneer Natural Resources beats profit estimates on soaring crude prices

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FILE PHOTO: The sun is seen behind a crude oil pump jack in the Permian Basin in Loving County

(Reuters) -U.S. shale producer Pioneer Natural Resources Co on Thursday posted a better-than-expected profit for the third quarter as crude prices hovered near multi-year highs following sanctions on Russia, a leading producer of oil and gas.

Crude prices have recently cooled from 14-year peaks touched earlier in 2022, but were still more than 30% higher year-over-year during the quarter, benefiting producers such as Pioneer.

The company saw average realized prices of $94.23 per barrel of oil in the quarter, up 36% from a year earlier.

Pioneer also said it expects to return $7.5 billion in cash flow to shareholders through dividends and buybacks. It declared a base-plus-variable quarterly cash dividend of $5.71, down from $8.57 in the previous quarter.

Separately, the company said it was working to develop two renewable energy projects totaling 300 megawatts (MW) to provide electricity for its operations.

The projects, being developed with a unit of NextEra Energy Inc, will power a part of Pioneer’s field operations, as well as its Midland Basin natural gas processing infrastructure, jointly owned with Targa Resources Corp.

    Pioneer’s total average production was 657,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) in the July-September quarter, including 354,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd).

The Dallas, Texas-based firm forecast fourth-quarter oil production in the range of 346,500 to 361,500 bopd, the midpoint of which was flat compared with the third quarter.

Net income attributable to common stockholders stood at $1.98 billion, or $7.93 a share, in the three months ended Sept. 30, up 90% from $1.05 billion, or $4.07 per share, a year ago.

Excluding items, the company earned $7.48 per share, beating Wall Street consensus of $7.44, according to Refinitiv data.

Shares of the company were up 1.9% at $270.50 in extended trading.

(Reporting by Ruhi Soni in Bengaluru and Liz Hampton in Denver; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Devika Syamnath)

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