After a dismal 2015 performance, Appalachian shale drillers are slashing 2016 spending to the bone while waiting for natural gas prices to increase. And investors have been rewarding them.
The eight large independent shale drillers that focus on Appalachia have outperformed the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF since the beginning of the year, showing a gain of 3%, compared to the broader index's 19% loss.
On average, the eight Appalachia-focused companies have clipped 2016 spending by 51%. Most are laying down rigs until prices improve after the group posted nearly $1.7 billion in collective losses and write-downs in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Only Rice Energy Inc.and Antero Resources Corp. plan to keep attacking the Marcellus and Utica shales with anything near the group's previous vigor.Read more by clicking here.
Rice CEO Daniel Rice IV said his company's wells return 30% at strip pricing and Rice has proven it can finance its E&P budget by selling noncontrolling portions of its midstream MLP. Rice posted $280.8 million in losses in the fourth quarter, compared to $103.8 million in profit for the last quarter of 2014.
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