Enerplus to invest heavily in Bakken in 2019 and beyond

By Luke Geiver | January 28, 2019

Enerplus will remain focused on the Williston Basin in 2019. The Calgary-based exploration and production entity will spend roughly 80 percent of the $635 million allocated for 2019 across a 42-well program throughout its North Dakota acreage.

After slowing production, drilling and completion activity in the fourth quarter of 2018, Enerplus expects production to significantly increase in the back half of 2019. In total, the operator could produce a range of 52,500 to 56,000 barrels of oil per day.

Due to the planned use of electronic submersible pumps in the North Dakota, the company’s overall operating expenses per barrel of oil equivalent will hover in the $8.00 range.

Ian Dundas, president and CEO, said the company will focused on maximizing returns, driving profitable growth and making free cash flow generation. “Our 2019 plan is expected to generate double-digit returns on capital employed and competitive oil production per share growth while operating within cash flow based on prevailing commodity prices,” adding that, “if we see commodity prices improve, we would expect to generate meaningful free cash flow.”

Outside of its Bakken plans, Enerplus will allocate roughly 7.5 percent of its total budget allocation to the Marcellus and its Canadian operations. Another 5 percent of its proposed budget will be put to the DJ Basin.

On its three-year outlook, Enerplus provided the following:

“With second-half weighted production growth in 2019, Enerplus expects to deliver approximately 9 percent annual liquids production growth at the midpoint of its guidance range. Thereafter in 2020 and 2021, Enerplus expects to grow its liquids production by 10 percent to 13 percent per year. This growth outlook is underpinned by the Company’s high-return, light oil asset in North Dakota. Over the three-year period, capital spending is expected to be balanced with adjusted funds flow at approximately U.S. $50/b WTI and $3/MCF natural gas, with free cash flow at prices above these levels.