Devon Energy Corp. enjoyed a record year in 2011.
The Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company closed the year with record net earnings of $4.7 billion, or $11.29 a share, while boosting its production to an all-time high of 240 million barrels of oil equivalent.
“Devon delivered an outstanding performance in 2011,” CEO John Richels said. “We drove production from our North American onshore asset base up 8 percent, increased proved reserves to an all-time high and completed our highly-successful strategic repositioning, including $3.5 billion of share repurchases.”
Devon's stock surged after Wednesday's earnings release, closing at $71.33 a share, up $4.43 or nearly 7 percent.
Devon also announced its quarterly cash dividend will be about 18 percent higher than last year. The 20-cent-per-share dividend is payable on March 30.
Devon's annual earnings were up about $100 million over 2010.
For the fourth quarter, Devon earned $507 million, or $1.25 a share, down from $562 million, or $1.29 a share, in the same period of last year.
Richels said Devon's record 2011 production was driven by record production from its four core areas: Texas's Permian Basin and Barnett Shale, western Oklahoma's Cana Shale and its Jackfish operation in Canada's oil sands.
He said Devon also assembled “high impact positions” in five new resource plays, culminating in last month's $2.5 billion joint venture with China's Sinopec International Petroleum Exploration & Production Corp.
Dave Hager, Devon's executive vice president of exploration and production, said the company is continuing to amass acreage.
He said Devon leased an additional 125,000 net acres on Ohio's Utica Shale in the fourth quarter. Sinopec will pay for part of the acquisition costs since the play was included in the joint venture between the companies.
Devon also acquired some undeveloped acreage in a “promising new oil opportunity” the company is not ready to identify, he said.
“We will continue to pursue acreage acquisitions in an opportunistic manner to build significant positions at reasonable costs,” Hager said.