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Oklahoma City's Devon Energy expanding oil prospects

Devon Energy Corp. is increasing its exploration and leasehold acquisition budget by more than $1 billion in 2012 as the company sets its sights on new oil plays.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: April 5, 2012

Devon Energy Corp. is looking for new opportunities despite its impressive portfolio of onshore oil and natural gas assets in North America.

The Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company's search has led officials to increase the company's capital expenditure budget by about $1 billion so it can spend more on exploration drilling and leasehold acquisition.

Company officials outlined Devon's five-year plan Wednesday for about 130 securities analysts and money managers in Houston. More than 800 others listened in online.

“We're a company with a very deep inventory of opportunities that work in spite of the commodity price and cost challenges that base this industry,” CEO John Richels said. “We have a lot of upside from a very exciting suite of exploration of prospects and we're continuing to add to them all the time.”

Richels said Devon is always on the lookout for new oil and liquids-rich plays in areas where lease rates and royalty payments are not too high.

Devon's latest resource play is the Cline Shale in West Texas' Permian Basin.

The company has amassed about 500,000 net acres in the light oil play, where it plans to drill 15 wells this year, said Dave Hager, Devon's executive vice president of exploration and production.

“We're not stopping there. We're playing offense,” he said. “We're also building our position in another light oil play.”

He said Devon has amassed about 250,000 acres in the unnamed play, with plans to double its holdings.

With that in mind, Devon is boosting its budget for exploration drilling and leasehold acquisition.

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