Chevron Corporation CVX offered a glimpse of its 2022 capital spending plans.
CVX has pegged its capital and exploratory budget at $15 billion — at the low end of its previous estimation of $15-$17 billion but up 20% from the midpoint of its revised 2021 guidance range of $12-$13 billion. Next year's budget is also more than 11% higher than the company’s COVID-ravaged 2020 spending of $13.5 billion, though it’s down around 29% from the 2019 pre-pandemic expenditure of $21 billion.
According to Chevron's Chairman and CEO Michael K. Wirth, the company is following a capital deployment strategy that is aligned with its plans to move ahead in tune with the global economic recovery. CVX’s policy of spending restraint and cost efficiency with a goal to improve returns and lower carbon footprint has made it “a better company than it was just a few years ago.” This should also free up more cash for shareholders, with Chevron increasing its stock repurchase projection range to $3-$5 billion annually, from $2-$3 billion before.
Revised upward for the first time in three years, the second-biggest U.S. oil and gas group's boost in capital spending reflects Chevron's plans to optimize its outlay while relying heavily on shale drilling.
During the nine months ended Sep 30, 2021, CVX incurred a capital expenditure of $8.1 billion, approximately 84% of which went toward its upstream segment.
Analyzing Chevron's 2022 Capital Budget
Of the American multinational's total 2022 capital expenditure, 84% is planned to be incurred in its upstream operations that produce oil and gas. In particular, Chevron is concentrating on its investment in U.S. shale production next year. For 2022, the company intends to spend $4.5 billion on shale, the lion's share (or $3 billion) going to the lucrative Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico alone. The remaining $1.5 billion has been set aside for other shale investments worldwide. Overall, the oil giant plans to shell out $6.4 billion for its domestic upstream operations. An additional $6.2 billion will target international upstream projects.
Chevron has allocated $3 billion for projects already underway, out of which some $2 billion has been dedicated to the Tengiz field in Kazakhstan – the only large capital project the company is committed to following completion of Australian LNG projects (Gorgon and Wheatstone).
Meanwhile, CVX has earmarked approximately $8 billion to sustain the currently producing upstream assets.
As far as the downstream business (which refines crude oil into fuels like gasoline and diesel oil) is concerned, Chevron expects to shell out approximately $2.3 billion in 2022 as organic capital spending.
Zacks Rank & Other Picks
Chevron currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Apart from CVX, investors interested in the energy sector might look at operators like EOG Resources EOG, Chesapeake Energy CHK and BP plc BP. All the companies are Zacks #1 Ranked stocks. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
EOG Resources has a projected earnings growth rate of 495.2% for the current year. EOG Resources’ consensus estimate for the current year has been revised 15.9% upward over the last 60 days.
The oil and gas finder beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters, the average being 29.8%. EOG has surged around 86% in a year.
Chesapeake Energy has a projected earnings growth rate of 121.1% for the current year. CHK's consensus estimate for the current year has been revised 14.8% upward over the last 30 days.
Chesapeake Energy beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters. The stock has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 23.1%, on average. CHK shares have rallied around 48.1% in a year.
BP has an expected earnings growth rate of 323.1% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the British energy major's current-year earnings has been revised 12.5% upward over the last 60 days.
BP beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters but missed once. It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 10.8%, on average. BP has climbed around 33.1% in a year.
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