Irving-based Pioneer Natural Resources said it took non-cash impairments totaling nearly $160 million on proved and unproved properties in the Barnett Shale in the fourth quarter of 2012. The charges helped trim the independent producer's net income to $29 million in the quarter. Pioneer said it made the write-downs, equal to $101 million after taxes, after it decided not to sell its holdings in the field and reduced their value on the books "to their estimated fair value." Pioneer put its Barnett acreage up for sale in September but on Jan. 31 said it dropped those plans when it could not draw an acceptable offer. It entered the field in 2007.
Pioneer said it has 82,000 net acres in the the northwestern portion of the Barnett, the field's so-called "combo play" of natural gas and oil. It said it averaged daily production of 9,000 barrels of oil equivalent -- about 60 percent oil and natural gas liquids and 40 percent gas -- in the Barnett in the fourth quarter, up from 7,000 a day in the third quarter. It expects production in 2013 to be between 9,000 and 12,000 barrels of oil equivalent. It is operating one rig and drilled eight wells in the fourth quarter. It plans to run two rigs in the second quarter of 2013 to hold what it has identified as its best acreage.
Pioneer also said it set a 2013 capital budget of $3 billion, including $2.75 billion for drilling. It plans to spend $185 million in the Barnett Shale. About $400 million of its budget will be met with the anticipated proceeds of the sale of up to 9.2 million shares, it said Wednesday.
-- Jim Fuquay