SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
|☒||ANNUAL REPORT UNDER SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT UNDER SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
Commission File Number 001-35700
Diamondback Energy, Inc.
(Exact Name of Registrant As Specified in Its Charter)
|(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)|
(I.R.S. Employer Identification Number)
|500 West Texas|
|(Address of principal executive offices)|
(Registrant Telephone Number, Including Area Code): (432) 221-7400
|Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:|
|Title of Each Class||Trading Symbol(s)||Name of Each Exchange on Which Registered|
|Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share||FANG||The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC|
|(NASDAQ Global Select Market)|
|Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None|
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☒ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act:
|Large Accelerated Filer||☒||Accelerated Filer||☐|
|Non-Accelerated Filer||☐||Smaller Reporting Company||☐|
|Emerging Growth Company||☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the eﬀectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ No ☒
Aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of registrant as of June 30, 2021 was approximately $16.9 billion.
As of February 18, 2022, 177,414,969 shares of the registrant’s common stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of Diamondback Energy, Inc.’s Proxy Statement for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference in Items 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of Part III of this Form 10-K.
DIAMONDBACK ENERGY, INC.
FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2021
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GLOSSARY OF OIL AND NATURAL GAS TERMS
The following is a glossary of certain oil and natural gas industry terms used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, which we refer to as this Annual Report or this report:
|3-D seismic||Geophysical data that depict the subsurface strata in three dimensions. 3-D seismic typically provides a more detailed and accurate interpretation of the subsurface strata than 2-D, or two-dimensional, seismic.|
|Basin||A large depression on the earth’s surface in which sediments accumulate.|
|Bbl or barrel||One stock tank barrel, or 42 U.S. gallons liquid volume, used in this report in reference to crude oil or other liquid hydrocarbons.|
|BOE||One barrel of oil equivalent, with six thousand cubic feet of natural gas being equivalent to one barrel of oil.|
|BOE/d||Barrels of oil equivalent per day.|
Brent sweet light crude oil.
|British Thermal Unit or BTU||The quantity of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.|
|Completion||The process of treating a drilled well followed by the installation of permanent equipment for the production of natural gas or oil, or in the case of a dry hole, the reporting of abandonment to the appropriate agency.|
|Condensate||Liquid hydrocarbons associated with the production that is primarily natural gas.|
|Crude oil||Liquid hydrocarbons retrieved from geological structures underground to be refined into fuel sources.|
|Developed acreage||Acreage assignable to productive wells.|
|Development costs||Capital costs incurred in the acquisition, exploitation and exploration of proved oil and natural gas reserves.|
|Differential||An adjustment to the price of oil or natural gas from an established spot market price to reflect differences in the quality and/or location of oil or natural gas.|
|Dry hole or dry well||A well found to be incapable of producing hydrocarbons in sufficient quantities such that proceeds from the sale of such production exceed production expenses and taxes.|
|Estimated Ultimate Recovery or EUR||Estimated ultimate recovery is the sum of reserves remaining as of a given date and cumulative production as of that date.|
|Exploitation||A development or other project which may target proven or unproven reserves (such as probable or possible reserves), but which generally has a lower risk than that associated with exploration projects.|
|Field||An area consisting of either a single reservoir or multiple reservoirs, all grouped on or related to the same individual geological structural feature and/or stratigraphic condition.|
|Finding and development costs||Capital costs incurred in the acquisition, exploitation and exploration of proved oil and natural gas reserves divided by proved reserve additions and revisions to proved reserves.|
|Fracturing||The process of creating and preserving a fracture or system of fractures in a reservoir rock typically by injecting a fluid under pressure through a wellbore and into the targeted formation.|
|Gross acres or gross wells||The total acres or wells, as the case may be, in which a working interest is owned.|
|Horizontal drilling||A drilling technique used in certain formations where a well is drilled vertically to a certain depth and then drilled at a right angle with a specified interval.|
|Horizontal wells||Wells drilled directionally horizontal to allow for development of structures not reachable through traditional vertical drilling mechanisms.|
|MBbls||One thousand barrels of crude oil or other liquid hydrocarbons.|
|MBOE||One thousand barrels of crude oil equivalent, determined using a ratio of six Mcf of natural gas to one Bbl of crude oil, condensate or natural gas liquids.|
|Mcf||One thousand cubic feet of natural gas.|
|Mcf/d||One thousand cubic feet of natural gas per day.|
|Mineral interests||The interests in ownership of the resource and mineral rights, giving an owner the right to profit from the extracted resources.|
|MMBtu||One million British Thermal Units.|
|MMcf||Million cubic feet of natural gas.|
|Net acres or net wells||The sum of the fractional working interest owned in gross acres.|
|Net revenue interest||An owner’s interest in the revenues of a well after deducting proceeds allocated to royalty and overriding interests.|
|Net royalty acres||Gross acreage multiplied by the average royalty interest.|
|Oil and natural gas properties||Tracts of land consisting of properties to be developed for oil and natural gas resource extraction.|
|Operator||The individual or company responsible for the exploration and/or production of an oil or natural gas well or lease.|
|Play||A set of discovered or prospective oil and/or natural gas accumulations sharing similar geologic, geographic and temporal properties, such as source rock, reservoir structure, timing, trapping mechanism and hydrocarbon type.|
|Plugging and abandonment||Refers to the sealing off of fluids in the strata penetrated by a well so that the fluids from one stratum will not escape into another or to the surface. Regulations of all states require plugging of abandoned wells.|
|PUD||Proved undeveloped reserves.|
|Productive well||A well that is found to be mechanically capable of producing hydrocarbons in sufficient quantities such that proceeds from the sale of the production exceed production expenses and taxes.|
|Prospect||A specific geographic area which, based on supporting geological, geophysical or other data and also preliminary economic analysis using reasonably anticipated prices and costs, is deemed to have potential for the discovery of commercial hydrocarbons.|
|Proved developed reserves||Reserves that can be expected to be recovered through existing wells with existing equipment and operating methods.|
|Proved reserves||The estimated quantities of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids which geological and engineering data demonstrate with reasonable certainty to be commercially recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions.|
|Proved undeveloped reserves||Proved reserves that are expected to be recovered from new wells on undrilled acreage or from existing wells where a relatively major expenditure is required for recompletion.|
|Recompletion||The process of re-entering an existing wellbore that is either producing or not producing and completing new reservoirs in an attempt to establish or increase existing production.|
|Reserves||Reserves are estimated remaining quantities of oil and natural gas and related substances anticipated to be economically producible, as of a given date, by application of development projects to known accumulations. In addition, there must exist, or there must be a reasonable expectation that there will exist, the legal right to produce or a revenue interest in the production, installed means of delivering oil and natural gas or related substances to the market and all permits and financing required to implement the project. Reserves should not be assigned to adjacent reservoirs isolated by major, potentially sealing, faults until those reservoirs are penetrated and evaluated as economically producible. Reserves should not be assigned to areas that are clearly separated from a known accumulation by a non-productive reservoir (i.e., absence of reservoir, structurally low reservoir or negative test results). Such areas may contain prospective resources (i.e., potentially recoverable resources from undiscovered accumulations).|
|Reservoir||A porous and permeable underground formation containing a natural accumulation of producible natural gas and/or crude oil that is confined by impermeable rock or water barriers and is separate from other reservoirs.|
|Resource play||A set of discovered or prospective oil and/or natural gas accumulations sharing similar geologic, geographic and temporal properties, such as source rock, reservoir structure, timing, trapping mechanism and hydrocarbon type.|
|Royalty interest||An interest that gives an owner the right to receive a portion of the resources or revenues without having to carry any costs of development, which may be subject to expiration.|
|Spacing||The distance between wells producing from the same reservoir. Spacing is often expressed in terms of acres (e.g., 40-acre spacing) and is often established by regulatory agencies.|
|Tight formation||A formation with low permeability that produces natural gas with very low flow rates for long periods of time.|
|Undeveloped acreage||Lease acreage on which wells have not been drilled or completed to a point that would permit the production of economic quantities of oil and natural gas regardless of whether such acreage contains proved reserves.|
|Working interest||An operating interest that gives the owner the right to drill, produce and conduct operating activities on the property and receive a share of production and requires the owner to pay a share of the costs of drilling and production operations.|
|WTI||West Texas Intermediate.|
GLOSSARY OF CERTAIN OTHER TERMS
The following is a glossary of certain other terms that are used in this Annual Report:
|ASU||Accounting Standards Update.|
|Company||Diamondback Energy, Inc., a Delaware corporation, together with its subsidiaries.|
|Dodd-Frank Act||Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (HR 4173).|
|EPA||U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.|
|Equity Plan||The Company’s Equity Incentive Plan.|
|Exchange Act||The Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended.|
|FASB||Financial Accounting Standards Board.|
|FERC||Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.|
|GAAP||Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States.|
|2025 Indenture||The indenture relating to the 2025 Senior Notes, dated as of December 20, 2016, among the Company, the subsidiary guarantors party thereto and Wells Fargo, as the trustee, as supplemented.|
|2025 Senior Notes||The Company’s 5.375% senior unsecured notes due 2025 issued under the 2025 indenture.|
|IG Indenture||The indenture dated as of December 5, 2019, among the Company, the subsidiary guarantors party thereto and Wells Fargo, as the trustee, as supplemented by the supplemental indentures relating to the December 2019 Notes, the May 2020 Notes and the March 2021 Notes.|
|December 2019 Notes||The Company’s 2.875% senior unsecured notes due 2024, the Company’s 3.250% senior unsecured notes due 2026 and the Company’s 3.500% senior unsecured notes due 2029 issued under the IG indenture and the related first supplemental indenture.|
|May 2020 Notes||The Company’s 4.750% Senior Notes due 2025 issued under the IG Indenture and the related second supplemental indenture.|
|March 2021 Notes||The Company’s 0.900% Senior Notes due 2023, the Company’s 3.125% Senior Notes due 2031 and the Company’s 4.400% Senior Notes due 2051 issued under the IG Indenture and the related third supplemental indenture.|
|NYMEX||New York Mercantile Exchange.|
|Rattler||Rattler Midstream LP, a Delaware limited partnership.|
|Rattler’s General Partner||Rattler Midstream GP LLC, a Delaware limited liability company; the general partner of Rattler Midstream LP and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company.|
|Rattler LLC||Rattler Midstream Operating LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and a subsidiary of Rattler.|
|Rattler LTIP||Rattler Midstream LP Long-Term Incentive Plan.|
|Rattler Offering||Rattler’s initial public offering.|
|Ryder Scott||Ryder Scott Company, L.P.|
|SEC||United States Securities and Exchange Commission.|
|SEC Prices||Unweighted arithmetic average oil and natural gas prices as of the first day of the month for the most recent 12 months as of the balance sheet date.|
|Securities Act||The Securities Act of 1933, as amended.|
|Senior Notes||The December 2019 Notes, the May 2020 Notes and the March 2021 Notes.|
|Viper||Viper Energy Partners LP, a Delaware limited partnership.|
|Viper’s general partner||Viper Energy Partners GP LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and the General Partner of the Partnership.|
|Viper LLC||Viper Energy Partners LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and a subsidiary of Viper.|
|Wells Fargo||Wells Fargo Bank, National Association.|
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Exchange Act, which involve risks, uncertainties, and assumptions. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, including statements regarding our: future performance; business strategy; future operations (including drilling plans and capital plans); estimates and projections of revenues, losses, costs, expenses, returns, cash flow, and financial position; reserve estimates and our ability to replace or increase reserves; anticipated benefits of strategic transactions (including acquisitions and divestitures); and plans and objectives of management (including plans for future cash flow from operations and for executing environmental strategies) are forward-looking statements. When used in this report, the words “aim,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “forecast,” “future,” “guidance,” “intend,” “may,” “model,” “outlook,” “plan,” “positioned,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would,” and similar expressions (including the negative of such terms) as they relate to the Company are intended to identify forward-looking statements, although not all forward-looking statements contain such identifying words. Although we believe that the expectations and assumptions reflected in our forward-looking statements are reasonable as and when made, they involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict and, in many cases, beyond our control. Accordingly, forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and our actual outcomes could differ materially from what we have expressed in our forward-looking statements.
Factors that could cause our outcomes to differ materially include (but are not limited to) the following:
•Changes in supply and demand levels for oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids, and the resulting impact on the price for those commodities;
•the impact of public health crises, including epidemic or pandemic diseases such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and any related company or government policies or actions;
•actions taken by the members of OPEC and Russia affecting the production and pricing of oil, as well as other domestic and global political, economic, or diplomatic developments;
•changes in general economic, business or industry conditions, including changes in foreign currency exchange rates, interest rates, and inflation rates;
•regional supply and demand factors, including delays, curtailment delays or interruptions of production, or governmental orders, rules or regulations that impose production limits;
•federal and state legislative and regulatory initiatives relating to hydraulic fracturing, including the effect of existing and future laws and governmental regulations;
•restrictions on the use of water, including limits on the use of produced water and a moratorium on new produced water well permits recently imposed by the Texas Railroad Commission in an effort to control induced seismicity in the Permian Basin;
•significant declines in prices for oil, natural gas, or natural gas liquids, which could require recognition of significant impairment charges;
•changes in U.S. energy, environmental, monetary and trade policies;
•conditions in the capital, financial and credit markets, including the availability and pricing of capital for drilling and development operations and our environmental and social responsibility projects;
•challenges with employee retention and an increasingly competitive labor market due to a sustained labor shortage or increased turnover caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
•changes in availability or cost of rigs, equipment, raw materials, supplies, oilfield services;
•changes in safety, health, environmental, tax, and other regulations or requirements (including those addressing air emissions, water management, or the impact of global climate change);
•security threats, including cybersecurity threats and disruptions to our business and operations from breaches of our information technology systems, or from breaches of information technology systems of third parties with whom we transact business;
•lack of, or disruption in, access to adequate and reliable transportation, processing, storage, and other facilities for our oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids;
•failures or delays in achieving expected reserve or production levels from existing and future oil and natural gas developments, including due to operating hazards, drilling risks, or the inherent uncertainties in predicting reserve and reservoir performance;
•difficulty in obtaining necessary approvals and permits;
•severe weather conditions;
•acts of war or terrorist acts and the governmental or military response thereto;
•changes in the financial strength of counterparties to our credit agreement and hedging contracts;
•changes in our credit rating; and
•the risk factors discussed in Item 1A of Part I of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
In light of these factors, the events anticipated by our forward-looking statements may not occur at the time anticipated or at all. Moreover, we operate in a very competitive and rapidly changing environment and new risks emerge from time to time. We cannot predict all risks, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by any forward-looking statements we may make. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements made in this report. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report or, if earlier, as of the date they were made. We do not intend to, and disclaim any obligation to, update or revise any forward-looking statements unless required by applicable law.
Except as noted, in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, we refer to Diamondback, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, as “we,” “us,” “our,” or “the Company”. This Annual Report includes certain terms commonly used in the oil and natural gas industry, which are defined above in the “Glossary of Oil and Natural Gas Terms.”
ITEMS 1 and 2. BUSINESS AND PROPERTIES
We are an independent oil and natural gas company focused on the acquisition, development, exploration and exploitation of unconventional, onshore oil and natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin in West Texas. This basin, which is one of the major producing basins in the United States, is characterized by an extensive production history, a favorable operating environment, mature infrastructure, long reserve life, multiple producing horizons, enhanced recovery potential and a large number of operators. We report operations in two operating segments: (i) the upstream segment and (ii) the midstream operations segment, which includes midstream services.
Our activities are primarily focused on horizontal development of the Spraberry and Wolfcamp formations of the Midland Basin and the Wolfcamp and Bone Spring formations of the Delaware Basin, both of which are part of the larger Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico. These formations are characterized by a high concentration of oil and liquids rich natural gas, multiple vertical and horizontal target horizons, extensive production history, long-lived reserves and high drilling success rates.
At December 31, 2021, our total acreage position in the Permian Basin was approximately 524,700 gross (445,848 net) acres, which consisted primarily of approximately 292,903 gross (265,562 net) acres in the Midland Basin and approximately 189,357 gross (148,588 net) acres in the Delaware Basin.
In addition, our publicly traded subsidiary Viper Energy Partners LP, which we refer to as Viper, owns mineral interests in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale. We own Viper Energy Partners GP LLC, the general partner of Viper, which we refer to as Viper’s general partner, and we own approximately 54% of the limited partner interests in Viper.
Further, our publicly traded subsidiary Rattler Midstream LP, which we refer to as Rattler, is focused on ownership, operation, development and acquisition of midstream infrastructure assets in the Midland and Delaware Basins of the Permian Basin. We own Rattler Midstream GP LLC, the general partner of Rattler, which we refer to as Rattler’s general partner, and we own approximately 74% of the limited partner interests in Rattler.
As of December 31, 2021, our estimated proved oil and natural gas reserves were 1,788,991 MBOE (which includes estimated reserves of 127,888 MBOE attributable to the mineral interests owned by Viper). Of these reserves, approximately 67% are classified as proved developed producing. Proved undeveloped, or PUD, reserves included in this estimate are from 602 gross (533 net) horizontal well locations in which we have a working interest, and 17 horizontal wells in which we own only a mineral interest through our subsidiary, Viper. As of December 31, 2021, our estimated proved reserves were approximately 52% oil, 24% natural gas liquids and 24% natural gas.
Significant 2021 Acquisitions and Divestitures
On February 26, 2021, we acquired all leasehold interests and related assets of Guidon Operating LLC (the “Guidon Acquisition”), which included approximately 32,500 net acres in the Northern Midland Basin, in exchange for 10.68 million shares of the Company’s common stock and $375 million of cash.
On March 17, 2021, we acquired QEP Resources, Inc. (”QEP”) in a transaction structured as a merger (the “QEP Merger”). The addition of QEP’s assets increased our net acreage in the Midland Basin by approximately 49,000 net acres. Under the terms of the merger agreement with QEP, we issued approximately 12.12 million shares of our common stock to the former QEP stockholders, constituting a total value at the closing date of approximately $987 million.
On October 21, 2021, we completed the divestiture of our Williston Basin oil and natural gas assets, consisting of approximately 95,000 net acres acquired in the QEP Merger, for net cash proceeds of approximately $586 million after customary closing adjustments.
See Note 4—Acquisitions and Divestitures included in notes to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report for additional discussion of our acquisitions and divestitures during 2021.
COVID-19 and Effects on Commodity Prices
After briefly reaching negative levels in April 2020, oil prices recovered during 2021, closing at $85.43 per Bbl as of January 18, 2022 per Bbl WTI, spurred by the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and producer restraint. Demand for oil and natural gas increased during 2021, as many restrictions on conducting business implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted due to improved treatments and availability of vaccinations in the U.S. and globally. The emergence of the Delta COVID-19 variant in the latter part of 2021 and the subsequent surge of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, however, contributed to economic and pricing volatility as industry and market participants evaluated industry conditions and production outlook. Further, on January 4, 2022, OPEC and its non-OPEC allies, known collectively as OPEC+, agreed to continue their program (commenced in August of 2021) of gradual monthly output increases in February 2022, raising its output target by 400,000 Bbls per day, which move is expected to further boost oil supply in response to rising demand. In its report issued on February 10, 2022, OPEC noted its expectation that world oil demand will rise by 4.15 million Bbls per day in 2022 as the global economy continues to post a strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Although this demand outlook is expected to underpin oil prices, already seen at a seven-year high in February 2022, we cannot predict any future volatility in commodity prices or demand for crude oil.
Despite the recovery in commodity prices and rising demand, we kept our production relatively flat during 2021, using excess cash flow for debt repayment and/or return to our stockholders rather than expanding our drilling program.
Our Business Strategy
Our business strategy includes the following:
•Exercise Capital Discipline. During 2021, we continued building on our execution track record, generating free cash flow while keeping capital costs under control. Our efficiency gains, particularly in the Midland Basin drilling and completion programs, enabled us to mitigate certain inflationary pressures on well costs, which led to a total capital expenditure amount of $1.5 billion, down 11% from our guidance presented in April of 2021. We expect to continue to exercise capital discipline and plan to spend between $1.75 billion and $1.90 billion in 2022, with the goal of maintaining flat oil production throughout the year. This capital range accounts for the inflationary pressures we expect to see in 2022.
•Focus on low cost development strategy and continuous improvement in operational, capital allocation and cost efficiencies. Our acreage position is generally in contiguous blocks which allows us to develop this acreage efficiently with a “manufacturing” strategy that takes advantage of economies of scale and uses centralized production and fluid handling facilities. We are the operator of approximately 99% of our acreage, which allows us to efficiently manage our operating costs, pace of development activities and the gathering and marketing of our production. Our average 85% working interest in our acreage allows us to realize the majority of the benefits of these activities and cost efficiencies.
•Continue to deliver on our enhanced capital return program. We expect to be in a position to continue to deliver on our enhanced capital return program, through which we intend to distribute 50% of our quarterly free cash flow to our stockholders. Our capital return program is currently focused on our sustainable and growing base dividend and a combination of stock repurchases and variable dividends.
•Leverage our experience operating in the Permian Basin. Our executive team, which has significant experience in the Permian Basin, intends to continue to seek ways to maximize hydrocarbon recovery by optimizing and enhancing our drilling and completion techniques. Our focus on efficient drilling and completion techniques is an important part of the continuous drilling program we have planned for our significant inventory of identified potential drilling locations. We believe that the experience of our executive team in deviated and horizontal drilling and completions has helped reduce the execution risk normally associated with these complex well paths. In addition, our completion techniques are continually evolving as we evaluate and implement hydraulic fracturing practices that have and are expected to continue to increase recovery and reduce completion costs. Our executive team regularly evaluates our operating results against those of other top operators in the area in an effort to benchmark our performance and adopt best practices compared to our peers.
•Pursue strategic acquisitions with substantial resource potential. We have a proven history of acquiring leasehold positions in the Permian Basin that have substantial oil-weighted resource potential. Our executive team, with its extensive experience in the Permian Basin, has what we believe is a competitive advantage in identifying acquisition targets and a proven ability to evaluate resource potential. During 2021, we completed
the QEP Merger, which increased our net acreage in the Midland Basin by approximately 49,000 net acres. Also during 2021, we completed the Guidon Acquisition which included approximately 32,500 net acres in the Northern Midland Basin. These acquisitions, combined with our developmental activities, contributed to an increase in our total proved reserves of approximately 36% in 2021. We regularly review acquisition opportunities and intend to pursue acquisitions that meet our strategic and financial targets.
•Maintain financial flexibility. We seek to maintain a conservative financial position. As of December 31, 2021, Diamondback had $595 million of standalone cash and cash equivalents and our borrowing base was set at $1.6 billion which was fully available for future borrowings. As of December 31, 2021, Viper LLC had $39 million of cash and cash equivalents, $304 million in outstanding borrowings and $196 million available for future borrowings under its operating company’s revolving credit facility. As of December 31, 2021, Rattler LLC had $20 million of cash and cash equivalents, $195 million in outstanding borrowings and $405 million available for future borrowings under its operating company’s revolving credit facility.
•Deliver on our commitment to ESG performance. We are committed to the safe and responsible development of our resources in the Permian Basin. Our approach to environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) matters is evidenced through our commitment to people, environmental responsibility, community and sound governance practices. Specifically, in February 2021, we announced significant enhancements to our ESG performance and disclosure, including Scope 1 and methane emission intensity reduction targets, as well as the implementation of our “Net Zero Now” initiative under which, effective January 1, 2021, we strive to produce every hydrocarbon with zero Scope 1 emissions. In September 2021, we announced our long-term goal to end routine flaring by 2025 and a long-term target to source over 65% of our water used for drilling and completion operations from recycled sources by 2025.
We believe the following strengths will help us achieve our business goals:
•Oil rich resource base in one of North America’s leading resource plays. Substantially all of our leasehold acreage is located in one of the most prolific oil plays in North America, the Permian Basin in West Texas. The majority of our current properties are well positioned in the core of the Permian Basin. Our production for the year ended December 31, 2021 was approximately 60% oil, 20% natural gas liquids and 20% natural gas. As of December 31, 2021, our estimated net proved reserves were comprised of approximately 52% oil, 24% natural gas liquids and 24% natural gas.
•Multi-year drilling inventory in one of North America’s leading oil resource plays. We have identified a multi-year inventory of potential drilling locations for our oil-weighted reserves that we believe provides attractive growth and return opportunities. At an assumed economic price of approximately $50.00 per Bbl WTI, we currently have approximately 9,314 gross (6,311 net) identified potential horizontal drilling locations on our acreage, based on our evaluation of applicable geologic and engineering data. These gross identified economic potential horizontal locations have an average lateral length of approximately 8,646 feet, with the actual length depending on lease geometry and other considerations. These locations exist across most of our acreage blocks and in multiple horizons. The ultimate inter-well spacing at these locations may vary due to different factors, which would result in a higher or lower location count. In addition, we have approximately 4,980 square miles of proprietary 3-D seismic data covering our acreage. This data facilitates the evaluation of our existing drilling inventory and provides insight into future development activity, including additional horizontal drilling opportunities and strategic leasehold acquisitions.
•Experienced, incentivized and proven management team. Our executive team has a proven track record of executing on multi-rig development drilling programs and extensive experience in the Permian Basin. In addition, our executive team has significant experience with both drilling and completing horizontal wells in addition to horizontal well reservoir and geologic expertise, which is of strategic importance as we expand our horizontal drilling activity.
•Favorable operating environment. We have focused our drilling and development operations in the Permian Basin, one of the longest operating hydrocarbon basins in the United States, with a long and well-established production history and developed infrastructure. We believe that the geological and regulatory environment of the Permian Basin is more stable and predictable, and that we are faced with less operational risks in the Permian Basin, as compared to emerging hydrocarbon basins.
•High degree of operational control. We are the operator of approximately 99% of our Permian Basin acreage. This operating control allows us to better execute on our strategies of enhancing returns through operational and cost efficiencies and increasing ultimate hydrocarbon recovery by seeking to continually improve our drilling techniques, completion methodologies and reservoir evaluation processes. We retain the ability to increase or decrease our capital expenditure program based on commodity price outlooks. This operating control also enables us to obtain data needed for efficient exploration of horizontal prospects.
•Access to midstream infrastructure and gathering and transportation pipelines. Through our publicly traded subsidiary Rattler and joint ventures in which it owns an interest, we have secured access to midstream infrastructure and crude oil and NGL gathering and transportation pipelines tailored to our expected levels of production in order to allow us the operational flexibility to execute on our business plan. Rattler is the primary provider of crude oil gathering and transportation and water sourcing and distribution service to us, with an acreage dedication that spans a total of approximately 450,000 gross acres across all of Rattler’s service lines and over the core of the Midland and Delaware Basins.
Location and Land
The Permian Basin area covers a significant portion of western Texas and eastern New Mexico and is considered one of the major producing basins in the United States. As of December 31, 2021, our total acreage position in the Permian Basin was approximately 524,700 gross (445,848 net) acres, which consisted primarily of approximately 292,903 gross (265,562 net) acres in the Midland Basin and approximately 189,357 gross (148,588 net) acres in the Delaware Basin. In addition, our publicly traded subsidiary Viper owns mineral interests underlying approximately 930,871 gross acres and 27,027 net royalty acres in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale. Approximately 54% of these net royalty acres are operated by us.
We have been developing multiple pay intervals in the Permian Basin through horizontal drilling and believe that there are opportunities to target additional intervals throughout the stratigraphic column. We believe our significant experience drilling, completing and operating horizontal wells will allow us to efficiently develop our remaining inventory and ultimately target other horizons that have limited development to date. The following table presents horizontal producing wells in which we have a working interest as of December 31, 2021:
|Basin||Number of Horizontal Wells|
(1) Of these 2,842 total horizontal producing wells, we are the operator of 2,378 wells and have a non-operated working interest in 464 additional wells.
The following table presents the average number of days in which we were able to drill our horizontal wells to total depth specified below during the year ended December 31, 2021:
|Average Days to Total Depth|
|7,500 foot lateral||10 |
|10,000 foot lateral||11 |
|13,000 foot lateral||13 |
|7,500 foot lateral||11 |
|10,000 foot lateral||14 |
|13,000 foot lateral||23 |
Further advances in drilling and completion technology may result in economic development of zones that are not currently viable.
Our subsidiary, Rattler, is focused on ownership, operation, development and acquisition of the midstream infrastructure assets in the Midland and Delaware Basins of the Permian Basin. Rattler’s crude oil infrastructure assets consist of gathering pipelines and metering facilities, which collectively gather crude oil for its customers. Rattler’s facilities gather crude oil from horizontal and vertical wells in our ReWard, Spanish Trail, Pecos and Fivestones areas within the Permian Basin. Rattler’s water sourcing and distribution assets consists of water wells, frac pits, pipelines and water treatment and recycling facilities, which collectively gather and distribute water from Permian Basin aquifers to the drilling and completion sites through buried pipelines and temporary surface pipelines. Additionally, Rattler previously owned natural gas gathering assets, substantially all of which were divested in the fourth quarter of 2021. Subsequent to the divestiture of these assets, we utilize third party services and joint ventures in which Rattler owns equity interests discussed below for gathering and transportation of our natural gas production.
As of December 31, 2021, Rattler owned and operated 866 miles of crude oil gathering pipelines and a fully integrated water system on acreage that overlays our nine core Midland and Delaware Basin development areas. To facilitate the transportation of water and crude oil volumes away from the producing wellhead to ensure the efficient operations of a crude oil well, Rattler’s midstream infrastructure includes a network of gathering pipelines that collect and transport crude oil and produced water from our operations in the Midland and Delaware Basins. We have entered into multiple fee-based commercial agreements with Rattler, each with an initial term ending in 2034, utilizing Rattler’s infrastructure assets or its planned infrastructure assets to provide an array of essential services critical to our upstream operations in the Delaware and Midland Basins. Our agreements with Rattler include substantial acreage dedications.
As of December 31, 2021, Rattler also owned interests in the following investments:
•a 10% equity interest in EPIC Crude Holdings LP, which owns and operates a long-haul crude oil pipeline from the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale to Corpus Christi, Texas that is capable of transporting approximately 600,000 Bbl/d, which began full operations in April 2020 and is referred to as the EPIC pipeline;
•a 10% equity interest in Gray Oak Pipeline, LLC, which owns and operates a long-haul crude oil pipeline that is capable of transporting 900,000 Bbl/d from the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford Shale to points along the Texas Gulf Coast, including a marine terminal connection in Corpus Christi, Texas, which began full operations in April 2020 and is referred to as the Gray Oak pipeline;
•a 4% equity interest in Wink to Webster Pipeline LLC, which is developing a crude oil pipeline that upon full commercial operations expected in the first quarter of 2022 will be capable of transporting approximately 1,500,000 Bbl/d from origin points at Wink and Midland in the Permian Basin for delivery to multiple Houston area locations;
•a 60% equity interest in OMOG JV LLC, which operates approximately 245 miles of crude oil gathering and regional transportation pipelines and approximately 200,000 barrels of crude oil storage in Midland, Martin, Andrews and Ector Counties, Texas; and
•a 25% equity interest in Remuda Midstream Holdings LLC, a joint venture that owns a majority interest in WTG Midstream LLC, which owns and operates an interconnected gas gathering system and six major gas processing plants servicing the Midland Basin with 925 MMcf/d of total processing capacity with additional gas gathering and processing expansions planned.
For additional information regarding our equity method investments as of December 31, 2021, see Note 10—Equity Method Investments to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report.
Rattler also owns and operates certain real estate assets in Midland, Texas including the Fasken Center which has over 421,000 net rentable square feet within its two office towers.
Our proved reserves are located in the Permian Basin of West Texas, in particular in the Clearfork, Spraberry, Bone Spring, Wolfcamp, Strawn, Atoka and Barnett/Meramec formations. The Spraberry play was initiated with production from several new field discoveries in the late 1940s and early 1950s. It was eventually recognized that a regional productive trend was present, as fields were extended and coalesced over a broad area in the central Midland Basin. Development in the Spraberry play was sporadic over the next several decades due to typically low productive rate wells, with economics being dependent on oil prices and drilling costs.
The Wolfcamp formation is a long-established reservoir in West Texas, first found in the 1950s as wells aiming for deeper targets occasionally intersected slump blocks or debris flows with good reservoir properties. Exploration using 2-D seismic data located additional fields, but it was not until the use of 3-D seismic data in the 1990s that the greater extent of the Wolfcamp formation was revealed. The additional potential of the shales within this formation as reservoir rather than just source rocks was not recognized until very recently.
By mid-2010, approximately half of the rigs active in the Permian Basin were drilling wells in the Permian Spraberry, Dean and Wolfcamp formations, which we collectively refer to as the Wolfberry play. Since then we and most other operators are almost exclusively drilling horizontal wells in the development of unconventional reservoirs in the Permian Basin. As of December 31, 2021, we held working interests in 5,289 gross (4,430 net) producing wells and only royalty interests in 6,455 additional wells.
The Greater Permian Basin formed as an area of rapid Pennsylvanian-Permian subsidence in response to dynamic structural influence of the Marathon Uplift and Ancestral Rockies. It is one of the most productive sedimentary basins in the U.S., with established oil and natural gas production from several stacked reservoirs of varying age ranges, most notably Permian aged sediments. In particular, the Permian aged Wolfcamp, Spraberry and Bone Spring Formations have been heavily targeted for several decades. First, through vertical comingling of these zones and, more recently, through horizontal exploitation of each individual horizon. Prior to deposition of the Wolfcamp, Spraberry and Bone Spring Formations, the area of the present-day Permian Basin was a continuous sedimentary feature called the Tabosa Basin. During this time, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian and Mississippian sediments were laid down in a primarily open marine, shelf setting. However, some time frames saw more restrictive settings that were conducive to the deposition of organically rich mudstone such as the Devonian Woodford and Mississippian Barnett/Meramec. These formations are important sources and, more recently, reservoirs within the present-day Greater Permian Basin.
The Spraberry and Bone Spring Formations were deposited as siliciclastic and carbonate turbidites and debris flows along with pelagic mudstones in a deep-water, basinal environment, while the Wolfcamp reservoirs consist of debris-flow, grain-flow and fine-grained pelagic sediments, which were also deposited in a basinal setting. The best carbonate reservoirs within the Wolfcamp, Spraberry and Bone Spring are generally found in close proximity to the Central Basin Platform, while mudstone reservoirs thicken basin-ward, away from the Central Basin Platform. The mudstone within these reservoirs is organically rich, which when buried to sufficient depth for thermal maturation, became the source of the hydrocarbons found both within the mudstones themselves and in the interbedded conventional clastic and carbonate reservoirs. Due to this complexity, the Wolfcamp, Spraberry and Bone Spring intervals are a hybrid reservoir system that contains characteristics of both unconventional and conventional reservoirs.
We have successfully developed several hybrid reservoir intervals within the Clearfork, Spraberry/Bone Spring, Wolfcamp and Barnett/Meramec formations since we began horizontal drilling in 2012. The mudstones and some clastics exhibit low permeabilities which necessitate the need for hydraulic fracture stimulation to unlock the vast storage of hydrocarbons in these targets.
We possess, or are in the process of acquiring, 3-D seismic data over substantially all of our major asset areas. Our extensive geophysical database currently includes approximately 4,980 square miles of 3-D data. This data will continue to be utilized in the development of our horizontal drilling program and identification of additional resources to be exploited.
During the year ended December 31, 2021, net production from our acreage was 137,002 MBOE, or an average of 375,348 BOE/d, of which approximately 60% was oil, 20% was natural gas liquids and 20% was natural gas.
Recent and Future Activity
During 2022, we expect to drill an estimated 270 to 290 gross (248 to 267 net) operated horizontal wells and complete an estimated 260 to 280 gross (240 to 258 net) operated horizontal wells on our acreage. We currently estimate that our capital expenditures in 2022 will be between $1.75 billion and $1.90 billion, consisting of $1.56 billion to $1.67 billion for horizontal drilling and completions including non-operated activity and capital workovers, $110 million to $130 million for infrastructure and environmental and $80 million to $100 million for midstream investments, excluding joint venture investments and the cost of any leasehold and mineral interest acquisitions. During the year ended December 31, 2021, we drilled 216 gross (203 net) and completed 275 gross (258 net) operated horizontal wells. During the year ended December 31, 2021, our capital expenditures for drilling, completing and equipping wells and infrastructure additions to oil and natural gas properties were $1.5 billion. In addition, we spent $30 million for oil and natural gas midstream assets.
We were operating 10 drilling rigs and four completion crews at December 31, 2021 and currently intend to operate between 10 and 12 rigs and three and four completion crews on average in 2022. We will continue monitoring the ongoing commodity price environment and expect to retain the financial flexibility to adjust our drilling and completion plans in response to market conditions.
Oil and Natural Gas Data
Evaluation and Review of Reserves
Our historical reserve estimates as of December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019 were prepared by Ryder Scott with respect to our assets and those of Viper. Ryder Scott is an independent petroleum engineering firm. The technical persons responsible for preparing our proved reserve estimates meet the requirements with regards to qualifications, independence, objectivity and confidentiality set forth in the Standards Pertaining to the Estimating and Auditing of Oil and Gas Reserves Information promulgated by the Society of Petroleum Engineers. Ryder Scott is a third-party engineering firm and does not own an interest in any of our properties and is not employed by us on a contingent basis.
Under SEC rules, proved reserves are those quantities of oil and natural gas that, by analysis of geoscience and engineering data, can be estimated with reasonable certainty to be economically producible from a given date forward, from known reservoirs and under existing economic conditions, operating methods and government regulations prior to the time at which contracts providing the right to operate expire, unless evidence indicates that renewal is reasonably certain, regardless of whether deterministic or probabilistic methods are used for the estimation. If deterministic methods are used, the SEC has defined reasonable certainty for proved reserves as a “high degree of confidence that the quantities will be recovered.” All of our proved reserves as of December 31, 2021 were estimated using a deterministic method.
The estimation of reserves involves two distinct determinations. The first determination results in the estimation of the quantities of recoverable oil and natural gas and the second determination results in the estimation of the uncertainty associated with those estimated quantities in accordance with the definitions established under SEC rules. The process of estimating the quantities of recoverable oil and natural gas reserves relies on the use of certain generally accepted analytical procedures. These analytical procedures fall into three broad categories or methods: (1) performance-based methods, (2) volumetric-based methods and (3) analogy. These methods may be used singularly or in combination by the reserve evaluator in the process of estimating the quantities of reserves. Approximately 95% of the proved producing reserves attributable to producing wells were estimated by performance methods. These performance methods include, but may not be limited to, decline curve analysis, which utilized extrapolations of available historical production and pressure data. The remaining 5% of the proved producing reserves were estimated by analogy, or a combination of performance and analogy methods. The analogy method was used where there were inadequate historical performance data to establish a definitive trend and where the use of production performance data as a basis for the reserve estimates was considered to be inappropriate. All proved developed non-producing and undeveloped reserves were estimated by the analogy method.
To estimate economically recoverable proved reserves and related future net cash flows, Ryder Scott considered many factors and assumptions, including the use of reservoir parameters derived from geological, geophysical and engineering data which cannot be measured directly, economic criteria based on current costs and the SEC pricing
requirements and forecasts of future production rates. To establish reasonable certainty with respect to our estimated proved reserves, the technologies and economic data used in the estimation of our proved reserves included production and well test data, downhole completion information, geologic data, electrical logs, radioactivity logs, core analyses, available seismic data and historical well cost and operating expense data.
The process of estimating oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids reserves is complex and requires significant judgment, as discussed in “Item 1A. Risk Factors” of this report. As a result, we maintain an internal staff of petroleum engineers and geoscience professionals who worked closely with our independent reserve engineers to ensure the integrity, accuracy and timeliness of the data used to calculate our proved reserves relating to our assets in the Permian Basin. Our internal technical team members met with our independent reserve engineers periodically during the period covered by the reserve reports to discuss the assumptions and methods used in the proved reserve estimation process. We provide historical information to the independent reserve engineers for our properties such as ownership interest, oil and natural gas production, well test data, commodity prices and operating and development costs.
Prior to his retirement effective December 31, 2021, our Executive Vice President and Chief Engineer was primarily responsible for overseeing the preparation of all our reserve estimates. Effective January 1, 2022, our Senior Vice President of Reservoir Engineering has assumed these responsibilities. We collectively refer to these individuals as the primary reserve engineers. The primary reserve engineers are petroleum engineers with over 30 and 18 years of reservoir and operations experience, respectively, and our geoscience staff has an average of approximately 15 years of industry experience per person. Our technical staff uses historical information for our properties such as ownership interest, oil and natural gas production, well test data, commodity prices and operating and development costs.
The preparation of our proved reserve estimates is completed in accordance with our internal control procedures. These procedures, which are intended to ensure reliability of reserve estimations, include the following:
•review and verification of historical production data, which is based on actual production as reported by us;
•preparation of reserve estimates by the primary reserve engineers or under their direct supervision;
•review by the primary reserve engineers of all of our reported proved reserves at the close of each quarter, including the review of all significant reserve changes and all new proved undeveloped reserves additions;
•direct reporting responsibilities by our Executive Vice President and Chief Engineer, prior to his retirement, to our Chief Executive Officer and by the current primary reserve engineer to our Executive Vice President—Operations;
•verification of property ownership by our land department; and
•no employee’s compensation is tied to the amount of reserves booked.
The following table presents our estimated net proved oil and natural gas reserves as of December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019 (including those attributable to Viper), based on the reserve reports prepared by Ryder Scott in accordance with the rules and regulations of the SEC. All of our proved reserves included in the reserve reports are located in the continental United States. As of December 31, 2021, none of our total proved reserves were classified as proved developed non-producing.
|As of December 31,|
|Estimated Proved Developed Reserves:|
|Oil (MBbls)||620,474 ||443,464 ||457,083 |
|Natural gas (MMcf)||1,770,688 ||1,085,035 ||824,760 |
|Natural gas liquids (MBbls)||285,513 ||192,495 ||165,173 |
|Total (MBOE)||1,201,102 ||816,798 ||759,716 |
|Estimated Proved Undeveloped Reserves:|
|Oil (MBbls)||307,815 ||315,937 ||253,820 |
|Natural gas (MMcf)||815,119 ||522,029 ||294,051 |
|Natural gas liquids (MBbls)||144,221 ||96,701 ||65,030 |
|Total (MBOE)||587,889 ||499,643 ||367,859 |
|Estimated Net Proved Reserves:|
|Oil (MBbls)||928,289 ||759,401 ||710,903 |
|Natural gas (MMcf)||2,585,807 ||1,607,064 ||1,118,811 |
|Natural gas liquids (MBbls)||429,734 ||289,196 ||230,203 |
|1,788,991 ||1,316,441 ||1,127,575 |
|Percent proved developed||67%||62%||67%|(1)Estimates of reserves as of December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019 were prepared using an average price equal to the unweighted arithmetic average of hydrocarbon prices received on a field-by-field basis on the first day of each month within the 12-month periods ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively, in accordance with SEC guidelines. Reserve estimates do not include any value for probable or possible reserves that may exist, nor do they include any value for undeveloped acreage. The reserve estimates represent our net revenue interest in our properties, all of which are located within the continental United States. Although we believe these estimates are reasonable, actual future production, cash flows, taxes, development expenditures, operating expenses and quantities of recoverable oil and natural gas reserves may vary substantially from these estimates. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” for a discussion of risks and uncertainties associated with our estimates of proved reserves and related factors, and see Note 21—Supplemental Information on Oil and Natural Gas Operations for further discussion of our reserve estimates and pricing.
Proved Undeveloped Reserves (PUDs)
As of December 31, 2021, our proved undeveloped reserves totaled 307,815 MBbls of oil, 815,119 MMcf of natural gas and 144,221 MBbls of natural gas liquids, for a total of 587,889 MBOE. PUDs will be converted from undeveloped to developed as the applicable wells begin production.
The following table includes the changes in PUD reserves for 2021 (MBOE):
|Beginning proved undeveloped reserves at December 31, 2020||499,643 |
|Undeveloped reserves transferred to developed||(172,526)|
|Extensions and discoveries||441,027 |
|Ending proved undeveloped reserves at December 31, 2021||587,889 |
The increase in proved undeveloped reserves was primarily attributable to extensions of 416,327 MBOE from 439 gross (383 net) wells in which we have a working interest and 24,700 MBOE from 336 gross wells in which Viper owns royalty interests. Of the 439 gross working interest wells, 409 were in the Midland Basin and 30 were in the Delaware Basin. Transfers of 172,526 MBOE from undeveloped to developed reserves were the result of drilling or participating in 154 gross (142 net) horizontal wells in which we have a working interest and 127 gross wells in which we have a royalty interest or mineral interest through Viper. We own a working interest in 106 of the 127 gross Viper wells. Downward revisions of 243,268 MBOE were the result of negative revisions of 260,494 MBOE due to downgrades related to changes in the corporate development plan following the QEP Merger and the Guidon Acquisition. These negative revisions were partially
offset with positive revisions of 17,226 MBOE primarily attributable to higher commodity prices and improved well performance. Purchases of 63,013 MBOE were the result of 59,023 MBOE primarily from QEP and Guidon, and 3,990 MBOE of Viper’s royalty interest purchases.
Costs incurred relating to the development of PUDs were approximately $516 million during 2021. Estimated future development costs relating to the development of PUDs are projected to be approximately $844 million in 2022, $1,053 million in 2023, $983 million in 2024 and $381 million in 2025. Since our formation in 2011, our average drilling costs and drilling times have been reduced, and we believe we will continue to realize cost savings and experience lower relative drilling and completion costs as we convert PUDs into proved developed reserves in upcoming years.
We have identified a multi-year inventory of potential drilling locations for our oil-weighted reserves that we believe provides attractive growth and return opportunities. At an assumed price of approximately $50.00 per Bbl WTI, we currently have approximately 9,314 gross (6,311 net) identified economic potential horizontal drilling locations on our acreage based on our evaluation of applicable geologic and engineering data. With our current development plan, we expect to continue our strong PUD conversion ratio in 2022 by converting an estimated 25% of our PUDs to a proved developed category and developing approximately 86% of the consolidated 2021 year-end PUD reserves by the end of 2024. As of December 31, 2021, all of our proved undeveloped reserves are scheduled to be developed within five years from the date they were initially recorded.
The following table presents the number of identified economic potential horizontal drilling locations by basin:
|Number of Identified Economic Potential Horizontal Drilling Locations|
|Total Midland Basin||5,767|
2nd Bone Springs(3)
3rd Bone Springs(3)
|Total Delaware Basin||3,547|
(1)Our current location count is based on 660 foot to 880 foot spacing in Midland, Martin and northeast Andrews counties, depending on the prospect area and 880 foot spacing in all other counties.
(2)Our current location count is based on 660 foot to 880 foot spacing in Midland and Howard counties, depending on the prospect area and 880 foot spacing in all other counties.
(3)Our current location count is based on 880 foot to 1,320 foot spacing.
(4)Our current location count is based on 880 foot to 1,056 foot spacing.
Oil and Natural Gas Production Prices and Production Costs
Production and Price History
The following tables set forth information regarding our net production of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids by basin for each of the periods indicated:
|Midland Basin||Delaware Basin|
|Year Ended December 31, 2021|
|Oil (MBbls)||52,112 ||25,672 ||3,738 ||81,522 |
|Natural gas (MMcf)||96,083 ||66,034 ||7,289 ||169,406 |
|Natural gas liquids (MBbls)||17,010 ||8,749 ||1,487 ||27,246 |
|Total (MBoe)||85,136 ||45,427 ||6,440 ||137,002 |
|Year Ended December 31, 2020|
|Oil (MBbls)||38,313 ||27,703 ||166 ||66,182 |
|Natural gas (MMcf)||68,529 ||61,606 ||414 ||130,549 |
|Natural gas liquids (MBbls)||12,597 ||9,295 ||89 ||21,981 |
|Total (MBoe)||62,332 ||47,266 ||324 ||109,921 |
|Year Ended December 31, 2019|
|Oil (MBbls)||41,156 ||25,951 ||1,411 ||68,518 |
|Natural gas (MMcf)||48,109 ||48,447 ||1,057 ||97,613 |
|Natural gas liquids (MBbls)||10,485 ||7,826 ||187 ||18,498 |
|Total (MBoe)||59,659 ||41,852 ||1,774 ||103,285 |
(1)Production data for the year ended December 31, 2021 includes the Eagle Ford Shale, Rockies and High Plains.
(2)Production data for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 includes the Central Basin Platform, the Eagle Ford Shale and the Rockies.
The following table sets forth certain price and cost information for each of the periods indicated:
|Year Ended December 31,|
|Oil ($ per Bbl)||$||66.19 ||$||36.41 ||$||51.87 |
|Natural gas ($ per Mcf)||$||3.36 ||$||0.82 ||$||0.68 |
|Natural gas liquids ($ per Bbl)||$||28.70 ||$||10.87 ||$||14.42 |
|Combined ($ per BOE)||$||49.25 ||$||25.07 ||$||37.63 |
Oil, hedged ($ per Bbl)(1)
|$||52.56 ||$||40.34 ||$||51.96 |
Natural gas, hedged ($ per Mcf)(1)
|$||2.39 ||$||0.67 ||$||0.86 |
Natural gas liquids, hedged ($ per Bbl)(1)
|$||28.33 ||$||10.83 ||$||15.20 |
Average price, hedged ($ per BOE)(1)
|$||39.87 ||$||27.26 ||$||38.00 |
|Average Costs per BOE:|
|Lease operating expenses||$||4.12 ||$||3.87 ||$||4.74 |
|Production and ad valorem taxes||3.10 ||1.77 ||2.40 |
|Gathering and transportation expense||1.55 ||1.27 ||0.86 |
|General and administrative - cash component||0.69 ||0.46 ||0.54 |
|Total operating expense - cash||$||9.46 ||$||7.37 ||$||8.54 |
|General and administrative - non-cash component||$||0.37 ||$||0.34 ||$||0.46 |
|Depletion||8.77 ||11.30 ||13.54 |
|Interest expense, net||1.45 ||1.79 ||1.66 |
|Merger and integration expense||0.57 ||— ||— |
|Total expenses||$||11.16 ||$||13.43 ||$||15.66 |
(1)Hedged prices reflect the effect of our commodity derivative transactions on our average sales prices and include gains and losses on cash settlements for matured commodity derivatives, which we do not designate for hedge accounting. Hedged prices exclude gains or losses resulting from the early settlement of commodity derivative contracts.
Wells Drilled and Completed in 2021
The following table sets forth the total number of operated horizontal wells drilled and completed during the year ended December 31, 2021:
|Year Ended December 31, 2021|
|Midland Basin||175 ||165 ||207 ||194 |
|Delaware Basin||41 ||38 ||64 ||61 |
|Other||— ||— ||4 ||3 |
|Total||216 ||203 ||275 ||258 |
As of December 31, 2021, we operated the following wells:
|Vertical Wells||Horizontal Wells||Total|
|Midland Basin||2,215 ||2,056 ||1,731 ||1,606 ||3,946 ||3,662 |
|Delaware Basin||29 ||26 ||647 ||609 ||676 ||635 |
|Total||2,244 ||2,082 ||2,378 ||2,215 ||4,622 ||4,297 |
As of December 31, 2021, we owned an interest in a total of 11,744 gross productive wells with an average unweighted 84% working interest in 5,289 gross (4,430 net) wells and an average 1.7% royalty interest in 6,455 additional wells. Through our subsidiary Viper, we own an average 3.3% net revenue interest in 9,095 of the total 11,744 gross productive wells. Productive wells consist of producing wells and wells capable of production, including natural gas wells awaiting pipeline connections to commence deliveries and oil wells awaiting connection to production facilities. Gross wells are the total number of producing wells in which we have an interest, and net wells are the sum of our fractional working interests owned in gross wells.
The following table sets forth information regarding productive wells by basin as of December 31, 2021:
|Gross Wells||Net Wells|
|Oil||Natural Gas||Total||Oil||Natural Gas||Total|
|Midland Basin||7,869 ||37 ||7,906 ||3,738 ||10 ||3,748 |
|Delaware Basin||2,020 ||205 ||2,225 ||663 ||16 ||679 |
|Other||1,467 ||146 ||1,613 ||3 ||— ||3 |
|Total productive wells||11,356 ||388 ||11,744 ||4,404 ||26 ||4,430 |
The following tables set forth information with respect to the number of wells drilled during the periods indicated by basin. Each of these wells was drilled in the Permian Basin of West Texas. The information should not be considered indicative of future performance, nor should it be assumed that there is necessarily any correlation between the number of productive wells drilled, quantities of reserves found or economic value. Productive wells are those that produce commercial quantities of hydrocarbons, whether or not they produce a reasonable rate of return.
|Year Ended December 31, 2021|
|Midland Basin||Delaware Basin||Total|
|Productive||33 ||30 ||7 ||7 ||40 ||37 |
|Dry||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Productive||142 ||135 ||34 ||31 ||176 ||166 |
|Dry||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Productive||175 ||165 ||41 ||38 ||216 ||203 |
|Dry||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Year Ended December 31, 2020|
|Midland Basin||Delaware Basin||Total|
|Productive||87 ||81 ||26 ||25 ||113 ||106 |
|Dry||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Productive||46 ||44 ||49 ||45 ||95 ||89 |
|Dry||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Productive||133 ||125 ||75 ||70 ||208 ||195 |
|Dry||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Year Ended December 31, 2019|
|Midland Basin||Delaware Basin||Total|
|Productive||75 ||68 ||31 ||28 ||106 ||96 |
|Dry||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Productive||96 ||86 ||128 ||114 ||224 ||200 |
|Dry||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Productive||171 ||154 ||159 ||142 ||330 ||296 |
|Dry||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
As of December 31, 2021, we had 24 gross (23 net) operated wells in the process of drilling and 129 gross (118 net) in the process of completion or waiting on completion.
The following table sets forth information as of December 31, 2021 relating to our leasehold acreage:
|Midland||184,700 ||157,931 ||108,203 ||107,631 ||292,903 ||265,562 |
|Delaware||97,000 ||71,418 ||92,357 ||77,169 ||189,357 ||148,587 |
|Exploration||480 ||480 ||37,728 ||28,409 ||38,208 ||28,889 |
|Conventional Permian||— ||— ||1,025 ||941 ||1,025 ||941 |
|Other||3,207 ||1,868 ||— ||1 ||3,207 ||1,869 |
|Total||285,387 ||231,697 ||239,313 ||214,151 ||524,700 ||445,848 |
(1)Does not include undrilled acreage held by production under the terms of the lease. Large portions of the acreage that are considered developed under SEC guidelines are developed with vertical wells or horizontal wells that are in a single horizon. We believe much of this acreage has significant remaining development potential in one or more intervals with horizontal wells.
(2)Does not include Viper’s mineral interests but does include leasehold acres that we own underlying our mineral interests.
Undeveloped Acreage Expirations
As of December 31, 2021, the following gross and net undeveloped acres are set to expire over the next 5 years based on their contractual lease maturities unless (i) production is established within the spacing units covering the acreage or (ii) the lease is renewed or extended under continuous drilling provisions prior to the contractual expiration dates.
|2022||13,636 ||7,115 ||25,771 ||17,489 ||20,179 ||17,251 ||59,586 ||41,855 |
|2023||3,969 ||124 ||13,049 ||9,347 ||— ||— ||17,018 ||9,471 |
|2024||4,282 ||125 ||19,710 ||1,394 ||— ||— ||23,992 ||1,519 |
|2025||— ||— ||160 ||160 ||— ||— ||160 ||160 |
|2026||— ||— ||80 ||— ||— ||— ||80 ||— |
|Total||21,887 ||7,364 ||58,770 ||28,390 ||20,179 ||17,251 ||100,836 ||53,005 |
Title to Properties
Prior to the drilling of an oil or natural gas well, it is the normal practice in our industry for the person or company acting as the operator of the well to obtain a preliminary title review to ensure there are no obvious defects in title to the well. To the extent title opinions or other investigations reflect title defects on those properties, we are typically responsible for curing any title defects at our expense. We generally will not commence drilling operations on a property until we have cured any material title defects on such property. We have obtained title opinions on substantially all of our producing properties
and believe that we have satisfactory title to our producing properties in accordance with standards generally accepted in the oil and natural gas industry. Prior to completing an acquisition of producing oil and natural gas leases, we perform title reviews on the most significant leases and, depending on the materiality of properties, we may obtain a title opinion, an updated title review, or review previously obtained title opinions. Our oil and natural gas properties are subject to customary royalty and other interests, liens for current taxes and other burdens which we believe do not materially interfere with the use of or affect our carrying value of the properties.
Marketing and Customers
We typically sell production to a relatively small number of customers, as is customary in the exploration, development and production business. For the year ended December 31, 2021, three purchasers each accounted for more than 10% of our revenue. For the year ended December 31, 2020, four purchasers each accounted for more than 10% of our revenue. For the year ended December 31, 2019, three purchasers each accounted for more than 10% of our revenue. We do not require collateral and do not believe the loss of any single purchaser would materially impact our operating results, as crude oil and natural gas are fungible products with well-established markets and numerous purchasers. For additional information regarding our customer concentrations, see Note 3—Revenue from Contracts with Customers included in notes to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report.
Certain of our firm sales agreements for oil include delivery commitments that specify the delivery of a fixed and determinable quantity. We believe our current production and reserves are sufficient to fulfill these delivery commitments and we expect such reserves will continue to be the primary means of fulfilling our future commitments. However, these contracts provide the options of delivering third-party volumes or paying a monetary shortfall penalty if production is inadequate to satisfy our commitment. For additional information regarding commitments, see Note 18—Commitments and Contingencies included in notes to the consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report.
The oil and natural gas industry is intensely competitive, and in our upstream segment, we compete with other companies that have greater resources. Many of these companies not only explore for and produce oil and natural gas, but also carry on midstream and refining operations and market petroleum and other products on a regional, national or worldwide basis. These companies may be able to pay more for productive oil and natural gas properties and exploratory prospects or to define, evaluate, bid for and purchase a greater number of properties and prospects than our financial or human resources permit. In addition, these companies may have a greater ability to continue exploration activities during periods of low oil and natural gas market prices. Our larger or more integrated competitors may be able to absorb the burden of existing, and any changes to, federal, state and local laws and regulations more easily than we can, which would adversely affect our competitive position. Further, oil and natural gas compete with other forms of energy available to customers, primarily based on price. These alternate forms of energy include electricity, coal and fuel oils.
In our midstream operations segment, as Rattler seeks to expand its crude oil and water-related midstream services, it faces a high level of competition, including major integrated crude oil and natural gas companies, interstate and intrastate pipelines and companies that gather, compress, treat, process, transport, store or market oil and natural gas. As Rattler seeks to expand to provide its midstream services to third party producers, it similarly faces a high level of competition. Competition is often the greatest in geographic areas experiencing robust drilling by producers and during periods of high commodity prices for crude oil, natural gas or natural gas liquids. Within the acreage dedicated by us to Rattler, Rattler does not compete with other midstream companies to provide us with midstream services as a result of our relationship and long-term dedications to Rattler’s midstream assets. However, we may continue to use third party service providers for certain midstream services within such dedicated acreage until the expiration or termination of certain pre-existing dedications. Additionally, subsequent to the divestiture of substantially all of Rattler’s natural gas gathering assets in the fourth quarter of 2021, third parties and joint ventures in which Rattler owns equity interests discussed above provide all of our natural gas gathering and transportation services.
During the initial development of our fields we evaluate all gathering and delivery infrastructure in the areas of our production. Currently, a majority of our production in the Midland and Delaware Basins are transported to purchasers by pipeline.
The following table presents the average percentage of produced oil sold by pipeline and the average percentage of produced water connected to produced water disposal wells by pipeline:
|Midland Basin||Delaware Basin||Total|
|% of produced oil sold by pipeline||96 ||%||93 ||%||95 ||%|
|% of produced water transported by pipeline||98 ||%||99 ||%||99 ||%|
We have entered into multiple fee-based commercial agreements with Rattler, each with an initial term ending in 2034, utilizing Rattler’s infrastructure assets or its planned infrastructure assets to provide an array of essential services critical to our upstream operations in the Delaware and Midland Basins. Our agreements with Rattler include an acreage dedication consisting of a total of approximately 450,000 gross acres across all Rattler’s service lines located within the Midland and Delaware Basins.
Oil and Natural Gas Leases
The typical oil and natural gas lease agreement covering our properties provides for the payment of royalties to the mineral owner for all oil and natural gas produced from any wells drilled on the leased premises. The lessor royalties and other leasehold burdens on our properties generally range from 15% to 35%, resulting in a net revenue interest to us generally ranging from 65% to 85%.
Seasonal Nature of Business
Generally, demand for oil increases during the summer months and decreases during the winter months while natural gas decreases during the summer months and increases during the winter months. Certain natural gas buyers utilize natural gas storage facilities and purchase some of their anticipated winter requirements during the summer, which can lessen seasonal demand fluctuations. In our exploration and production business, seasonal weather conditions (such as the severe winter storms in the Permian Basin in early 2021), and lease stipulations can limit our drilling and producing activities and other oil and natural gas operations in a portion of our operating areas. These seasonal anomalies can pose challenges for meeting our well drilling objectives and can increase competition for equipment, supplies and personnel during the spring and summer months, which could lead to shortages and increase costs or delay operations.
Oil and natural gas operations such as ours are subject to various types of legislation, regulation and other legal requirements. Legislation and regulation affecting the oil and natural gas industry is under constant review for amendment or expansion. Some of these requirements carry substantial penalties for failure to comply. The regulatory burden on the oil and natural gas industry increases our cost of doing business and, consequently, affects our profitability.
Our oil and natural gas exploration, development and production operations are subject to stringent laws and regulations governing the discharge of materials into the environment or otherwise relating to environmental protection. Numerous federal, state and local governmental agencies, such as the EPA, issue regulations that often require difficult and costly compliance measures that carry substantial administrative, civil and criminal penalties and may result in injunctive obligations for non-compliance. These laws and regulations may require the acquisition of a permit before drilling commences, restrict the types, quantities and concentrations of various substances that can be released into the environment in connection with drilling and production activities, limit or prohibit construction or drilling activities on certain lands lying within wilderness, wetlands, ecologically or seismically sensitive areas, and other protected areas, require action to prevent or remediate pollution from current or former operations, such as plugging abandoned wells or closing pits, result in the suspension or revocation of necessary permits, licenses and authorizations, require that additional pollution controls be installed and impose substantial liabilities for pollution resulting from our operations or related to our owned or operated facilities. Liability under such laws and regulations is often strict (i.e., no showing of “fault” is required) and can be joint and several. Moreover, it is not uncommon for neighboring landowners and other third parties to file claims for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by the release of hazardous substances, hydrocarbons or other waste products into the environment. Changes in environmental laws and regulations occur frequently, and any changes that result in more stringent and costly pollution control or waste handling, storage, transport, disposal or cleanup requirements could materially and adversely affect our operations and financial position, as well as the oil and natural gas industry in general. Our management believes that we are in substantial compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations and we have not
experienced any material adverse effect from compliance with these environmental requirements. This trend, however, may not continue in the future.
Waste Handling. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or the RCRA, as amended, and comparable state statutes and regulations promulgated thereunder, affect oil and natural gas exploration, development and production activities by imposing requirements regarding the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, disposal and cleanup of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. With federal approval, the individual states administer some or all of the provisions of the RCRA, sometimes in conjunction with their own, more stringent requirements. Although most wastes associated with the exploration, development and production of crude oil and natural gas are exempt from regulation as hazardous wastes under the RCRA, such wastes may constitute “solid wastes” that are subject to the less stringent non-hazardous waste requirements. Moreover, the EPA or state or local governments may adopt more stringent requirements for the handling of non-hazardous wastes or categorize some non-hazardous wastes as hazardous for future regulation. Indeed, legislation has been proposed from time to time in the U.S. Congress to re-categorize certain oil and natural gas exploration, development and production wastes as “hazardous wastes.” Also, in December 2016, the EPA agreed in a consent decree to review its regulation of oil and natural gas waste. However, in April 2019, the EPA concluded that revisions to the federal regulations for the management of oil and natural gas waste are not necessary at this time. Any changes in such laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on our capital expenditures and operating expenses.
Administrative, civil and criminal penalties can be imposed for failure to comply with waste handling requirements. We believe that we are in substantial compliance with applicable requirements related to waste handling, and that we hold all necessary and up-to-date permits, registrations and other authorizations to the extent that our operations require them under such laws and regulations. Although we do not believe the current costs of managing our wastes, as presently classified, to be significant, any legislative or regulatory reclassification of oil and natural gas exploration and production wastes could increase our costs to manage and dispose of such wastes.
Remediation of Hazardous Substances. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, as amended, which we refer to as CERCLA or the “Superfund” law, and analogous state laws, generally impose liability, without regard to fault or legality of the original conduct, on classes of persons who are considered to be responsible for the release of a “hazardous substance” into the environment. These persons include the current owner or operator of a contaminated facility, a former owner or operator of the facility at the time of contamination, and those persons that disposed or arranged for the disposal of the hazardous substance at the facility. Under CERCLA and comparable state statutes, persons deemed “responsible parties” are subject to strict liability that, in some circumstances, may be joint and several for the costs of removing or remediating previously disposed wastes (including wastes disposed of or released by prior owners or operators) or property contamination (including groundwater contamination), for damages to natural resources and for the costs of certain health studies. In addition, it is not uncommon for neighboring landowners and other third parties to file claims for personal injury and property damage allegedly caused by the hazardous substances released into the environment. In the course of our operations, we use materials that, if released, would be subject to CERCLA and comparable state statutes. Therefore, governmental agencies or third parties may seek to hold us responsible under CERCLA and comparable state statutes for all or part of the costs to clean up sites at which such “hazardous substances” have been released.
Water Discharges. The Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, as amended, also known as the “Clean Water Act,” or the CWA, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Oil Pollution Act, or the OPA, and analogous state laws and regulations promulgated thereunder impose restrictions and strict controls regarding the unauthorized discharge of pollutants, including produced waters and other gas and oil wastes, into navigable waters of the United States, as well as state waters. The discharge of pollutants into regulated waters is prohibited, except in accordance with the terms of a permit issued by the EPA or the state. Spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan requirements under federal law require appropriate containment berms and similar structures to help prevent the contamination of navigable waters in the event of a petroleum hydrocarbon tank spill, rupture or leak. The CWA and regulations implemented thereunder also prohibit the discharge of dredge and fill material into regulated waters, including jurisdictional wetlands, unless authorized by an appropriately issued permit.
The scope of waters regulated under the CWA has fluctuated in recent years. On June 29, 2015, the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or the Corps, jointly promulgated final rules redefining the scope of waters protected under the CWA. However, on October 22, 2019, the agencies published a final rule to repeal the 2015 rules, and then, on April 21, 2020, the EPA and the Corps published a final rule replacing the 2015 rule, and significantly reducing the waters subject to federal regulation under the CWA. On August 30, 2021, a federal court struck down the replacement rule and, on December 7, 2021, the EPA and the Corps published a proposed rule that would put back into place the pre-2015 definition of “waters of the United States,” updated to reflect Supreme Court decisions, while the agencies continue to consult with stakeholders on future regulatory actions. As a result of such recent developments, substantial uncertainty exists regarding the scope of waters
protected under the CWA. To the extent the rules expand the range of properties subject to the CWA’s jurisdiction, we could face increased costs and delays with respect to obtaining permits for dredge and fill activities in wetland areas.
The EPA has also adopted regulations requiring certain oil and natural gas exploration and production facilities to obtain individual permits or coverage under general permits for storm water discharges. In addition, on June 28, 2016, the EPA published a final rule prohibiting the discharge of wastewater from onshore unconventional oil and natural gas extraction facilities to publicly owned wastewater treatment plants, which regulations are discussed in more detail below under the caption “–Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing.” Costs may be associated with the treatment of wastewater or developing and implementing storm water pollution prevention plans, as well as for monitoring and sampling the storm water runoff from certain of our facilities. Some states also maintain groundwater protection programs that require permits for discharges or operations that may impact groundwater conditions.
The OPA is the primary federal law for oil spill liability. The OPA contains numerous requirements relating to the prevention of and response to petroleum releases into waters of the United States, including the requirement that operators of offshore facilities and certain onshore facilities near or crossing waterways must develop and maintain facility response contingency plans and maintain certain significant levels of financial assurance to cover potential environmental cleanup and restoration costs. The OPA subjects owners of facilities to strict liability that, in some circumstances, may be joint and several for all containment and cleanup costs and certain other damages arising from a release, including, but not limited to, the costs of responding to a release of oil to surface waters.
Non-compliance with the CWA or the OPA may result in substantial administrative, civil and criminal penalties, as well as injunctive obligations. We believe we are in material compliance with the requirements of each of these laws.
Air Emissions. The federal Clean Air Act, or the CAA, as amended, and comparable state laws and regulations, regulate emissions of various air pollutants through the issuance of permits and the imposition of other requirements. The EPA has developed, and continues to develop, stringent regulations governing emissions of air pollutants at specified sources. New facilities may be required to obtain permits before work can begin, and existing facilities may be required to obtain additional permits and incur capital costs in order to remain in compliance. For example, on August 16, 2012, the EPA published final regulations under the federal CAA that establish new emission controls for oil and natural gas production and processing operations, which are discussed in more detail below in “—Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing.” Also, on May 12, 2016, the EPA issued a final rule regarding the criteria for aggregating multiple small surface sites into a single source for air-quality permitting purposes applicable to the oil and natural gas industry. This rule could cause small facilities, on an aggregate basis, to be deemed a major source, thereby triggering more stringent air permitting processes and requirements. These laws and regulations may increase the costs of compliance for some facilities we own or operate, and federal and state regulatory agencies can impose administrative, civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance with air permits or other requirements of the federal CAA and associated state laws and regulations. We believe that we are in substantial compliance with all applicable air emissions regulations and that we hold all necessary and valid construction and operating permits for our operations. Obtaining or renewing permits has the potential to delay the development of oil and natural gas projects.
Climate Change. In recent years, federal, state and local governments have taken steps to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. The EPA has finalized a series of greenhouse gas monitoring, reporting and emissions control rules for the oil and natural gas industry, and the U.S. Congress has, from time to time, considered adopting legislation to reduce emissions. Almost one-half of the states have already taken measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases primarily through the development of greenhouse gas emission inventories and/or regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade programs. In addition, states have imposed increasingly stringent requirements related to the venting or flaring of gas during oil and natural gas operations. For example, on November 4, 2020, the Texas Railroad Commission adopted new guidance on when flaring is permissible, requiring operators to submit more specific information to justify the need to flare or vent gas.
At the international level, in December 2015, the United States participated in the 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, France. The resulting Paris Agreement calls for the parties to undertake “ambitious efforts” to limit the average global temperature, and to conserve and enhance sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases. The Agreement went into effect on November 4, 2016. The Agreement establishes a framework for the parties to cooperate and report actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement effective November 4, 2020, President Biden issued an Executive Order on January 20, 2021 to rejoin the Paris Agreement, which went into effect on February 19, 2021. On April 21, 2021, the United States announced that it was setting an economy-wide target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52 percent below 2005 levels in 2030. In November 2021, in connection with the 26th Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, Scotland, the United States and other world leaders made further commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. Furthermore, many state and local leaders have stated their intent to intensify efforts to support the international climate commitments.
Restrictions on emissions of methane or carbon dioxide that may be imposed could adversely impact the demand for, price of, and value of our products and reserves. As our operations also emit greenhouse gases directly, current and future laws or regulations limiting such emissions could increase our own costs. At this time, it is not possible to accurately estimate how potential future laws or regulations addressing greenhouse gas emissions would impact our business.
In addition, there have also been efforts in recent years to influence the investment community, including investment advisors and certain sovereign wealth, pension and endowment funds promoting divestment of fossil fuel equities and pressuring lenders to limit funding and insurance underwriters to limit coverages to companies engaged in the extraction of fossil fuel reserves. Such environmental activism and initiatives aimed at limiting climate change and reducing air pollution could interfere with our business activities, operations and ability to access capital. Furthermore, claims have been made against certain energy companies alleging that greenhouse gas emissions from oil and natural gas operations constitute a public nuisance under federal and/or state common law. As a result, private individuals or public entities may seek to enforce environmental laws and regulations against us and could allege personal injury, property damages or other liabilities. While our business is not a party to any such litigation, we could be named in actions making similar allegations. An unfavorable ruling in any such case could significantly impact our operations and could have an adverse impact on our financial condition.
Moreover, climate change may be associated with extreme weather conditions such as more intense hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes and snow or ice storms, as well as rising sea levels. Another possible consequence of climate change is increased volatility in seasonal temperatures. Some studies indicate that climate change could cause some areas to experience temperatures substantially hotter or colder than their historical averages. Extreme weather conditions, such as the severe winter storms in the Permian Basin in February 2021, can interfere with our production and increase our costs and damage resulting from extreme weather may not be fully insured. However, at this time, we are unable to determine the extent to which climate change may lead to increased storm or weather hazards affecting our operations.
Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing
Hydraulic fracturing is an important common practice that is used to stimulate production of hydrocarbons from tight formations, including shales. The process, which involves the injection of water, sand and chemicals under pressure into formations to fracture the surrounding rock and stimulate production, is typically regulated by state oil and natural gas commissions. However, legislation has been proposed in recent sessions of the U.S. Congress to amend the Safe Drinking Water Act to repeal the exemption for hydraulic fracturing from the definition of “underground injection,” to require federal permitting and regulatory control of hydraulic fracturing, and to require disclosure of the chemical constituents of the fluids used in the fracturing process. Furthermore, several federal agencies have asserted regulatory authority over certain aspects of the process. For example, the EPA has taken the position that hydraulic fracturing with fluids containing diesel fuel is subject to regulation under the Underground Injection Control program, specifically as “Class II” Underground Injection Control wells under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
On June 28, 2016, the EPA published a final rule prohibiting the discharge of wastewater from onshore unconventional oil and natural gas extraction facilities to publicly owned wastewater treatment plants. The EPA is also conducting a study of private wastewater treatment facilities (also known as centralized waste treatment, or CWT, facilities) accepting oil and natural gas extraction wastewater. The EPA is collecting data and information related to the extent to which CWT facilities accept such wastewater, available treatment technologies (and their associated costs), discharge characteristics, financial characteristics of CWT facilities, and the environmental impacts of discharges from CWT facilities.
On August 16, 2012, the EPA published final regulations under the federal CAA that establish new air emission controls for oil and natural gas production and natural gas processing operations. Specifically, the EPA’s rule package includes New Source Performance standards to address emissions of sulfur dioxide and volatile organic compounds and a separate set of emission standards to address hazardous air pollutants frequently associated with oil and natural gas production and processing activities. The final rules seek to achieve a 95% reduction in volatile organic compounds emitted by requiring the use of reduced emission completions or “green completions” on all hydraulically-fractured wells constructed or refractured after January 1, 2015. The rules also establish specific new requirements regarding emissions from compressors, controllers, dehydrators, storage tanks and other production equipment. The EPA received numerous requests for reconsideration of these rules from both industry and the environmental community, and court challenges to the rules were also filed. In response, the EPA has issued, and will likely continue to issue, revised rules responsive to some of the requests for reconsideration. In particular, on May 12, 2016, the EPA amended its regulations to impose new standards for methane and volatile organic compounds emissions for certain new, modified, and reconstructed equipment, processes, and activities across the oil and natural gas sector. However, on August 13, 2020, in response to an executive order by former President Trump to review and revise unduly burdensome regulations, the EPA amended the 2012 and 2016 New Source Performance standards to ease regulatory burdens, including rescinding standards applicable to transmission or storage segments and eliminating methane requirements altogether. On June 30, 2021, President Biden signed into law a joint
resolution of the U.S. Congress disapproving the 2020 amendments (with the exception of some technical changes) thereby reinstating the 2012 and 2016 New Source Performance standards. The EPA expects owners and operators of regulated sources to take “immediate steps” to comply with these standards. Additionally, on November 15, 2021, the EPA published a proposed rule that would expand and strengthen emission reduction requirements for both new and existing sources in the oil and natural gas industry by requiring increased monitoring of fugitive emissions, imposing new requirements for pneumatic controllers and tank batteries, and prohibiting venting of natural gas in certain situations. These new standards, to the extent implemented, as well as any future laws and their implementing regulations, may require us to obtain pre-approval for the expansion or modification of existing facilities or the construction of new facilities expected to produce air emissions, impose stringent air permit requirements, or mandate the use of specific equipment or technologies to control emissions. We cannot predict the final regulatory requirements or the cost to comply with such requirements with any certainty.
Furthermore, there are certain governmental reviews either underway or being proposed that focus on environmental aspects of hydraulic fracturing practices. On December 13, 2016, the EPA released a study examining the potential for hydraulic fracturing activities to impact drinking water resources, finding that, under some circumstances, the use of water in hydraulic fracturing activities can impact drinking water resources. Also, on February 6, 2015, the EPA released a report with findings and recommendations related to public concern about induced seismic activity from disposal wells. The report recommends strategies for managing and minimizing the potential for significant injection-induced seismic events. Other governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office, have evaluated or are evaluating various other aspects of hydraulic fracturing. These ongoing or proposed studies could spur initiatives to further regulate hydraulic fracturing, and could ultimately make it more difficult or costly for us to perform fracturing and increase our costs of compliance and doing business.
Several states, including Texas, and local jurisdictions, have adopted, or are considering adopting, regulations that could restrict or prohibit hydraulic fracturing in certain circumstances, impose more stringent operating standards and/or require the disclosure of the composition of hydraulic fracturing fluids. The Texas Legislature adopted legislation, effective September 1, 2011, requiring oil and natural gas operators to publicly disclose the chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The Texas Railroad Commission adopted rules and regulations implementing this legislation that apply to all wells for which the Texas Railroad Commission issues an initial drilling permit after February 1, 2012. The law requires that the well operator disclose the list of chemical ingredients subject to the requirements of OSHA for disclosure on an internet website and also file the list of chemicals with the Texas Railroad Commission with the well completion report. The total volume of water used to hydraulically fracture a well must also be disclosed to the public and filed with the Texas Railroad Commission. Also, in May 2013, the Texas Railroad Commission adopted rules governing well casing, cementing and other standards for ensuring that hydraulic fracturing operations do not contaminate nearby water resources. The rules took effect in January 2014. Additionally, on October 28, 2014, the Texas Railroad Commission adopted disposal well rule amendments designed, among other things, to require applicants for new disposal wells that will receive non-hazardous produced water and hydraulic fracturing flowback fluid to conduct seismic activity searches utilizing the U.S. Geological Survey. The searches are intended to determine the potential for earthquakes within a circular area of 100 square miles around a proposed new disposal well. The disposal well rule amendments, which became effective on November 17, 2014, also clarify the Texas Railroad Commission’s authority to modify, suspend or terminate a disposal well permit if scientific data indicates a disposal well is likely to contribute to seismic activity. The Texas Railroad Commission has used this authority to deny permits and temporarily suspend operations for waste disposal wells and, in September 2021, the Texas Railroad Commission curtailed the amount of water companies were permitted to inject into some wells near Midland and Odessa in the Permian Basin, and has since indefinitely suspended some permits there and expanded the restrictions to other areas. These restrictions on use of produced water and a moratorium on new produced water disposal wells could result in increased operating costs, requiring us or our service providers to truck produced water, recycle it or pump it through the pipeline network or other means, all of which could be costly. We or our service providers may also need to limit disposal well volumes, disposal rates and pressures or locations, or require us or our service providers to shut down or curtail the injection of produced water into disposal wells. These factors may make drilling and completion activity in the affected parts of the Permian Basin less economical and adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
There has been increasing public controversy regarding hydraulic fracturing with regard to the use of fracturing fluids, induced seismic activity, impacts on drinking water supplies, use of water and the potential for impacts to surface water, groundwater and the environment generally. A number of lawsuits and enforcement actions have been initiated across the country implicating hydraulic fracturing practices. If new laws or regulations that significantly restrict hydraulic fracturing are adopted, such laws could make it more difficult or costly for us to perform fracturing to stimulate production from tight formations as well as make it easier for third parties opposing the hydraulic fracturing process to initiate legal proceedings based on allegations that specific chemicals used in the fracturing process could adversely affect groundwater. In addition, if hydraulic fracturing is further regulated at the federal, state or local level, our fracturing activities could become subject to additional permitting and financial assurance requirements, more stringent construction specifications, increased monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping obligations, plugging and abandonment requirements and also to permitting delays
and potential increases in costs. Such changes could cause us to incur substantial compliance costs, and compliance or the consequences of any failure to comply by us could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. At this time, it is not possible to estimate the impact on our business of newly enacted or potential federal, state or local laws governing hydraulic fracturing.
The federal Endangered Species Act, or ESA, and analogous state laws restrict activities that may affect listed endangered or threatened species or their habitats. If endangered species are located in areas where we operate, our operations or any work performed related to them could be prohibited or delayed or expensive mitigation may be required. While some of our operations may be located in areas that are designated as habitats for endangered or threatened species, we believe that we are in compliance with the ESA. However, the designation of previously unprotected species, such as dunes sagebrush lizard, in areas where we operate as threatened or endangered could result in the imposition of restrictions on our operations and consequently have a material adverse effect on our business.
Other Regulation of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry
The oil and natural gas industry is extensively regulated by numerous federal, state and local authorities. Legislation affecting the oil and natural gas industry is under constant review for amendment or expansion, frequently increasing the regulatory burden. Also, numerous departments and agencies, both federal and state, are authorized by statute to issue rules and regulations that are binding on the oil and natural gas industry and its individual members, some of which carry substantial penalties for failure to comply. Although the regulatory burden on the oil and natural gas industry increases our cost of doing business and, consequently, affects our profitability, these burdens generally do not affect us any differently or to any greater or lesser extent than they affect other companies in the industry with similar types, quantities and locations of production.
The availability, terms and cost of transportation significantly affect sales of oil and natural gas. The interstate transportation and sale for resale of oil and natural gas is subject to federal regulation, including regulation of the terms, conditions and rates for interstate transportation, storage and various other matters, primarily by FERC. Federal and state regulations govern the price and terms for access to oil and natural gas pipeline transportation. FERC’s regulations for interstate oil and natural gas transmission in some circumstances may also affect the intrastate transportation of oil and natural gas.
Although oil and natural gas prices are currently unregulated, the U.S. Congress historically has been active in the area of oil and natural gas regulation. We cannot predict whether new legislation to regulate oil and natural gas might be proposed, what proposals, if any, might actually be enacted by the U.S. Congress or the various state legislatures, and what effect, if any, the proposals might have on our operations. Sales of condensate and oil and natural gas liquids are not currently regulated and are made at market prices.
Drilling and Production. Our operations are subject to various types of regulation at the federal, state and local level. These types of regulation include requiring permits for the drilling of wells, drilling bonds and reports concerning operations. The state, and some counties and municipalities, in which we operate also regulate one or more of the following; the location of wells; the method of drilling and casing wells; the timing of construction or drilling activities, including seasonal wildlife closures; the rates of production or “allowables”; the surface use and restoration of properties upon which wells are drilled; the plugging and abandoning of wells; and notice to, and consultation with, surface owners and other third parties.
State laws regulate the size and shape of drilling and spacing units or proration units governing the pooling of oil and natural gas properties. Some states allow forced pooling or integration of tracts to facilitate exploration while other states rely on voluntary pooling of lands and leases. In some instances, forced pooling or unitization may be implemented by third parties and may reduce our interest in the unitized properties. In addition, state conservation laws establish maximum rates of production from oil and natural gas wells, generally prohibit the venting or flaring of natural gas and impose requirements regarding the ratability of production. These laws and regulations may limit the amount of oil and natural gas we can produce from our wells or limit the number of wells or the locations at which we can drill. Moreover, each state generally imposes a production or severance tax with respect to the production and sale of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids within its jurisdiction. States do not regulate wellhead prices or engage in other similar direct regulation, but we cannot assure you that they will not do so in the future. The effect of such future regulations may be to limit the amounts of oil and natural gas that may be produced from our wells, negatively affect the economics of production from these wells or to limit the number of locations we can drill.
Federal, state and local regulations provide detailed requirements for the plugging and abandonment of wells, closure or decommissioning of production facilities and pipelines and for site restoration in areas where we operate. Although the Corps does not require bonds or other financial assurances, some state agencies and municipalities do have such requirements.
Natural Gas Sales. Historically, federal legislation and regulatory controls have affected the price of the natural gas we produce and the manner in which we market our production. FERC has jurisdiction over the transportation and sale for resale of natural gas in interstate commerce by natural gas companies under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 and the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978. Since 1978, various federal laws have been enacted which have resulted in the complete removal of all price and non-price controls for sales of domestic natural gas sold in “first sales,” which include all of our sales of our own production. Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, FERC has substantial enforcement authority to prohibit the manipulation of natural gas markets and enforce its rules and orders, including the ability to assess substantial civil penalties.
Oil Sales and Transportation. Sales of crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids are not currently regulated and are made at negotiated prices. Nevertheless, the U.S. Congress could reenact price controls in the future.
Our crude oil sales are affected by the availability, terms and cost of transportation. The transportation of oil in common carrier pipelines is also subject to rate regulation. FERC regulates interstate oil pipeline transportation rates under the Interstate Commerce Act, and our subsidiary Rattler LLC has a tariff on file with FERC to perform oil gathering service in interstate commerce. Intrastate oil pipeline transportation rates are subject to regulation by state regulatory commissions. The basis for intrastate oil pipeline regulation, and the degree of regulatory oversight and scrutiny given to intrastate oil pipeline rates, varies from state to state. Insofar as effective interstate and intrastate rates are equally applicable to all comparable shippers, we believe that the regulation of oil transportation rates will not affect our operations in any materially different way than such regulation will affect the operations of our competitors.
Further, interstate and intrastate common carrier oil pipelines, including our subsidiary Rattler LLC, must provide service on a non-discriminatory basis. Under this open access standard, common carriers must offer service to all shippers requesting service on the same terms and under the same rates. When oil pipelines operate at full capacity, access is governed by prorationing provisions set forth in the pipelines’ published tariffs. Accordingly, we believe that access to oil pipeline transportation services generally will be available to us to the same extent as to our competitors.
Safety and Maintenance Regulation. In our midstream operations, Rattler LLC is subject to regulation by the U.S. Department of Transportation, or DOT, under the Hazardous Liquids Pipeline Safety Act of 1979, or HLPSA, and comparable state statutes with respect to design, installation, testing, construction, operation, replacement and management of pipeline facilities. HLPSA covers petroleum and petroleum products, including natural gas liquids and condensate, and requires any entity that owns or operates pipeline facilities to comply with such regulations, to permit access to and copying of records and to file certain reports and provide information as required by the United States Secretary of Transportation. These regulations include potential fines and penalties for violations. We believe that we are in compliance in all material respects with these HLPSA regulations.
Rattler LLC is also subject to the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002. The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act establishes mandatory inspections for all United States crude oil and natural gas transportation pipelines and some gathering pipelines in high-consequence areas within ten years. DOT, through the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, or PHMSA, has developed regulations implementing the Pipeline Safety Improvement Act that requires pipeline operators to implement integrity management programs, including more frequent inspections and other safety protections in areas where the consequences of potential pipeline accidents pose the greatest risk to people and their property.
The Pipeline Safety and Job Creation Act, enacted in 2011, and the Protecting our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety Act of 2016, also known as the PIPES Act, enacted in 2016, amended the HLPSA and increased safety regulation. The Pipeline Safety and Job Creation Act doubles the maximum administrative fines for safety violations from $100,000 to $200,000 for a single violation and from $1.0 million to $2.0 million for a related series of violations (now increased for inflation to $225,134 and $2,251,334, respectively), and provides that these maximum penalty caps do not apply to civil enforcement actions, establishes additional safety requirements for newly constructed pipelines, and requires studies of certain safety issues that could result in the adoption of new regulatory requirements for existing pipelines, including the expansion of integrity management, use of automatic and remote-controlled shut-off valves, leak detection systems, sufficiency of existing regulation of gathering pipelines, use of excess flow valves, verification of maximum allowable operating pressure, incident notification, and other pipeline-safety related requirements. The PIPES Act ensures that the PHMSA completes the Pipeline Safety and Job Creation Act requirements; reforms PHMSA to be a more dynamic, data-driven regulator; and closes gaps in federal standards.
PHMSA has undertaken rulemakings to address many areas of this legislation. For example, on October 1, 2019, PHMSA published final rules to expand its integrity management requirements and impose new pressure testing requirements on regulated pipelines, including certain segments outside High Consequence Areas. The rules, once effective, also extend reporting requirements to certain previously unregulated gathering lines. The safety enhancement requirements and other provisions of the Pipeline Safety and Job Creation Act and the PIPES Act, as well as any implementation of PHMSA rules thereunder and/or related rule making proceedings, could require us to install new or modified safety controls, pursue additional capital projects or conduct maintenance programs on an accelerated basis, any or all of which tasks could result in our incurring increased operating costs that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations or financial position. In addition, any material penalties or fines issued to us under these or other statutes, rules, regulations or orders could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operation and cash flow.
States are largely preempted by federal law from regulating pipeline safety but may assume responsibility for enforcing intrastate pipeline regulations at least as stringent as the federal standards, and many states have undertaken responsibility to enforce the federal standards. For example, on December 17, 2019, the Texas Railroad Commission adopted rules requiring that operators of gathering lines take 'appropriate' actions to fix safety hazards. We do not anticipate any significant problems in complying with applicable federal and state laws and regulations in Texas. Our gathering pipelines have ongoing inspection and compliance programs designed to keep the facilities in compliance with pipeline safety and pollution control requirements.
In addition, we are subject to the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSHA, and comparable state statutes, whose purpose is to protect the health and safety of workers. Moreover, the OSHA hazard communication standard, the EPA community right-to-know regulations under Title III of the federal Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act and comparable state statutes require that information be maintained concerning hazardous materials used or produced in our operations and that this information be provided to employees, state and local government authorities and citizens. Rattler LLC and the entities in which it owns an interest are also subject to OSHA Process Safety Management regulations, which are designed to prevent or minimize the consequences of catastrophic releases of toxic, reactive, flammable or explosive chemicals. These regulations apply to any process which involves a chemical at or above specified thresholds, or any process which involves flammable liquid or gas, pressurized tanks, caverns and wells in excess of 10,000 pounds at various locations. Flammable liquids stored in atmospheric tanks below their normal boiling point without the benefit of chilling or refrigeration are exempt from these standards. Also, the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies such as the EPA continue to develop regulations concerning the security of industrial facilities, including crude oil and natural gas facilities. We are subject to a number of requirements and must prepare Federal Response Plans to comply. We must also prepare Risk Management Plans under the regulations promulgated by the EPA to implement the requirements under the CAA to prevent the accidental release of extremely hazardous substances. We have an internal program of inspection designed to monitor and enforce compliance with safeguard and security requirements. We believe that we are in compliance in all material respects with all applicable laws and regulations relating to safety and security.
State Regulation. Texas regulates the drilling for, and the production, gathering and sale of, oil and natural gas, including imposing severance taxes and requirements for obtaining drilling permits. Texas currently imposes a 4.6% severance tax on oil production and a 7.5% severance tax on natural gas production. States also regulate the method of developing new fields, the spacing and operation of wells and the prevention of waste of oil and natural gas resources. States may regulate rates of production and may establish maximum daily production allowables from oil and natural gas wells based on market demand or resource conservation, or both. States do not regulate wellhead prices or engage in other similar direct economic regulation, but we cannot assure you that they will not do so in the future. The effect of these regulations may be to limit the amount of oil and natural gas that may be produced from our wells and to limit the number of wells or locations we can drill.
The petroleum industry is also subject to compliance with various other federal, state and local regulations and laws. Some of those laws relate to resource conservation and equal employment opportunity. We do not believe that compliance with these laws will have a material adverse effect on us.
Operational Hazards and Insurance
The oil and natural gas industry involves a variety of operating risks, including the risk of fire, explosions, blow outs, pipe failures and, in some cases, abnormally high pressure formations which could lead to environmental hazards such as oil spills, natural gas leaks and the discharge of toxic gases. If any of these should occur, we could incur legal defense costs and could be required to pay amounts due to injury, loss of life, damage or destruction to property, natural resources and equipment, pollution or environmental damage, regulatory investigation and penalties and suspension of operations.
In accordance with what we believe to be industry practice, we maintain insurance against some, but not all, of the operating risks to which our business is exposed. We currently have insurance policies for onshore property (oil lease property/production equipment) for selected locations, control of well protection for selected wells, comprehensive general liability, commercial automobile, workers compensation, pollution liability (claims made coverage with a policy retroactive date), excess umbrella liability and other coverage.
Our insurance is subject to exclusion and limitations, and there is no assurance that such coverage will fully or adequately protect us against liability from all potential consequences, damages and losses. Any of these operational hazards could cause a significant disruption to our business. A loss not fully covered by insurance could have a material adverse effect on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. See Item 1A. “Risk Factors–Risks Related to the Oil and Natural Gas Industry and Our Business–Operating hazards and uninsured risks may result in substantial losses and could prevent us from realizing profits.”
We reevaluate the purchase of insurance, policy terms and limits annually. Future insurance coverage for our industry could increase in cost and may include higher deductibles or retentions. In addition, some forms of insurance may become unavailable in the future or unavailable on terms that we believe are economically acceptable. No assurance can be given that we will be able to maintain insurance in the future at rates that we consider reasonable and we may elect to maintain minimal or no insurance coverage. We may not be able to secure additional insurance or bonding that might be required by new governmental regulations. This may cause us to restrict our operations, which might severely impact our financial position. The occurrence of a significant event, not fully insured against, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
Generally, we also require our third-party vendors to sign master service agreements in which they agree to indemnify us for property damage and injuries and deaths of the service provider’s employees as well as contractors and subcontractors hired by the service provider.
We have developed a culture grounded upon the solid foundation of our core values—leadership, integrity, excellence, people and teamwork—that are adhered to throughout our company. We set a high bar for all of our employees in terms of how they operate and interact, both within the office and out in the field. We challenge them to identify new ways to foster a better future for themselves and for us. Our board of directors, through its Safety, Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Committee, which we refer to as the SS&CR Committee, provides an important oversight of our human capital management strategy, including diversity, equity and inclusion. In January 2022, the SS&CR Committee’s charter was amended accordingly to include oversight of management of human capital as part of its ongoing responsibilities. The SS&CR Committee receives regular updates from our executive leadership, senior management and third-party consultants on human capital trends and other key human capital matters impacting our business.
As of December 31, 2021, we had approximately 870 full time employees. None of our employees are represented by labor unions or covered by any collective bargaining agreements. We also utilize independent contractors and consultants involved in land, technical, regulatory and other disciplines to assist our full-time employees.
Diversity, Inclusion, Recruiting and Retention
Equal employment opportunity is one of our core tenets and, as such, our employment decisions are based on merit, qualifications, competencies and contributions. We actively seek to attract and retain an increasingly diverse workforce and continue to cultivate an inclusive and respectful work environment. We deeply value the perspectives and experiences from our diverse personnel and are proud of our team, rich in a range of ethnic, cultural and ideological backgrounds. Nearly a third of our employees are women and over 25% of our employees self-identify as ethnic minorities. We took various actions during 2021 to increase the diversity in our candidate pool, and broaden our outreach, particularly within our college recruiting and internship programs, through various student organizations to support this inclusion effort which will continue in the future. In addition, we have focused on recruiting experienced hires to target and retain top industry talent. We have historically had a low annual voluntary attrition rate, representing approximately 13% in 2021, despite the challenging labor market and increased competition for talent impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that our low voluntary attrition rate is in part a result of our corporate culture focused on diversity and inclusion, teamwork and commitment to employee development and career advancement discussed in more detail below.
Health and Safety
Protecting employees, the public and the environment is a top priority in our operations and in the way we manage our assets. We are focused on minimizing the risk of workplace incidents and preparing for emergencies as an ingrained element of our corporate responsibility. We also strive to comply with all applicable health, safety and environmental standards, laws and regulations.
We have committed to reduce injuries and fatalities in our business and are focused on safety culture improvements, safety leadership actions and human performance principles. We are requiring our operational employees and independent contractors and their employees to go through SafeLandUSA orientation and training, which program is aligned with the International Association of Oil & Gas Producers Life Saving Rules and also meets the operational safety requirements adopted by the American Petroleum Institute. We also involve employees from all operational levels in our safety program to provide input and suggested improvements to the overall safety program, recommended preventative measures based on reviewing vehicle and personnel incidents, safety and environmental audits at operational locations and audit and oversight of the Diamondback Hazard Communication Program.
From 2017 through 2021, we had no employee work-related fatalities. Our employee OSHA recordable cases, comprising work-related injuries and illnesses that require medical treatment beyond first aid, totaled two in 2021, down from three in 2020. Our employee total recordable incident rate (TRIR) in 2021 was 0.25 in 2021 down from 0.42 in 2020 and lost-time incident rate (LTIR) was 0.12 in 2021 down from 0.14 in 2020. We have set a short-term target of maintaining an employee TRIR of 0.5 or less.
Training and Development
We support employees in pursuing training opportunities to expand their professional skills. Our internal course offerings in 2021 included a wide array of topics in addition to extensive safety and other compliance training sessions. Additionally, our people also undergo training and education each year on regulatory compliance, industry standards and innovative opportunities to effectively manage the challenges of developing our resources. We have also implemented development programs that are designed to build leadership capabilities at all levels.
Our corporate headquarters is located at the Fasken Center in Midland, Texas. We also lease additional office space in Midland, Texas, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Denver, Colorado.
Availability of Company Reports
Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and all amendments to those reports are available free of charge on the Investor Relations page of our website at www.diamondbackenergy.com as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. Information contained on, or connected to, our website is not incorporated by reference into this Annual Report and should not be considered part of this or any other report that we file with or furnish to the SEC.
Risk Factors Summary
The following is a summary of the principal risks that could adversely affect our business, operations and financial results. Please refer to Item 1A “Risk Factors” of this Form 10-K below for additional discussion of the risks summarized in this Risk Factors Summary.
Risks Related to the Oil and Natural Gas Industry and Our Business
•Our business and operations have been and will likely continue to be adversely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and volatility in the oil and natural gas markets.
•Market conditions and particularly volatility in prices for oil and natural gas may continue to adversely affect our revenue, cash flows, profitability, growth, production and the present value of our estimated reserves.
•We may be unable to obtain needed capital or financing on satisfactory terms or at all to fund our acquisitions or development activities, which could lead to a loss of properties and a decline in our oil and natural gas reserves and future production.
•Our failure to successfully identify, complete and integrate pending and future acquisitions of properties or businesses could reduce our earnings, and title defects in the properties in which we invest may lead to losses.
•Our identified potential drilling locations are susceptible to uncertainties that could materially alter the occurrence or timing of their drilling.
•Our hedging activities may limit or prevent our ability to take advantage of increased commodity prices, and despite such hedging activities, we may also be adversely affected by any declines in the price of oil or exposed to other risks, including counterparty credit risk.
•If production from our Permian Basin acreage decreases, we may fail to meet our obligations to deliver specified quantities of oil under our oil purchase contract, which may adversely affect our operations.
•The inability of one or more of our customers to meet their obligations, or loss of one or more of our significant purchasers, may adversely affect our financial results.
•Our method of accounting for investments in oil and natural gas properties may result in impairment of asset value.
•Any material inaccuracies in these reserve estimates or underlying assumptions will materially affect the quantities and present value of our reserves.
•We are vulnerable to risks associated with our primary operations concentrated in a single geographic area.
•If transportation or other facilities, certain of which we do not control, or rigs, equipment, raw materials, oil services or personnel are unavailable, our operations could be interrupted and our revenues reduced.
•Our operations are subject to various governmental laws and regulations which require compliance that can be burdensome and expensive and may impose restrictions on our operations.
•Recent and future U.S. tax legislation may adversely affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and cash flow.
•Drilling for and producing oil and natural gas are high-risk activities with many uncertainties that may result in a total loss of investment and adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.
•A terrorist attack or armed conflict could harm our business and could adversely affect our business.
•A cyber incident could result in information theft, data corruption, operational disruption and/or financial loss.
Risks Related to Our Indebtedness
•Our substantial level of indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations under our indebtedness, and we and our subsidiaries may be able to incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future.
•A reduction in availability under our revolving credit facility and the inability to otherwise obtain financing for our capital programs could require us to curtail our capital expenditures.
•Restrictive covenants in certain of our existing and future debt instruments may limit our ability to respond to changes in market conditions or pursue business opportunities.
•We depend on our subsidiaries for dividends, distributions and other payments.
•If we experience liquidity concerns, we could face a downgrade in our debt ratings which could restrict our access to, and negatively impact the terms of, current or future financings or trade credit.
•Borrowings under our, Viper LLC’s and Rattler LLC’s revolving credit facilities expose us to interest rate risk.
Risks Related to Our Common Stock
•The corporate opportunity provisions in our certificate of incorporation could enable affiliates of ours to benefit from corporate opportunities that might otherwise be available to us.
•If the price of our common stock fluctuates significantly, an investment in us could lose value.
•The declaration of dividends and any repurchases of our common stock are each within the discretion of our board of directors, and there is no guarantee that we will pay any dividends on or repurchases of our common stock in the future or at levels anticipated by our stockholders.
•A change of control could limit our use of net operating losses.
•If our operating results do not meet expectations of securities or industry analysts, our stock price could decline.
•We may issue preferred stock whose terms could adversely affect the voting power or value of our common stock.
•Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and Delaware law make it more difficult to effect a change in control of the company, which could adversely affect the price of our common stock.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
The nature of our business activities subjects us to certain hazards and risks. The following is a summary of some of the material risks relating to our business activities. Other risks are described in Item 1. “Business and Properties,” Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Item 7A. “Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.” These risks are not the only risks we face. We could also face additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial. If any of these risks actually occurs, it could materially harm our business, financial condition or results of operations and the trading price of our shares could decline.
Risks Related to the Oil and Natural Gas Industry and Our Business
Our business and operations have been and will likely continue to be adversely affected by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and volatility in the oil and natural gas markets. In addition, if commodity prices decrease, our production, estimates of proved reserves and liquidity may be adversely affected.
After turning negative in April 2020, NYMEX WTI prices have recovered, closing at $85.43 per Bbl as of January 18, 2022, as demand for oil and natural gas increased and many restrictions on conducting business implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted due to improved treatments and availability of vaccinations in the U.S. and globally. The emergence of the Delta COVID-19 variant in the latter part of 2021 and the subsequent surge of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, however, contributed to economic and pricing volatility as industry and market participants evaluated industry conditions and production outlook. Despite the recent recovery in demand for oil and natural gas and commodity prices, we have kept production on our acreage relatively flat during 2021, using excess cash flow for debt repayment and/or return to our stockholders rather than expanding our drilling program. We intend to continue exercising capital discipline by maintaining our oil production flat in 2022 at the fourth quarter 2021 level. We cannot reasonably predict whether production levels will remain at current levels or the full extent of the events above and any subsequent recovery may have on our industry and our business.
Due to the improvement in commodity pricing environment and industry conditions, we did not record any impairments in 2021. However, if commodity prices fall below current levels, we may be required to record impairments in future periods and such impairments could be material. Further, if commodity prices decrease, our production, proved reserves and cash flows will be adversely impacted. Reductions in our reserves could also negatively impact the borrowing base under our revolving credit facility, which could limit our liquidity and ability to conduct additional exploration and development activities.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to present operational, health, labor, logistics and other challenges, and it is difficult to assess the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, financial condition and cash flows.
There are many variables and uncertainties regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, including the emergence, contagiousness and threat of new and different strains of the virus and their severity; the effectiveness of treatments or vaccines against the virus or its new strains; the extent of travel restrictions, business closures and other measures that are or may be imposed in affected areas or countries by governmental authorities; disruptions in the supply chain; an increasingly competitive labor market due to a sustained labor shortage or increased turnover caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; increased logistics costs; additional costs due to remote working arrangements, adherence to social distancing guidelines and other COVID-19-related challenges. Further, there remain increased risks of cyberattacks on information technology systems used in a remote working environment; increased privacy-related risks due to processing health-related personal information; absence of workforce due to illness; the impact of the pandemic on any of our contractual counterparties; and other factors that are currently unknown or considered immaterial. It is difficult to assess the ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, financial condition and cash flows.
Market conditions for oil and natural gas, and particularly volatility in prices for oil and natural gas, have in the past adversely affected, and may in the future adversely affect, our revenue, cash flows, profitability, growth, production and the present value of our estimated reserves.
Our revenues, operating results, profitability, future rate of growth and the carrying value of our oil and natural gas properties depend significantly upon the prevailing prices for oil and natural gas. Historically, oil and natural gas prices have been volatile and are subject to fluctuations in response to changes in supply and demand, market uncertainty and a variety of additional factors that are beyond our control, including the domestic and foreign supply of oil and natural gas; the level of prices and expectations about future prices of oil and natural gas; the level of global oil and natural gas exploration and production; the cost of exploring for, developing, producing and delivering oil and natural gas; the price and quantity of foreign imports; political and economic conditions in oil producing countries, including the Middle East, Africa, South
America and Russia; the potential impact of any Russian-Ukrainian conflict on the global energy markets; the continued threat of terrorism and the impact of military and other action, including U.S. military operations in the Middle East; the ability of members of the OPEC+ to agree to and maintain oil price and production controls; speculative trading in crude oil and natural gas derivative contracts; the level of consumer product demand; extreme weather conditions and other natural disasters; risks associated with operating drilling rigs; technological advances affecting energy consumption; the price and availability of alternative fuels; domestic and foreign governmental regulations and taxes, including the Biden Administration’s energy and environmental policies; global or national health concerns, including the outbreak of pandemic or contagious disease, such as COVID-19 and its variants; the proximity, cost, availability and capacity of oil and natural gas pipelines and other transportation facilities; and overall domestic and global economic conditions. Our results of operations may also be adversely impacted by any future government rule, regulation or order that may impose production limits, as well as pipeline capacity and storage constraints, in the Permian Basin where we operate.
These factors and the volatility of the energy markets make it extremely difficult to predict future oil and natural gas price movements with any certainty. During 2021, NYMEX WTI prices ranged from $47.62 to $84.65 per Bbl and the NYMEX Henry Hub price of natural gas ranged from $2.45 to $6.31 per MMBtu. If the prices of oil and natural gas decline, our operations, financial condition and level of expenditures for the development of our oil and natural gas reserves may be materially and adversely affected.
A significant portion of our net leasehold acreage is undeveloped, and that acreage may not ultimately be developed or become commercially productive, which could cause us to lose rights under our leases as well as have a material adverse effect on our oil and natural gas reserves and future production and, therefore, our future cash flow and income.
A significant portion of our net leasehold acreage is undeveloped, or acreage on which wells have not been drilled or completed to a point that would permit the production of commercial quantities of oil and natural gas regardless of whether such acreage contains proved reserves. In addition, many of our oil and natural gas leases require us to drill wells that are commercially productive and to maintain the production in paying quantities, and if we are unsuccessful in drilling such wells and maintaining such production, we could lose our rights under such leases. Our future oil and natural gas reserves and production and, therefore, our future cash flow and income are highly dependent on successfully developing our undeveloped leasehold acreage.
Our development and exploration operations and our ability to complete acquisitions require substantial capital and we may be unable to obtain needed capital or financing on satisfactory terms or at all, which could lead to a loss of properties and a decline in our oil and natural gas reserves.
The oil and natural gas industry is capital intensive. We make and expect to continue to make substantial capital expenditures in our business and operations for the exploration for and development, production and acquisition of oil and natural gas reserves. In 2021, our total capital expenditures, including expenditures for drilling, completion, infrastructure and additions to midstream assets, were approximately $1.5 billion. Our 2022 capital budget for drilling, completion and infrastructure, including investments in water disposal infrastructure and gathering line projects, is currently estimated to be approximately $1.75 billion to $1.90 billion, representing an increase of 23% from our 2021 capital expenditures. Since completing our initial public offering in October 2012, we have financed capital expenditures primarily with borrowings under our revolving credit facility, cash generated by operations and the net proceeds from public offerings of our common stock and the senior notes.
We intend to finance our future capital expenditures with cash flow from operations, while future acquisitions may also be funded from operations as well as proceeds from offerings of our debt and equity securities and borrowings under our revolving credit facility. Our cash flow from operations and access to capital are subject to a number of variables, including our proved reserves; the volume of oil and natural gas we are able to produce from existing wells; the prices at which our oil and natural gas are sold; our ability to acquire, locate and produce economically new reserves; and our ability to borrow under our credit facility.
We cannot assure you that our operations and other capital resources will provide cash in sufficient amounts to maintain planned or future levels of capital expenditures. Further, our actual capital expenditures in 2022 could exceed our capital expenditure budget. In the event our capital expenditure requirements at any time are greater than the amount of capital we have available, we could be required to seek additional sources of capital, which may include traditional reserve base borrowings, debt financing, joint venture partnerships, production payment financings, sales of assets, offerings of debt or equity securities or other means. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain debt or equity financing on terms favorable to us, or at all.
If we are unable to fund our capital requirements or our costs of capital increase, we may be required to curtail our operations relating to the exploration and development of our prospects, which in turn could lead to a possible loss of properties and a decline in our oil and natural gas reserves, or we may be otherwise unable to implement our development plan, complete acquisitions or take advantage of business opportunities or respond to competitive pressures, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our production, revenues and results of operations. In addition, a delay in or the failure to complete proposed or future infrastructure projects could delay or eliminate potential efficiencies and related cost savings.
Our success depends on finding, developing or acquiring additional reserves.
Our future success depends upon our ability to find, develop or acquire additional oil and natural gas reserves that are economically recoverable. Our proved reserves will generally decline as reserves are depleted, except to the extent that we conduct successful exploration or development activities or acquire properties containing proved reserves, or both. To increase reserves and production, we undertake development, exploration and other replacement activities or use third parties to accomplish these activities. If we are unable to replace our current production, the value of our reserves will decrease, and our business, financial condition and results of operations would be adversely affected. Furthermore, although our revenues may increase if prevailing oil and natural gas prices increase significantly, our finding costs for additional reserves could also increase.
Our failure to successfully identify, complete and integrate pending and future acquisitions of properties or businesses could reduce our earnings and slow our growth.
There is intense competition for acquisition opportunities in our industry. The successful acquisition of producing properties requires an assessment of several factors, including recoverable reserves, future oil and natural gas prices and their applicable differentials, operating costs, and potential environmental and other liabilities.
The accuracy of these assessments is inherently uncertain, and we may not be able to identify attractive acquisition opportunities. In connection with these assessments, we perform a review of the subject properties that we believe to be generally consistent with industry practices. Our review will not reveal all existing or potential problems nor will it permit us to become sufficiently familiar with the properties to assess fully their deficiencies and capabilities. Inspections may not always be performed on every well, and environmental problems, such as groundwater contamination, are not necessarily observable even when an inspection is undertaken. Even when problems are identified, the seller may be unwilling or unable to provide effective contractual protection against all or part of the problems. Even if we do identify attractive acquisition opportunities, we may not be able to complete the acquisition or do so on commercially acceptable terms.
Competition for acquisitions may increase the cost of, or cause us to refrain from, completing acquisitions. Our ability to complete acquisitions is dependent upon, among other things, our ability to obtain debt and equity financing and, in some cases, regulatory approvals. If these acquisitions include geographic regions in which we do not currently operate, we could be subject to unforeseen operating difficulties and difficulties in coordinating geographically dispersed operations, personnel and facilities. In addition, if we enter into new geographic markets, we may be subject to additional and unfamiliar legal and regulatory requirements. Compliance with regulatory requirements may impose substantial additional obligations on us and our management, cause us to expend additional time and resources in compliance activities and increase our exposure to penalties or fines for non-compliance with such additional legal requirements. Further, the success of any completed acquisition will depend on our ability to integrate effectively the acquired business into our existing operations. The process of integrating acquired businesses may involve unforeseen difficulties and may require a disproportionate amount of our managerial and financial resources. In addition, possible future acquisitions may be larger and for purchase prices significantly higher than those paid for earlier acquisitions.
Any of these factors could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Our financial position and results of operations may also fluctuate significantly from period to period, based on whether or not significant acquisitions are completed in particular periods.
We may incur losses as a result of title defects in the properties in which we invest.
It is our practice in acquiring oil and natural gas leases or interests not to incur the expense of retaining lawyers to examine the title to the mineral interest. Rather, we rely upon the judgment of oil and gas lease brokers or landmen who perform the fieldwork in examining records in the appropriate governmental office before attempting to acquire a lease in a specific mineral interest. The existence of a material title deficiency can render a lease worthless and can adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Prior to the drilling of an oil or natural gas well, however, it is the normal practice in our industry for the person or company acting as the operator of the well to obtain a preliminary title review to ensure there are no obvious defects in title to the well. Frequently, as a result of such examinations, certain curative work must be done to correct defects in the marketability of the title, and such curative work entails expense. Our failure to cure any title defects may delay or prevent us from utilizing the associated mineral interest, which may adversely impact our ability in the future to increase production and reserves. Additionally, undeveloped acreage has greater risk of title defects than developed acreage. If there are any title defects or defects in the assignment of leasehold rights in properties in which we hold an interest, we will suffer a financial loss.
Our identified potential drilling locations, which are part of our anticipated future drilling plans, are susceptible to uncertainties that could materially alter the occurrence or timing of their drilling.
Drilling for oil and natural gas often involves unprofitable efforts, not only from dry wells but also from wells that are productive but do not produce sufficient oil or natural gas to return a profit at then realized prices after deducting drilling, operating and other costs.
As of December 31, 2021, we have approximately 9,314 gross (6,311 net) identified economic potential horizontal drilling locations in multiple horizons on our acreage at an assumed price of approximately $50.00 per Bbl WTI. As of December 31, 2021, only 602 of our gross identified economic potential horizontal drilling locations were attributed to proved reserves. These drilling locations, including those without proved undeveloped reserves, represent a significant part of our growth strategy. Our ability to drill and develop these locations depends on a number of uncertainties, including the availability of capital, construction of infrastructure, unusual or unexpected geological formations, title problems, facility or equipment malfunctions, unexpected operational events, inclement weather, environmental and other regulatory requirements and approvals, oil and natural gas prices, costs, drilling results and the availability of water. Further, our identified potential drilling locations are in various stages of evaluation, ranging from locations that are ready to drill to locations that will require substantial additional interpretation. In addition, as of December 31, 2021, we have identified approximately 2,531 horizontal drilling locations in intervals in which we have drilled very few or no wells, which are necessarily more speculative and based on results from other operators whose acreage may not be consistent with ours. We cannot predict in advance of drilling and testing whether any particular drilling location will yield oil or natural gas in sufficient quantities to recover drilling or completion costs or to be economically viable. The use of technologies and the study of producing fields in the same area will not enable us to know conclusively prior to drilling whether oil or natural gas will be present or, if present, whether oil or natural gas will be present in sufficient quantities to be economically viable. Even if sufficient amounts of oil or natural gas exist, we may damage the potentially productive hydrocarbon bearing formation or experience mechanical difficulties while drilling or completing the well, possibly resulting in a reduction in production from the well or abandonment of the well. If we drill additional wells that we identify as dry holes in our current and future drilling locations, our drilling success rate may decline and materially harm our business. Through December 31, 2021, we are the operator of, have participated in, or have acquired working interest in a total of 2,842 horizontal producing wells completed on our acreage. We cannot assure you that the analogies we draw from available data from these or other wells, more fully explored locations or producing fields will be applicable to our drilling locations. Further, initial production rates reported by us or other operators in the Permian Basin may not be indicative of future or long-term production rates. Because of these uncertainties, we do not know if the potential drilling locations we have identified will ever be drilled or if we will be able to produce oil or natural gas from these or any other potential drilling locations. As such, our actual drilling activities may materially differ from those presently identified, which could adversely affect our business.
Our acreage must be drilled before lease expiration, generally within three to five years, in order to hold the acreage by production. In a highly competitive market for acreage, failure to drill sufficient wells to hold acreage may result in a substantial lease renewal cost or, if renewal is not feasible, loss of our lease and prospective drilling opportunities.
Leases on oil and natural gas properties typically have a term of three to five years, after which they expire unless, prior to expiration, production is established within the spacing units covering the undeveloped acres. The cost to renew such leases may increase significantly, and we may not be able to renew such leases on commercially reasonable terms or at all. Any reduction in our current drilling program, either through a reduction in capital expenditures or the unavailability of drilling rigs, could result in the loss of acreage through lease expirations. In order to hold our current leases expiring in 2022, we will need to operate at least a one-rig program. Any non-renewal or other loss of leases could materially and adversely affect the growth of our asset basis, cash flows and results of operations.
We have entered into commodity price derivatives for a portion of our production. Although we have hedged a portion of our estimated 2022 and 2023 production, we may still be adversely affected by declines in the price of oil and may be exposed to other risks, including counterparty credit risk.
We use commodity price derivatives to reduce price volatility associated with certain of our oil and natural gas sales. To the extent that the prices of oil and natural gas remain at current levels or decline further, we may not be able to economically hedge future production at the same level as our current hedges, and our results of operations and financial condition may be negatively impacted.
At settlement, market prices for commodities may exceed the contract prices in our commodity price derivatives agreements, resulting in our need to make significant cash payments to our counterparties. Further, by using commodity derivative instruments, we expose ourselves to credit risk if we are in a positive position at contract settlement and the counterparty fails to perform under the terms of the derivative contract. We do not require collateral from our counterparties.
For additional information regarding our outstanding derivative contracts as of December 31, 2021, see Note 15—Derivatives to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this report.
If production from our Permian Basin acreage decreases due to decreased developmental activities, production related difficulties or otherwise, we may fail to meet our obligations to deliver specified quantities of oil under our oil purchase contracts, which will result in deficiency payments to the counterparty and may have an adverse effect on our operations.
We are a party to long-term crude oil agreements under which, subject to certain terms and conditions, we are obligated to deliver specified quantities of oil to our counterparties. Our maximum delivery obligation under these agreements varies for different periods and depends in some cases upon certain conditions beyond our control. If production from our Permian Basin acreage decreases due to decreased developmental activities, as a result of the low commodity price environment, production related difficulties or otherwise, we may be unable to meet our obligations under our oil purchase agreements, which may result in deficiency payments to certain counterparties or a default under such agreements and may have an adverse effect on our company.
The inability of one or more of our customers to meet their obligations may adversely affect our financial results.
In addition to credit risk related to receivables from commodity derivative contracts, our principal exposure to credit risk is through receivables from joint interest owners on properties we operate (approximately $72 million at December 31, 2021) and receivables from purchasers of our oil and natural gas production (approximately $598 million at December 31, 2021). Joint interest receivables arise from billing entities that own partial interests in the wells we operate. These entities participate in our wells primarily based on their ownership in leases on which we wish to drill. We are generally unable to control which co-owners participate in our wells.
We are also subject to credit risk due to the concentration of our oil and natural gas receivables with several significant customers. See “Business and Properties—Oil and Natural Gas Production Prices and Production Costs—Marketing and Customers” for additional information regarding these customers. This concentration of customers may impact our overall credit risk in that these entities may be similarly affected by any adverse changes in economic and other conditions. We do not require our customers to post collateral. Under certain circumstances, the revenue due to them can be offset by any unpaid receivables. The inability or failure of our significant customers or joint working interest owners to meet their obligations to us or their insolvency or liquidation may materially adversely affect our financial results.
Our method of accounting for investments in oil and natural gas properties may result in impairment of asset value.
We account for our oil and natural gas producing activities using the full cost method of accounting. Accordingly, all costs incurred in the acquisition, exploration and development of proved oil and natural gas properties, including the costs of abandoned properties, dry holes, geophysical costs and annual lease rentals are capitalized. We also capitalize direct operating costs for services performed with internally owned drilling and well servicing equipment.
The net capitalized costs of proved oil and natural gas properties are subject to a full cost ceiling limitation in which the costs are not allowed to exceed their related estimated future net revenues discounted at 10%. To the extent capitalized costs of evaluated oil and natural gas properties, net of accumulated depreciation, depletion, amortization and impairment, exceed the discounted future net revenues of proved oil and natural gas reserves, the excess capitalized costs are charged to expense. We use the unweighted arithmetic average first day of the month price for oil and natural gas for the 12-month period preceding the calculation date in estimating discounted future net revenues.
No impairment on proved oil and natural gas properties was recorded for the year ended December 31, 2021. Impairments of proved oil and natural gas properties of $6.0 billion and $0.8 billion were recorded for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019.
Our estimated reserves and EURs are based on many assumptions that may turn out to be inaccurate. Any material inaccuracies in these reserve estimates or underlying assumptions will materially affect the quantities and present value of our reserves.
Oil and natural gas reserve engineering is not an exact science and requires subjective estimates of underground accumulations of oil and natural gas and assumptions concerning future oil and natural gas prices, production levels, ultimate recoveries and operating and development costs. As a result, estimated quantities of proved reserves, projections of future production rates and the timing of development expenditures may be incorrect. The EURs for our horizontal wells are based on management’s internal estimates. Over time, we may make material changes to reserve estimates taking into account the results of actual drilling, testing and production. Also, certain assumptions regarding future oil and natural gas prices, production levels and operating and development costs may prove incorrect. Any significant variance from these assumptions to actual figures could greatly affect our estimates of reserves, the economically recoverable quantities of oil and natural gas attributable to any particular group of properties, the classifications of reserves based on risk of recovery and estimates of future net cash flows. A substantial portion of our reserve estimates are made without the benefit of a lengthy production history, which are less reliable than estimates based on a lengthy production history. Numerous changes over time to the assumptions on which our reserve estimates are based, as described above, often result in the actual quantities of oil and natural gas that we ultimately recover being different from our reserve estimates. Reserve estimates do not include any value for probable or possible reserves that may exist, nor do they include any value for unproved undeveloped acreage. The reserve estimates represent our net revenue interest in our properties.
The timing of both our production and our incurrence of costs in connection with the development and production of oil and natural gas properties will affect the timing of actual future net cash flows from proved reserves.
The standardized measure of our estimated proved reserves and our PV-10 are not necessarily the same as the current market value of our estimated proved oil reserves.
The present value of future net cash flow from our proved reserves, or standardized measure, and our related PV-10 calculation, may not represent the current market value of our estimated proved oil reserves. In accordance with SEC requirements, we base the estimated discounted future net cash flow from our estimated proved reserves on the 12-month average oil index prices, calculated as the unweighted arithmetic average for the first-day-of-the-month price for each month and costs in effect as of the date of the estimate, holding the prices and costs constant throughout the life of the properties.
Actual future prices and costs may differ materially from those used in the net present value estimate, and future net present value estimates using then current prices and costs may be significantly less than current estimates. In addition, the 10% discount factor we use when calculating discounted future net cash flow for reporting requirements in compliance with the Financial Accounting Standard Board Codification 932, “Extractive Activities—Oil and Gas,” may not be the most appropriate discount factor based on interest rates in effect from time to time and risks associated with us or the oil and natural gas industry in general.
The development of our proved undeveloped reserves may take longer and may require higher levels of capital expenditures than we currently anticipate.
Approximately 33% of our total estimated proved reserves as of December 31, 2021, were proved undeveloped reserves and may not be ultimately developed or produced. Recovery of proved undeveloped reserves requires significant capital expenditures and successful drilling and completion operations. The reserve data included in the reserve reports of our independent petroleum engineers assume that substantial capital expenditures are required to develop such reserves. We cannot be certain that the estimated costs of the development of these reserves are accurate, that development will occur as scheduled or that the results of such development will be as estimated. Delays in the development of our reserves, increases in costs to drill and develop such reserves, or further decreases in commodity prices will reduce the future net revenues of our estimated proved undeveloped reserves and may result in some projects becoming uneconomical. In addition, delays in the development of reserves could force us to reclassify certain of our proved reserves as unproved reserves.
Our producing properties are located in the Permian Basin of West Texas, making us vulnerable to risks associated with operating in a single geographic area. In addition, we have a large amount of proved reserves attributable to a small number of producing horizons within this area.
Our producing properties are currently geographically concentrated in the Permian Basin of West Texas. As a result of this concentration, we may be disproportionately exposed to the impact of regional supply and demand factors, delays or interruptions of production from wells in this area caused by governmental regulation, processing or transportation capacity constraints, availability of equipment, facilities, personnel or services market limitations or interruption of the processing or transportation of crude oil, natural gas or natural gas liquids and extreme weather conditions, such as the severe winter storms in the Permian Basin in February 2021, and their adverse impact on production volumes, availability of electrical power, road accessibility and transportation facilities. In addition, the effect of fluctuations on supply and demand may become more pronounced within specific geographic oil and natural gas producing areas such as the Permian Basin, which may cause these conditions to occur with greater frequency or magnify the effects of these conditions. Due to the concentrated nature of our portfolio of properties, a number of our properties could experience any of the same conditions at the same time, resulting in a relatively greater impact on our results of operations than they might have on other companies that have a more diversified portfolio of properties. Such delays or interruptions could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.
In addition to the geographic concentration of our producing properties described above, as of December 31, 2021, most of our proved reserves are concentrated in the Wolfberry play in the Midland Basin. This concentration of assets within a small number of producing horizons exposes us to additional risks, such as changes in field-wide rules and regulations that could cause us to permanently or temporarily shut-in all of our wells within a field.
We depend upon several significant purchasers for the sale of most of our oil and natural gas production. The loss of one or more of these purchasers could, among other factors, limit our access to suitable markets for the oil and natural gas we produce.
The availability of a ready market for any oil and/or natural gas we produce depends on numerous factors beyond the control of our management, including but not limited to the extent of domestic production and imports of oil, the proximity and capacity of natural gas pipelines, the availability of skilled labor, materials and equipment, the effect of state and federal regulation of oil and natural gas production and federal regulation of natural gas sold in interstate commerce. We cannot assure you that we will continue to have ready access to suitable markets for our future oil and natural gas production. In addition, we depend upon several significant purchasers for the sale of most of our oil and natural gas production. See “Business and Properties—Oil and Natural Gas Production Prices and Production Costs—Marketing and Customers” for additional information regarding these customers. The loss of one or more of these customers, and our inability to sell our production to other customers on terms we consider acceptable, could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.
The unavailability, high cost or shortages of rigs, equipment, raw materials, supplies, oilfield services or personnel may restrict our operations.
The oil and natural gas industry is cyclical, which can result in shortages of drilling rigs, equipment, raw materials (particularly sand and other proppants), supplies and personnel. When shortages occur, the costs and delivery times of rigs, equipment and supplies increase and demand for, and wage rates of, qualified drilling rig crews also rise with increases in demand. We cannot predict whether these conditions will exist in the future and, if so, what their timing and duration will be. In accordance with customary industry practice, we rely on independent third party service providers to provide most of the services necessary to drill new wells. If we are unable to secure a sufficient number of drilling rigs at reasonable costs, our financial condition and results of operations could suffer, and we may not be able to drill all of our acreage before our leases expire. In addition, we do not have long-term contracts securing the use of our existing rigs, and the operators of those rigs may choose to cease providing services to us. Shortages of drilling rigs, equipment, raw materials (particularly sand and other proppants), supplies, personnel, trucking services, tubulars, fracking and completion services and production equipment could delay or restrict our exploration and development operations, which in turn could impair our financial condition and results of operations.
Our operations are substantially dependent on the availability of water. Restrictions on our ability to obtain water may have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Water is an essential component of deep shale oil and natural gas production during both the drilling and hydraulic fracturing processes. Historically, we have been able to purchase water from local land owners for use in our operations. Over the past several years, Texas has experienced extreme drought conditions. As a result of this severe drought, some local water
districts have begun restricting the use of water subject to their jurisdiction for hydraulic fracturing to protect local water supply. If we are unable to obtain water to use in our operations from local sources, or we are unable to effectively utilize flowback water, we may be unable to economically drill for or produce oil and natural gas, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Recent regulatory restrictions on use of produced water and a moratorium on new produced water disposal wells in the Permian Basin to stem rising seismic activity and earthquakes could increase our operating costs and adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
In September 2021, the Texas Railroad Commission curtailed the amount of produced water companies were permitted to inject into some wells near Midland and Odessa in the Permian Basin, and has since indefinitely suspended some permits there and expanded the restrictions to other areas. These actions were taken in an effort to control induced seismic activity and recent increases in earthquakes in the Permian Basin, which have been linked by the U.S. and local seismologists to wastewater disposal in oil fields. These restrictions on the disposal of produced water and a moratorium on new produced water disposal wells could result in increased operating costs, requiring us or our service providers to truck produced water, recycle it or dispose of it by other means, all of which could be costly. We or our service providers may also need to limit disposal well volumes, disposal rates and pressures or locations, or require us or our service providers to shut down or curtail the injection of produced water into disposal wells. These factors may make drilling activity in the affected parts of the Permian Basin less economical and adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
We have incurred losses from operations during certain periods since our inception and may do so in the future.
Our development of and participation in an increasingly larger number of drilling locations has required and will continue to require substantial capital expenditures. The uncertainty and risks described in this report may impede our ability to economically find, develop and acquire oil and natural gas reserves. As a result, we may not be able to achieve or sustain profitability or positive cash flows from our operating activities in the future.
Part of our strategy involves drilling in existing or emerging shale plays using the latest available horizontal drilling and completio