Is This Oil and Gas Producer Flying Under the Radar?

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Written By Dean McHugh

Robust Q4 2023 Performance

Enerplus Corporation reported notable production results in the fourth quarter of 2023, surpassing its guidance midpoint by 7%, leading to an annual performance that exceeded initial forecasts by 5%.

Enerplus Corporation (@EnerplusCorp) / X
Credits: X

This trend underscores the company’s operational efficiency and strategic planning.

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Strategic Financial Moves

The firm is channeling its free cash flow into share repurchases, signaling a potential maxing out of its current normal course issuer bid.

Despite dividends being less of a priority, there’s a possibility of a slight dividend increase in 2024, projecting a dividend yield of around 2%.

Consistent Overperformance

Enerplus continued to outperform production expectations, leading to an upward revision of its yearly production guidance twice in 2023.

However, adjustments to the 2024 free cash flow forecast, influenced by weaker commodity prices and adverse weather conditions, have slightly decreased the company’s value estimate to $19.75 per share.

Q4 2023 Operational Success

In Q4 2023, Enerplus achieved approximately 103,500 BOEPD in total production, with liquids production at 67,100 barrels per day.

These figures not only surpassed guidance ranges but also highlighted the company’s consistent well performance and aligned capital expenditure.

Share Repurchase and Debt Reduction

With an investment of about $94 million in share repurchases during Q4 2023, Enerplus is on track to fully utilize its share buyback authorization.

The estimated free cash flow for the quarter, between $140 million and $150 million, supported share repurchases, dividend payments, and a significant debt reduction.

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Impact of Weather on Production

Extreme cold in North Dakota has affected Q1 2024 production, particularly impacting liquids output.

Despite this, Enerplus maintains a positive outlook for 2024, with expected liquids production averaging around 64,000 barrels per day and a capital expenditure of $550 million.

Revenue and Free Cash Flow Forecasts

Projected revenues for 2024, considering current oil prices, stand at $1.576 billion after hedges.

This positions Enerplus to generate an estimated free cash flow of $273 million for the year, facilitating continued share repurchases and dividend payments.

Leverage and Shareholder Returns

With a strategic plan for share repurchases and a potential dividend increase, Enerplus may slightly outspend its free cash flow in 2024.

Credits: Enerplus

However, the company’s leverage is expected to remain low, supporting its policy of significant shareholder returns.

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