Strong operating performance has continued across our asset base during the third quarter. Despite the volatility in crude oil prices, we continue to drive capital efficiencies across our business, deliver stable production and meaningful free cash flow.
- We are now forecasting average production for 2019 of approximately 97,000 boe/d (83% oil and NGL). This compares to our original guidance range for 2019 of 93,000 to 97,000 boe/d, which was recently tightened to 96,000 to 97,000 boe/d.
- We expect to exit 2019 producing 95,000-97,000 boe/d. This represents debt-adjusted production per share growth of 7-9% as compared to our 2018 exit production rate.
- We continue to drive capital discipline and now anticipate exploration and development expenditures for 2019 of approximately $560 million. This compares to our original guidance range of $550 to $650 million, which was recently tightened to $550 to $600 million.
- Based on the forward strip for the balance of 2019(1), we expect to generate approximately $300 million of free cash flow, which supports our de-leveraging strategy.
- 2019 full year pricing assumptions: WTI – US$57/bbl; LLS – US$62/bbl; WCS differential – US$12/bbl; MSW differential – US$5/bbl, NYMEX Gas – US$2.63/mcf; AECO Gas – $1.46/mcf and Exchange Rate (CAD/USD) – 1.33.
Redemption of US$150 million Notes
As discussed in our Q2/2019 press release, we have called for redemption, effective September 13, 2019, our US$150 million principal amount of 6.75% senior unsecured notes at par. The redemption of this note will reduce our long-term notes outstanding by 13% and result in annual interest expense savings of approximately $7 million. We continue to maintain strong liquidity with our credit facilities approximately 40% undrawn.
The Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Maki as a director of Baytex.
“We are very pleased that Jennifer has joined our team. Her business knowledge, strategic perspective and financial expertise will serve the board and Baytex well in the years ahead,” commented Neil Roszell, Chairman of Baytex.
Ms. Maki served as Chief Executive Officer of Vale Canada and Executive Director of Vale SA, Base Metals (2014 to 2017) and previously held several other positions with Vale Base Metals, including Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice-President (2007-2014) and Vice-President & Treasurer, and with Inco Limited as Assistant Controller. Ms. Maki participated actively in managing Vale’s Base Metals businesses outside Canada as a member of the Board of Commissioners of PT Vale Indonesia Tbk (2007 to 2017), serving as its President Commissioner (2014 to 2017) and as a director of Vale Nouvelle-Caledonie SAS. She was also Chair of Vale Canada’s Pension Committee. Before joining Vale/Inco, she worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP for 10 years in roles of increasing responsibility. She has also been a director of Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (a not-for-profit organization) since September 2018 and is currently a Director of the Franco-Nevada Corporation. Ms. Maki has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University and a postgraduate diploma from the Institute of Chartered Accountants, both in Ontario, Canada. She also holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Baytex has an ongoing board renewal process led by its Nominating and Governance Committee. In the last year, we have significantly restructured our board. Throughout this renewal process, our intent has been to create an efficient board with complementary skill sets suited to our business, ensure independence and increase diversity.