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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021
or
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                  to                 
Commission File Number: 1-13245

PIONEER NATURAL RESOURCES COMPANY
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware75-2702753
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

777 Hidden Ridge
Irving, Texas 75038
(Address of principal executive offices and zip code)
(972) 444-9001
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading SymbolName of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, par value $.01 per sharePXDNew York Stock Exchange

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 and post 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 filerSmaller 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 is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).     Yes        No   
Aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates computed by reference to the price at which the common equity was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common equity, as of the last business day of the registrant's most recently completed second fiscal quarter$25,544,329,552  
Number of shares of Common Stock outstanding as of February 18, 2022165,714,771  
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE:
(1)Portions of the Definitive Proxy Statement for the Company's Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held in May 2020 are incorporated into Part III of this report.



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Definitions of Certain Terms and Conventions Used Herein
Within this Report, the following terms and conventions have specific meanings:
"Bbl" means a standard barrel containing 42 United States gallons.
"Bcf" means one billion cubic feet and is a measure of gas volume.
"BOE" means a barrel of oil equivalent and is a standard convention used to express oil and gas volumes on a comparable oil equivalent basis. Gas equivalents are determined under the relative energy content method by using the ratio of six thousand cubic feet of gas to one Bbl of oil or natural gas liquid.
"BOEPD" means BOE per day.
"Brent" means Brent oil price, a major trading classification of light sweet oil that serves as a benchmark price for oil worldwide.
"Btu" means British thermal unit, which is a measure of the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
"DD&A" means depletion, depreciation and amortization.
"Field fuel" means gas consumed to operate field equipment (primarily compressors) prior to the gas being delivered to a sales point.
"GAAP" means accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
"GHG" means greenhouse gases.
"HH" means Henry Hub, a distribution hub in Louisiana that serves as the delivery location for gas futures contracts on the NYMEX.
"MBbl" means one thousand Bbls.
"MBOE" means one thousand BOEs.
"Mcf" means one thousand cubic feet and is a measure of gas volume.
"MMBbl" means one million Bbls.
"MMBOE" means one million BOEs.
"MMBtu" means one million Btus.
"MMcf" means one million cubic feet.
"Mont Belvieu" means the daily average natural gas liquids components as priced in OPIS in the table "U.S. and Canada LP - Gas Weekly Averages" at Mont Belvieu, Texas.
"NGLs" means natural gas liquids, which are the heavier hydrocarbon liquids that are separated from the gas stream; such liquids include ethane, propane, isobutane, normal butane and natural gasoline.
"NYMEX" means the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"NYSE" means the New York Stock Exchange.
"Pioneer" or the "Company" means Pioneer Natural Resources Company and its subsidiaries.
"Proved developed reserves" mean reserves that can be expected to be recovered through existing wells with existing equipment and operating methods or in which the cost of the required equipment is relatively minor compared to the cost of a new well.
"Proved reserves" mean those quantities of oil and gas, which, by analysis of geosciences 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. The project to extract the hydrocarbons must have commenced or the operator must be reasonably certain that it will commence the project within a reasonable time.
(i) The area of the reservoir considered as proved includes: (A) The area identified by drilling and limited by fluid contacts, if any, and (B) Adjacent undrilled portions of the reservoir that can, with reasonable certainty, be judged to be continuous with it and to contain economically producible oil or gas on the basis of available geoscience and engineering data.
(ii) In the absence of data on fluid contacts, proved quantities in a reservoir are limited by the lowest known hydrocarbons ("LKH") as seen in a well penetration unless geoscience, engineering or performance data and reliable technology establishes a lower contact with reasonable certainty.
(iii) Where direct observation from well penetrations has defined a highest known oil ("HKO") elevation and the potential exists for an associated gas cap, proved oil reserves may be assigned in the structurally higher portions of the reservoir
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only if geoscience, engineering or performance data and reliable technology establish the higher contact with reasonable certainty.
(iv) Reserves which can be produced economically through application of improved recovery techniques (including, but not limited to, fluid injection) are included in the proved classification when: (A) Successful testing by a pilot project in an area of the reservoir with properties no more favorable than in the reservoir as a whole, the operation of an installed program in the reservoir or an analogous reservoir, or other evidence using reliable technology establishes the reasonable certainty of the engineering analysis on which the project or program was based; and (B) The project has been approved for development by all necessary parties and entities, including governmental entities.
(v) Existing economic conditions include prices and costs at which economic producibility from a reservoir is to be determined. The price shall be the average during the 12-month period prior to the ending date of the period covered by the report, determined as an unweighted arithmetic average of the first-day-of-the-month price for each month within such period, unless prices are defined by contractual arrangements, excluding escalations based upon future conditions.
"Proved undeveloped reserves" means 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.
(i) Reserves on undrilled acreage shall be limited to those directly offsetting development spacing areas that are reasonably certain of production when drilled, unless evidence using reliable technology exists that establishes reasonable certainty of economic producibility at greater distances.
(ii) Undrilled locations can be classified as having proved undeveloped reserves only if a development plan has been adopted indicating that they are scheduled to be drilled within five years, unless the specific circumstances, justify a longer time.
(iii) Under no circumstances shall estimates for proved undeveloped reserves be attributable to any acreage for which an application of fluid injection or other improved recovery technique is contemplated, unless such techniques have been proved effective by actual projects in the same reservoir or an analogous reservoir, or by other evidence using reliable technology establishing reasonable certainty.
"SEC" means the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Standardized Measure" means the after-tax present value of estimated future net cash flows of proved reserves, determined in accordance with the rules and regulations of the SEC, using prices and costs employed in the determination of proved reserves and a ten percent discount rate.
"U.S." means United States.
"WTI" means West Texas Intermediate, a light sweet blend of oil produced from fields in western Texas and is a grade of oil used as a benchmark in oil pricing.
With respect to information on the working interest in wells, drilling locations and acreage, "net" wells, drilling locations and acres are determined by multiplying "gross" wells, drilling locations and acres by the Company's working interest in such wells, drilling locations or acres. Unless otherwise specified, wells, drilling locations and acreage statistics quoted herein represent gross wells, drilling locations or acres.
All currency amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this "Report") contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. When used in this document, the words "believes," "plans," "expects," "anticipates," "forecasts," "intends," "continue," "may," "will," "could," "should," "future," "potential," "estimate," or the negative of such terms and similar expressions as they relate to the Company are intended to identify forward-looking statements, which are generally not historical in nature. The forward-looking statements are based on the Company's current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about the Company and the industry in which the Company operates. Although the Company believes that the expectations and assumptions reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable as and when made, they involve risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict and, in many cases, beyond the Company's control. In addition, the Company may be subject to currently unforeseen risks that may have a materially adverse effect on it. Accordingly, no assurances can be given that the actual events and results will not be materially different from the anticipated results described in the forward-looking statements. See "Item 1. Business — Competition, Markets and Regulations," "Item 1A. Risk Factors," "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" and "Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk" for a description of various factors that could materially affect the ability of Pioneer to achieve the anticipated results described in the forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. The Company undertakes no duty to publicly update these statements except as required by law.
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PART I
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
General
Pioneer is a large independent oil and gas exploration and production company that explores for, develops and produces oil, NGLs and gas within the United States, with operations in the Permian Basin in West Texas. The Company is a Delaware corporation, and its common stock has been listed and traded on the NYSE under the ticker symbol "PXD" since its formation in 1997.
The Company's principal executive office is located at 777 Hidden Ridge, Irving, Texas, 75038. The Company also maintains an office in Midland, Texas and field offices in its area of operation.
At December 31, 2019, Pioneer had 2,323 employees, 826 of whom were employed in field operations and 360 of whom were employed in vertical integration activities.
Available Information
Pioneer files or furnishes annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other documents with the SEC under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act"). The SEC maintains a website (www.sec.gov) that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers, including Pioneer, that file electronically with the SEC.
The Company makes available free of charge through its website (www.pxd.com) its Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and, if applicable, amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act as soon as reasonably practicable after it electronically files such material with, or furnishes it to, the SEC. In addition to the reports filed or furnished with the SEC, Pioneer publicly discloses information from time to time in its press releases and investor presentations that are posted on its website or publicly during accessible investor conferences. Such information, including information posted on or connected to the Company's website, is not a part of, or incorporated by reference in, this Report or any other document the Company files with or furnishes to the SEC.
Mission and Strategies
The Company's mission is to be America's leading independent energy company, focused on value, safety, the environment, technology and our greatest asset, our people. The Company's long-term growth strategy is centered around the following strategic objectives:
maintaining a strong balance sheet to ensure financial flexibility;
delivering economic production and reserve growth through drilling, completion and production improvement activities;
utilizing the Company's scale and technology advancements to reduce costs and improve efficiency;
returning free cash flow to investors through a combination of dividends and share repurchases;
developing and training employees and contractors to perform their jobs in a safe manner; and
stewarding the environment through industry leading sustainable development efforts.
The Company's long-term strategy is anchored by the Company's interests in the long-lived Spraberry/Wolfcamp oil field located in the Permian Basin in West Texas, which has an estimated remaining productive life in excess of 50 years.
Business Activities
Pioneer's purpose is to competitively and profitably explore for, develop and produce oil and gas reserves. In so doing, the Company sells homogeneous oil, NGL and gas units that, except for geographic and relatively minor quality differences, cannot be significantly differentiated from units offered for sale by the Company's competitors. The Company's portfolio of resources and opportunities are located in the Spraberry/Wolfcamp oil field, and provide long-lived, dependable production and lower-risk exploration and development opportunities.
Petroleum industry. Over the past several years, the oil price environment has been characterized by high volatility. During 2019, Brent oil prices rose to a high of $74.57 per barrel in April 2019, up from a low of $54.91 per barrel in early January 2019. During 2020 to date, Brent oil prices declined to a low of $49.45 in February 2020. Significant factors that are likely to affect 2020 commodity prices include: the effect of U.S. energy, monetary, environmental and trade policies, including
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policies related to U.S. and China trade negotiations and Iranian oil sanctions; fiscal challenges facing the United States federal government; the pace of economic growth in the U.S. and throughout the world; geopolitical issues globally, especially in the Middle East; the extent to which Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries ("OPEC") members and some nonmembers, including Russia, adhere to and agree to extend their oil production quota's; uncertain demand fundamentals in 2020 and beyond, led by rising oil consumption in China and India offset by European Union members reshaping their fossil fuel consumption towards lower carbon energy; overall North American and worldwide gas supply and demand fundamentals, including the timing of incremental LNG export capacity additions; and global or national health concerns, including the outbreak of pandemic or contagious disease, such as the recent coronavirus, which may reduce demand for oil, NGL and gas because of reduced global or national economic activity. Because the global economic and political outlook and commodity price environment are uncertain, the Company endeavors to maintain a strong financial liquidity position to provide financial flexibility should commodity prices decline and remain low for an extended period of time.
While the industry has invested in initiatives designed to increase oil, NGL and gas takeaway capacity associated with growing U.S. shale production, such as the construction of additional oil and NGL export facilities and new liquefied natural gas ("LNG") facilities, the supply of these products has increased at a faster pace than the overall U.S. and international demand for these commodities. Oil, NGL products and gas supplies are expected to continue to increase during 2020 and prices are expected to remain volatile. To mitigate this risk, Pioneer enters into pipeline capacity commitments in order to secure available oil, NGL and gas transportation capacity from the Company's area of production with the objective of transporting a significant portion of the Company's oil and gas sales to higher priced markets. Specifically, the Company has entered into purchase transactions with third parties and separate sale transactions with third parties to diversify a portion of the Company's oil and gas sales to Gulf Coast refineries and LNG facilities, international export markets and to satisfy unused gas pipeline capacity commitments. These marketing activities provided incremental cash flow of $283 million in 2019 and $458 million in 2018, compared to cash outlays of $31 million in 2017.
The Company also uses commodity derivative contracts to mitigate the effect of commodity price volatility on the Company's net cash provided by operating activities and its net asset value. The Company has entered into derivative contracts for a portion of its forecasted 2020 production; consequently, if commodity prices decline, the Company could realize lower prices for volumes not protected by the Company's derivative activities and could see a reduction in derivative contract prices available on additional volumes in the future. As a result, the Company's internal cash flows will be negatively impacted by a reduction in commodity prices or to the extent that sales prices do not cover the third-party purchase price and cost of transportation for that portion of volumes transported to other markets. See "Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk" and Note 5 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in "Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" for additional information.
Liquidity. The Company's primary needs for cash are for (i) capital expenditures, (ii) acquisitions of oil and gas properties, (iii) payments of contractual obligations, including debt maturities, (iv) dividends and share repurchases and (v) working capital obligations. Funding for these cash needs may be provided by any combination of the Company's primary sources of liquidity including: (i) cash and cash equivalents, (ii) net cash provided by operating activities, (iii) sales of investments, (iv) unused borrowing capacity under its credit facility, (v) issuances of debt or equity securities and (vi) other sources, such as sales of nonstrategic assets. Although the Company expects that these sources of funding will be adequate to fund its 2020 capital expenditures, dividend payments and provide adequate liquidity to fund other needs, including stock repurchases, no assurance can be given that such funding sources will be adequate to meet the Company's future needs.
Production. The Company focuses its efforts towards maximizing its average daily production of oil, NGLs and gas through development drilling, production enhancement activities and acquisitions of producing properties, while minimizing controllable costs associated with production activities. For the year ended December 31, 2019, the Company's production of 126 MMBOE, excluding field fuel usage, represented an eight percent increase compared to production during 2018. See "Item 2. Properties — Selected Oil and Gas Information — Production, price and cost data" for additional information.
Drilling activities. The Company believes that its current property base provides a substantial inventory of prospects for future reserve, production and cash flow growth.
Development activities. The Company seeks to increase its proved oil and gas reserves, production and cash flow through development drilling and by conducting other production enhancement activities, such as well recompletions. The Company's proved reserves as of December 31, 2019 include proved undeveloped reserves and proved developed non-producing reserves of 39 MMBbls of oil, 16 MMBbls of NGL and 83 Bcf of gas. The timing of the development of these proved reserves will be dependent upon commodity prices, drilling and operating costs and the Company's expected operating cash flows and financial condition. During the three years ended December 31, 2019, the Company drilled 854 gross (745 net) exploration and development wells, with 98 percent of the gross wells (99 percent of net wells) being successfully completed as productive wells, at a total drilling cost (net to the Company's interest) of $9.2 billion, including infrastructure capital.
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Exploratory activities. The Company has a significant portfolio of lower-risk exploration opportunities that are expected to be evaluated and tested in the future. Exploratory and extension drilling involve greater risks of dry holes or failure to find commercial quantities of hydrocarbons than development drilling or enhanced recovery activities.
Acquisition activities. The Company regularly seeks to acquire or trade for acreage that complements its operations, provides exploration and development opportunities, increases the lateral length of future horizontal wells and potentially provides superior returns on investment. The Company periodically evaluates and pursues acquisition and acreage trade opportunities (including opportunities to acquire particular oil and gas assets or entities owning oil and gas assets and opportunities to engage in mergers, consolidations or other business combinations with such entities) and at any given time may be in various stages of evaluating such opportunities. Such stages may take the form of internal financial analyses, oil and gas reserve analyses, due diligence, the submission of indications of interest, preliminary negotiations, negotiations of letters of intent or negotiations of definitive agreements. The success of any acquisition or acreage trade is uncertain and depends on a number of factors, some of which are outside the Company's control.
During 2019, 2018 and 2017, the Company spent $28 million, $65 million and $136 million, respectively, primarily to purchase undeveloped acreage for future exploitation and exploration activities in the Spraberry/Wolfcamp field of the Permian Basin. See Note 3 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in "Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" for additional information.
Integrated Services. The Company continues to utilize its integrated services to control well costs and operating costs in addition to supporting the execution of its drilling and production activities. The Company owns field service equipment that supports its drilling and production operations, including pulling units, fracture stimulation tanks, water transport trucks, hot oilers, blowout preventers, construction equipment and fishing tools.
The Company continues to construct a field-wide water distribution system to reduce the cost of water for drilling and completion activities and to secure adequate supplies of water to support the Company's long-term growth plan for the Spraberry/Wolfcamp field. During 2019, the Company expanded its mainline system, subsystems and frac ponds to efficiently deliver water to Pioneer's drilling locations. The Company is purchasing approximately 120 thousand barrels per day of effluent water from the City of Odessa and is partnering with the City of Midland to upgrade the city's wastewater treatment plant in return for approximately two billion barrels of low-cost, non-potable water over a 28-year contract period (up to 240 thousand barrels per day) to support its drilling and completion activities. The Midland wastewater treatment plant is scheduled for completion in early 2021.
Asset divestitures. The Company regularly reviews its asset base to identify nonstrategic assets, the disposition of which would increase capital resources available for other activities, create organizational and operational efficiencies and further the Company's objective of maintaining a strong balance sheet to ensure financial flexibility.
See Note 3 and Note 4 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in "Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" for additional information.
Marketing of Production
General. Production from the Company's properties is marketed using methods that are consistent with industry practices. Sales prices for oil, NGL and gas production are negotiated based on factors normally considered in the industry, such as an index or spot price, price regulations, distance from the well to the pipeline, commodity quality and prevailing supply and demand conditions. See "Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk" for additional information.
Seasonal nature of business. Generally, but not always, the demand for gas decreases during the summer months and increases during the winter months. Seasonal anomalies such as mild winters or hot summers may impact general seasonal changes in demand.
Significant purchasers. During 2019 the Company's oil, NGL and gas sales to Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., Occidental Energy Marketing Inc. and Plains Marketing L.P. accounted for 33 percent, 20 percent and 13 percent of the Company's oil and gas revenues, respectively. The loss of one of these significant purchasers or an inability to secure adequate pipeline, gas plant and NGL fractionation infrastructure for its Permian Basin production could have a material adverse effect on the Company's ability to produce and sell its oil, NGL and gas production.
Revenues from sales of purchased oil and gas to Occidental Energy Marketing Inc. accounted for 30 percent of the Company's sales of purchased oil and gas. No other purchaser of oil or gas purchased by the Company from third parties
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exceeded ten percent during 2019. The loss of this significant purchaser of purchased oil and gas would not be expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company's ability to sell commodities it purchases from third parties.
See Note 13 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in "Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" for additional information.
Derivative risk management activities. The Company primarily utilizes commodity swap contracts, collar contracts, collar contracts with short puts and basis swap contracts that are intended to (i) reduce the effect of price volatility on the commodities the Company produces and sells or consumes, (ii) support the Company's annual capital budgeting and expenditure plans and (iii) reduce commodity price risk associated with certain capital projects. From time to time, the Company also utilizes interest rate derivative contracts intended to reduce the effect of interest rate volatility on the Company's indebtedness.
The Company enters into pipeline capacity commitments in order to secure available oil, NGL and gas transportation capacity from the Company's areas of production. The Company enters into purchase transactions with third parties and separate sale transactions with third parties to diversify a portion of the Company's oil and gas sales to Gulf Coast refineries and LNG facilities, international export markets and to satisfy unused gas pipeline capacity commitments.
See "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," "Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk" and Note 5 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in "Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" for additional information.
Competition, Markets and Regulations
Competition. The oil and gas industry is highly competitive in the exploration for and acquisition of reserves, the acquisition of oil and gas leases, marketing of oil, NGL and gas production, the obtaining of equipment and services and the hiring and retention of staff necessary for the identification, evaluation, operation and acquisition and development of oil and gas properties. The Company's competitors include a large number of companies, including major integrated oil and gas companies, other independent oil and gas companies, and individuals engaged in the exploration for and development of oil and gas properties. The Company also faces competition from companies that supply alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar power. Competition will increase as alternative energy technology becomes more reliable and governments throughout the world support or mandate the use of such alternative energy. Additionally, various entities throughout the world, including governments and public and private companies, are promoting research into new technologies to accelerate the implementation of alternative energy sources.
Competitive advantage is gained in the oil and gas exploration and development industry by employing well-trained and experienced personnel who make prudent capital investment decisions based on management direction, embrace technological innovation and are focused on price and cost management. The Company has a team of dedicated employees who represent the professional disciplines and sciences that the Company believes are necessary to allow Pioneer to maximize the long-term profitability and net asset value inherent in its physical assets.
See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company faces significant competition and some of its competitors have resources in excess of the Company's available resources" for additional information.
Markets. The Company's ability to produce and market oil, NGL and gas profitably depends on numerous factors beyond the Company's control. The effect of these factors cannot be accurately predicted or anticipated. Although the Company cannot predict the occurrence of events that may affect commodity prices or the degree to which commodity prices will be affected, the prices for any commodity that the Company produces will generally approximate current market prices in the geographic region of the production unless the Company effectively enhances margins through marketing and derivative arrangements.
Securities regulations. Enterprises that sell securities in public markets are subject to regulatory oversight by agencies such as the SEC and the NYSE. This regulatory oversight imposes on the Company many requirements, including the responsibility for establishing and maintaining disclosure controls and procedures and internal controls over financial reporting, and ensuring that the financial statements and other information included in submissions to the SEC do not contain any untrue statement of a material fact or omit to state a material fact necessary to make the statements made in such submissions not misleading. Failure to comply with the rules and regulations of the SEC could subject the Company to litigation from public or private plaintiffs. Failure to comply with the rules of the NYSE could result in the de-listing of the Company's common stock, which would have an adverse effect on the market price and liquidity of the Company's common stock. Compliance with some of these rules and regulations is costly, and regulations are subject to change or reinterpretation.
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 Environmental and occupational health and safety matters. The Company's operations are subject to stringent federal, state and local laws and regulations governing worker health and safety, the discharge of materials into the environment and environmental protection. Numerous governmental entities, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA"), the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration ("OSHA") and analogous state agencies, have the power to enforce compliance with these laws and regulations and the permits issued under them, which may cause the Company to incur significant capital expenditures or take costly actions to achieve and maintain compliance. Failure to comply with these laws and regulations may result in the assessment of sanctions, including administrative, civil and criminal penalties, imposition of investigatory remedial or corrective action of obligations, the occurrence of delays or restrictions in permitting or the performance of projects and the issuance of orders enjoining the Company from conducting certain operations in a particular area. While the Company's environmental compliance costs have historically not had a material adverse effect on its results of operations, there can be no assurance that such costs will not be material in the future, or that new or more stringently applied laws and regulations will not materially increase the cost of doing business.
The following is a summary of the more significant environmental and worker health and safety laws, as amended from time to time, to which the Company's business operations are or may be subject and with which compliance or the failure to maintain compliance may have a material adverse effect on the Company's capital expenditures, results of operations or financial position.
Hazardous wastes and substances. The federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act ("RCRA") and comparable state statutes regulate the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, disposal and cleanup of hazardous and non-hazardous wastes. Under the authority delegated by the EPA, the individual states administer some or all of the provisions of RCRA, sometimes in conjunction with their own, more stringent requirements. The Company generates some amounts of ordinary industrial wastes that may be regulated as RCRA hazardous wastes. RCRA currently excludes from the definition of hazardous waste drilling fluids, produced waters and certain other wastes associated with the exploration, development and production of oil or gas. These wastes are instead regulated under RCRA's less stringent non-hazardous waste provisions. There have been efforts from time to time to remove this exclusion. For example, in response to a federal consent decree issued in 2016, the EPA was required during 2019 to determine whether certain Subtitle D criteria regulations required revision in a manner that could result in oil and gas wastes being regulated as RCRA hazardous wastes. In April 2019, the EPA made a determination that such revision of the regulations was unnecessary. Any future loss of the RCRA exclusion could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations and financial position, and it is possible that certain oil and gas exploration and production wastes now classified as non-hazardous could be classified as hazardous waste in the future.
The federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act ("CERCLA"), also known as the Superfund law, and analogous state laws impose joint and several liability, without regard to fault or legality of conduct, on classes of persons who are considered to be responsible for the release of a "hazardous substance" into the environment. These persons include: (i) the current owner or operator of the site where the release occurred, (ii) a past owner or operator of the site at the time of the disposal of the hazardous substance and (iii) anyone who disposed or arranged for the disposal of a hazardous substance released at the site. Under CERCLA, such persons may be subject to joint and several liability for the costs of cleaning up the hazardous substances that have been released into the environment, for damages to natural resources and for the costs of certain health studies. CERCLA also authorizes the EPA and, in some instances, third parties to act in response to threats to public health or the environment and to seek to recover from the responsible classes of persons the costs they incur. 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. The Company generates materials in the course of its operations that may be regulated as CERCLA hazardous substances.
See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The nature of the Company's assets and production operations may impact the environment or cause environmental contamination, which could result in material liabilities to the Company" for additional information.
Water use, surface discharges and injections into underground formations. The federal Water Pollution Control Act, also known as the Clean Water Act (the "CWA"), and analogous state laws impose restrictions and strict controls with respect to the discharge of pollutants, including spills and leaks of oil and hazardous substances, into waters of the United States and state waters. Spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan requirements imposed under the CWA require appropriate containment berms and similar structures to help prevent the contamination of navigable waters in the event of a petroleum hydrocarbon spill, rupture or leak. Additionally, the CWA and analogous state laws require individual permits or coverage under general permits for discharges of stormwater runoff from certain types of facilities. The CWA also prohibits the discharge of dredge and fill material into regulated waters, including wetlands, unless authorized by an appropriately issued permit. Federal and state regulatory agencies can impose administrative, civil and criminal penalties, as well as require remedial or mitigation measures, for noncompliance with discharge permits or other requirements of the CWA and analogous state laws.
The federal Oil Pollution Act ("OPA") sets minimum standards for prevention, containment and cleanup of oil spills into waters of the United States. Under OPA, responsible parties, including owners and operators of onshore facilities, such as
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exploration and production facilities, may be held strictly liable for oil spill cleanup costs and natural resource damages as well as a variety of public and private damages that may result from oil spills. OPA amends the CWA and thus noncompliance with OPA could result in civil and criminal penalties under the CWA.
The Company may dispose of produced water from oil and gas activities in underground injection wells, which are designed and permitted to place the water into non-productive geologic formations that are isolated from fresh water sources. The Underground Injection Control ("UIC") program established under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act ("SDWA") requires issuance of permits from the EPA or an analogous state agency for the construction and operation of these disposal wells. Additionally, the UIC program establishes minimum standards for disposal well operations and restricts the types and quantities of fluids that may be disposed. Because some states have become concerned that the disposal of produced water into underground formations could contribute to seismicity, they have adopted or are considering adopting additional regulations governing such disposal. Should future bans relating to underground injection wells be placed in effect in the Permian Basin, where the Company has significant operations, there could be an adverse impact on the Company's ability to operate.
See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's operations are subject to stringent environmental, oil and gas-related and occupational safety and health laws and regulations that could cause it to delay, curtail or cease its operations or expose it to material costs and liabilities" and "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's operations are substantially dependent upon the availability of water and its ability to dispose of produced water gathered from drilling and production activities. Restrictions on the Company's ability to obtain water or dispose of produced water may have a material adverse effect on its financial condition, results of operations and cash flows" for additional information.
Hydraulic fracturing. Hydraulic fracturing is an important and common practice to stimulate production of oil and gas from dense subsurface rock formations. The process involves the injection of water, sand and additives under pressure into targeted subsurface formations to fracture the surrounding rock and stimulate oil and gas production. The Company routinely conducts hydraulic fracturing in its drilling and completion programs. The process is typically regulated by state oil and gas commissions, but, in recent years, several federal, state and local agencies have asserted regulatory authority over certain aspects of the process. Additionally, the threat of climate change has resulted in increasing political risks in the United States, including climate-related pledges to ban hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells being made by certain candidates seeking the office of President of the United Sates in 2020. In the event federal, state or local restrictions are adopted in areas where the Company is currently conducting operations, or in the future plans to conduct operations, the Company may incur additional costs to comply with such requirements that may be significant in nature, experience delays, curtailment or a cessation in the pursuit of exploration, development or production activities, and be limited or precluded in the drilling of wells or the volume that the Company is ultimately able to produce from its reserves.
See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - Laws and regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing, as well as governmental reviews of such activities, could result in increased costs and additional operating restrictions, delays or cancellations and have a material adverse effect on the Company's production" and "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's hydraulic fracturing and former sand mining operations may result in silica-related health issues and litigation that could have a material adverse effect on the Company" for additional information.
Air emissions. The federal Clean Air Act (the "CAA") and comparable state laws regulate emissions of various air pollutants through air emissions permitting programs and the imposition of other compliance requirements. Such laws and regulations could require a facility to obtain pre-approval for construction or modification projects expected to produce new air pollutant emissions or result in the increase of existing air pollutant emissions. Additionally, these legal requirements could impose stringent air permit conditions or utilize specific emission control technologies to limit emissions of certain air pollutants. Federal and state regulatory agencies can also impose administrative, civil and criminal penalties for noncompliance with air permits or other requirements of the CAA and associated state laws and regulations.
See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's operations are subject to stringent environmental, oil and gas-related and occupational safety and health laws and regulations that could cause it to delay, curtail or cease its operations or expose it to material costs and liabilities" for additional information.
Climate change. Climate change continues to attract considerable public, political and scientific attention. As a result, numerous regulatory initiatives have been proposed, and are likely to continue to be proposed, at the international, national, regional and state levels of government to monitor and limit existing sources of GHG emissions as well as to restrict or eliminate emissions from new sources. These regulatory efforts have included consideration of cap-and-trade programs, carbon taxes, GHG reporting and tracking programs, and regulations that directly limit GHG emissions from certain sources. Additionally, the threat of climate change has resulted in increasing political, litigation and financial risks associated with the production of fossil fuels and emission of GHGs. The adoption and implementation of any federal or state legislation, regulations or executive orders or the occurrence of any litigation or financial developments that impose more stringent requirements or bans on GHG-emitting production activities or locations where such production activities may occur, impose liabilities for past conduct relating to GHG-emitting production activities, or limit or eliminate sources of financing for on-
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going production operations could require the Company to incur increased costs, such as compliance or consumption costs, and thereby reduce demand for oil and gas, or otherwise impair the ability of the Company to continue to operate in an economic manner.

See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company’s operations are subject to a number of risks arising out of concerns regarding the threat of climate change, including regulatory, political, litigation and financial risks, that could result in increased operating costs and costs of compliance, limit the areas in which oil and gas production may occur, reduce demand for the oil and gas the Company produces, and expose the Company to the risk of increased activism and decreased funding for the industry, while the potential physical effects of climate change could disrupt the Company's production and cause it to incur significant costs in preparing for or responding to those effects" for additional information.
Endangered species. The federal Endangered Species Act (the "ESA") and analogous state laws regulate activities that could have an adverse effect on species listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA. Some of the Company's operations are conducted in areas where protected species or their habitats are known to exist. In these areas, the Company may be obligated to develop and implement plans to avoid potential adverse effects to protected species and their habitats, and the Company may be delayed, restricted or prohibited from conducting operations in certain locations or during certain seasons, such as breeding and nesting seasons, when the Company's operations could have an adverse effect on the species. It is also possible that a federal or state agency could order a complete halt to drilling activities in certain locations if it is determined that such activities may have a serious adverse effect on a protected species.
See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - Laws and regulations pertaining to protection of threatened and endangered species or to critical habitat, wetlands and natural resources could delay, restrict or prohibit the Company's operations and cause it to incur substantial costs that may have a material adverse effect on the Company's development and production of reserves" for additional information.
Occupational health and safety. The Company's operations are subject to the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act and comparable state statutes. These laws and the implementing regulations issued by OSHA strictly govern the protection of the health and safety of employees. The OSHA hazard communication standard, the EPA community right-to-know regulations under Title III of CERCLA and similar state statutes require that the Company organize or disclose information about hazardous materials used or produced in the Company's operations.
OSHA published a final rule in 2016 that established a more stringent permissible exposure to respirable crystalline silica and provides other provisions to protect employees. This final rule required compliance with most applicable requirements by various industry sectors, including the hydraulic fracturing sector, by June 2018, and further requires compliance with engineering control obligations to limit exposures to respirable crystalline silica in connection with hydraulic fracturing activities by June 2021. Respirable silica is a known health hazard for workers exposed over long periods.
See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's operations are subject to stringent environmental, oil and gas-related and occupational safety and health laws and regulations that could cause it to delay, curtail or cease its operations or expose it to material costs and liabilities" and "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's hydraulic fracturing and former sand mining operations may result in silica-related health issues and litigation that could have a material adverse effect on the Company" for additional information.
Other regulation of the oil and gas industry. The oil and gas industry is regulated by numerous federal, state and local authorities. Legislation affecting the oil and gas industry is under constant review for amendment or expansion, frequently increasing the regulatory burden. Also, numerous federal and state departments and agencies are authorized by statute to issue rules and regulations that are binding on the oil and gas industry and its individual members, some of which carry substantial penalties for failure to comply. Although the regulatory burden on the oil and gas industry may increase the Company's cost of doing business by increasing the cost of production, the Company believes that these burdens generally do not affect the Company 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.
Development and production. Development and production operations are subject to various types of regulation at the federal, state and local levels. These types of regulation include requiring permits for the drilling of wells, the posting of bonds in connection with various types of activities and filing reports concerning operations. Most states, and some counties and municipalities, in which the Company operates also regulate one or more of the following:
the location of wells;
the method of drilling and casing wells;
the method and ability to fracture stimulate wells;
the surface use and restoration of properties upon which wells are drilled;
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the plugging and abandoning of wells; and
notice to 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 gas properties. Some states allow forced pooling or integration of tracts to facilitate development, 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 the Company's interest in the unitized properties. In addition, state conservation laws establish maximum rates of production from oil and gas wells, generally prohibit the venting or flaring of gas and impose requirements regarding production rates. These laws and regulations may limit the amount of oil and gas the Company can produce from the Company's wells or limit the number of wells or the locations that the Company can drill. Moreover, each state generally imposes a production or severance tax with respect to the production and sale of oil, NGL and gas within its jurisdiction. States do not regulate wellhead prices or engage in other similar direct regulation, but there can be no assurance that they will not do so in the future. The effect of such future regulations may limit the amounts of oil and gas that may be produced from the Company's wells, negatively affect the economics of production from these wells or limit the number of locations the Company can drill.
Regulation of transportation and sale of gas. The availability, terms and cost of transportation significantly affect sales of gas. Federal and state regulations govern the price and terms for access to gas pipeline transportation. Intrastate gas pipeline transportation activities are subject to various state laws and regulations, as well as orders of state regulatory bodies. The interstate transportation and sale of gas is subject to federal regulation, including regulation of the terms, conditions and rates for interstate transportation, storage and various other matters, primarily by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC"). FERC endeavors to make gas transportation more accessible to gas buyers and sellers on an open-access and non-discriminatory basis.
Pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 ("EPAct 2005") it is unlawful for any entity, such as the Company, to use any deceptive or manipulative device or contrivance in connection with the purchase or sale of gas or transportation services subject to regulation by FERC, in contravention of rules prescribed by FERC. The EPAct 2005 also gives FERC authority to impose civil penalties of up to $1 million per day, subject to annual inflation adjustment, for each violation of the Natural Gas Act ("NGA"), the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 and related regulations.
Under FERC Order 704, which regulates annual gas transaction reporting requirements, any market participant, including a producer such as the Company, that engages in wholesale sales or purchases of gas that equal or exceed 2.2 million MMBtus of physical gas in the previous calendar year must annually report such sales and purchases to FERC on Form No. 552 by May 1 of the year following the calendar year when such sales and purchases occurred. Form No. 552 contains aggregate volumes of wholesale gas purchased or sold in the prior calendar year to the extent such transactions utilize, contribute to or may contribute to the formation of price indices. Order 704 is intended to increase the transparency of the wholesale gas markets and to assist FERC in monitoring those markets and in detecting market manipulation.
Intrastate gas pipeline transportation rates are subject to regulation by state regulatory commissions. The basis for intrastate gas pipeline regulation, and the degree of regulatory oversight and scrutiny given to intrastate gas pipeline rates, vary from state to state. Additional proposals and proceedings that might affect the gas industry are considered from time to time by the U.S. Congress, FERC, state legislatures, state regulatory bodies and the courts. The Company cannot predict when or if any such proposals might become effective or their effect, if any, on its operations. The Company believes that the regulation of intrastate gas pipeline transportation rates will not affect its operations in any way that is materially different from the effects on its similarly situated competitors.
See additional information in "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company may not be able to obtain access on commercially reasonable terms or otherwise to pipelines and storage facilities, gathering systems and other transportation, processing, fractionation, refining and export facilities to market its oil, NGL and gas production; the Company relies on a limited number of purchasers for a majority of its products" and "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's transportation of gas, sales and purchases of oil, NGL, gas or other energy commodities, and any derivative activities related to such energy commodities, expose the Company to potential regulatory risks."
Gas processing. The Company's gas processing operations are generally not subject to FERC or state regulation with respect to rates or terms and conditions of service.
See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's gas processing, gathering and treating operations are subject to operational and regulatory risks, which could result in significant damages and the loss of revenue" for additional information.
Gas gathering. Section 1(b) of the NGA exempts gas gathering facilities from FERC jurisdiction. While the Company owns or operates some gas gathering facilities, the Company also depends on gathering facilities owned and operated by third
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parties to gather production from its properties, and therefore the Company is affected by the rates charged by these third parties for gathering services. To the extent that changes in federal or state regulation affect the rates charged for gathering services, the Company also may be affected by these changes. The Company does not anticipate that the Company would be affected any differently than similarly situated gas producers.
See "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's gas processing, gathering, and treating operations are subject to operational and regulatory risks, which could result in significant damages and the loss of revenue" and "Item 1A. Risk Factors - The Company may not be able to obtain access on commercially reasonable terms or otherwise to pipelines and storage facilities, gathering systems and other transportation, processing, fractionation, refining and export facilities to market its oil, NGL and gas production; the Company relies on a limited number of purchasers for a majority of its products" for additional information.
Regulation of transportation and sale of oil and NGL. Intrastate liquids pipeline transportation rates, terms and conditions are subject to regulation by numerous federal, state and local authorities and, in a number of instances, the ability to transport and sell such products on interstate pipelines is dependent on pipelines that are also subject to FERC jurisdiction under the Interstate Commerce Act (the "ICA"). The Company does not believe these regulations affect it any differently than other producers.
The ICA requires that pipelines maintain a tariff on file with the FERC. The tariff sets forth the established rates as well as the rules and regulations governing the service. The ICA requires, among other things, that rates and terms and conditions of service on interstate common carrier pipelines be "just and reasonable." Such pipelines must also provide jurisdictional service in a manner that is not unduly discriminatory or unduly preferential. Shippers have the power to challenge new and existing rates and terms and conditions of service before the FERC.
Rates of interstate liquids pipelines are currently regulated by the FERC, primarily through an annual indexing methodology, under which pipelines increase or decrease their rates in accordance with an index adjustment specified by the FERC. For the five-year period beginning in July 2016, the FERC established an annual index adjustment equal to the change in the producer price index for finished goods plus 1.23 percent. This adjustment is subject to review every five years. Under the FERC's regulations, a liquids pipeline can request a rate increase that exceeds the rate obtained through application of the indexing methodology by using a cost-of-service approach, but only after the pipeline establishes that a substantial divergence exists between the actual costs experienced by the pipeline and the rates resulting from application of the indexing methodology. Increases in liquids transportation rates may result in lower revenue and cash flows for the Company.
In addition, due to common carrier regulatory obligations of liquids pipelines, capacity must be prorated among shippers in an equitable manner in the event there are nominations in excess of capacity by current shippers or capacity requests are received from a new shipper. Therefore, new shippers or increased volumes by existing shippers may reduce the capacity available to the Company. Any prolonged interruption in the operation or curtailment of available capacity of the pipelines that the Company relies upon for liquids transportation could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. However, the Company believes that access to liquids pipeline transportation services generally will be available to it to the same extent, if not better given the Company's firm transportation contracts, as to its similarly situated competitors.
In November 2009, the Federal Trade Commission (the "FTC") issued regulations pursuant to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 intended to prohibit market manipulation in the petroleum industry. Violators of the regulations face civil penalties of up to $1 million per violation per day, subject to annual inflation adjustment. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the "CFTC") has also issued anti-manipulation rules that subject violators to a civil penalty of up to the greater of $1 million per violation, subject to annual inflation adjustment, or triple the monetary gain to the person for each violation.
See "Items 1A. Risk Factors - The Company's transportation of gas, sales and purchases of oil, NGL, gas or other energy commodities, and any derivative activities related to such energy commodities, expose the Company to potential regulatory risks."
Energy commodity prices. Sales prices of oil, NGL and gas are not currently regulated and sales are made at market prices. Although prices of these energy commodities are currently unregulated, the U.S. Congress historically has been active in their regulation. The Company cannot predict whether new legislation to regulate oil and gas might actually be enacted by the U.S. Congress or the various state legislatures, and what effect, if any, the proposals might have on the Company's operations.
Transportation of hazardous materials. The federal Department of Transportation has adopted regulations requiring that certain entities transporting designated hazardous materials develop plans to address security risks related to the transportation of hazardous materials. The Company does not believe that these requirements will have an adverse effect on the Company or its operations. The Company cannot provide any assurance that the security plans required under these regulations would
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protect against all security risks and prevent an attack or other incident related to the Company's transportation of hazardous materials.
ITEM 1A. RISK FACTORS
The nature of the business activities conducted by the Company subjects it to certain hazards and risks. The following is a summary of some of the material risks relating to the Company's business activities. Other risks are described in "Item 1. Business — Competition, Markets and Regulations," "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 facing the Company. The Company's business could also be affected by additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to the Company or that it currently deems to be immaterial. If any of these risks actually occurs, it could materially harm the Company's business, financial condition or results of operations or impair the Company's ability to implement business plans or complete development activities as scheduled. In that case, the market price of the Company's common stock could decline.
The prices of oil, NGL and gas are highly volatile and have declined significantly in recent years. A sustained decline in these commodity prices could materially and adversely affect the Company's business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Company's revenues, profitability, cash flow and future rate of growth are highly dependent on commodity prices. Commodity prices may fluctuate widely in response to relatively minor changes in the supply of and demand for oil, NGL and gas, market uncertainty and a variety of additional factors that are beyond the Company's control, such as:
domestic and worldwide supply of and demand for oil, NGL and gas;
worldwide oil, NGL and gas inventory levels, including at Cushing, Oklahoma, the benchmark location for WTI oil prices, and the U.S. Gulf Coast, where the majority of the U.S. refinery capacity exists;
volatility and trading patterns in the commodity-futures markets;
the capacity of U.S. and international refiners to utilize U.S. supplies of oil and condensate;
weather conditions;
overall domestic and global political and economic conditions, including the imposition of tariffs or trade or other economic sanctions, political instability or armed conflict in oil and gas producing regions;
global or national health concerns, including the outbreak of pandemic or contagious disease, such as the recent coronavirus, which may reduce demand for oil, NGL and gas because of reduced global or national economic activity;
actions of OPEC, its members and other state-controlled oil companies relating to oil price and production controls;
the price and quantity of oil, NGL and LNG imports to and exports from the U.S.;
technological advances or social attitudes or policies affecting energy consumption and energy supply;
domestic and foreign governmental regulations, including environmental regulations, climate change regulations and taxation;
the effect of energy conservation efforts;
stockholder activism or activities by non-governmental organizations to limit certain sources of capital for the energy sector or restrict the exploration, development and production of oil and gas;
the proximity, capacity, cost and availability of pipelines and other processing, fractionation, refinery, storage and export facilities; and
the price, availability and acceptance of alternative fuels.
Commodity prices have historically been, and continue to be, extremely volatile. For example, the Brent oil prices in 2019 ranged from a high of $74.57 to a low of $54.91 per Bbl and the NYMEX gas prices in 2019 ranged from a high of $3.59 to a low of $2.07 per MMBtu.The Company expects this volatility to continue. A further or extended decline in commodity prices could materially and adversely affect the Company's future business, financial condition, results of operations, liquidity or its ability to repurchase shares of common stock, pay dividends or finance planned capital expenditures. The Company makes price assumptions that are used for planning purposes, and a significant portion of the Company's cash outlays, including rent, salaries and noncancellable capital and transportation commitments, are largely fixed in nature. Accordingly, if commodity prices are below the expectations on which these commitments were based, the Company's financial results are likely to be adversely and disproportionately affected because these cash outlays are not variable in the short term and cannot be quickly reduced to respond to unanticipated decreases in commodity prices.
Significant or extended price declines could also materially and adversely affect the amount of oil, NGL and gas that the Company can produce economically, which may result in the Company having to make significant downward adjustments to its estimated proved reserves. A reduction in production could also result in a shortfall in expected cash flows and require the
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Company to reduce capital spending or borrow funds to cover any such shortfall. Any of these factors could negatively affect the Company's ability to replace its production and its future rate of growth.
The Company could experience periods of higher costs if commodity prices rise. These increases could reduce the Company's profitability, cash flow and ability to complete development activities as planned.
Historically, the Company's capital and operating costs have risen during periods of increasing oil, NGL and gas prices. These cost increases result from a variety of factors beyond the Company's control, such as increases in the cost of electricity, steel and other raw materials that the Company and its vendors rely upon; increased demand for labor, services and materials as drilling activity increases; and increased production and ad valorem taxes. Decreased levels of drilling activity in the oil and gas industry have historically led to cost reductions for some drilling equipment, materials and supplies. However, such costs may rise faster than increases in the Company's revenue if commodity prices rise, thereby negatively impacting the Company's profitability, cash flow and ability to complete development activities as scheduled and on budget. This impact may be magnified to the extent that the Company's ability to participate in the commodity price increases is limited by its derivative risk management activities.
Declining general economic, business or industry conditions could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations.
The economies in the United States and certain countries in Europe and Asia have been growing, with resulting improvements in industrial demand and consumer confidence. However, other economies, such as those of certain South American nations, continue to face economic struggles or slowing economic growth. If these conditions worsen, combined with a decline in economic growth in other parts of the world, there could be a significant adverse effect on global financial markets and commodity prices. In addition, continued hostilities in the Middle East and the occurrence or threat of terrorist attacks in the United States or other countries could adversely affect the global economy. Global or national health concerns, including the outbreak of pandemic or contagious disease, such as the recent coronavirus, may adversely affect the Company by (i) reducing demand for its oil, NGL and gas because of reduced global or national economic activity, (ii) impairing its supply chain (for example, by limiting manufacturing of materials used in operations), and (iii) affecting the health of its workforce, rendering employees unable to work or travel. If the economic climate in the United States or abroad were to deteriorate, demand for petroleum products could diminish or stagnate, which could depress the prices at which the Company could sell its oil, NGLs and gas, affect the ability of the Company's vendors, suppliers and customers to continue operations and ultimately decrease the Company's cash flows and profitability. In addition, reduced worldwide demand for debt and equity securities issued by oil and gas companies may make it more difficult for it to raise capital.
The refining industry may be unable to absorb rising U.S. oil production; in such a case, the resulting surplus could depress prices and restrict the availability of markets, which could materially and adversely affect the Company's results of operations.
Absent an expansion of U.S. refining and export capacity, rising U.S. production of oil could result in a surplus of these products in the U.S., which would likely cause prices for these commodities to fall and markets to constrict. Although U.S. law was changed in 2015 to permit the export of oil, exports may not occur if demand is lacking in foreign markets or the price that can be obtained in foreign markets does not support associated export capacity expansions, transportation and other costs. In such circumstances, the rate of return on the Company's capital projects would decline, possibly to levels that would make execution of the Company's drilling plans uneconomical, and a lack of market for the Company's products could require that the Company shut in some portion of its production. If this were to occur, the Company's production and cash flow could decrease, or could increase less than forecasted, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company's cash flow and profitability.
The Company faces significant competition and some of its competitors have resources in excess of the Company's available resources.
The oil and gas industry is highly competitive. The Company competes with a large number of companies, producers and operators in a number of areas such as:
seeking to acquire oil and gas properties suitable for exploration or development;
marketing oil, NGL and gas production; and
seeking to acquire the equipment, services and expertise, including trained personnel, necessary to identify, evaluate, develop and operate its properties.
Some of the Company's competitors are larger and have substantially greater financial and other resources than the Company, and as such, the Company may be at a competitive disadvantage in the identification, acquisition and development of properties that complement the Company's operations. The Company also faces competition from companies that supply alternative sources of energy, such as wind or solar power. Competition is expected to increase and in certain cases,
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governments are providing tax advantages and other subsidies to support alternative energy sources or are mandating the use of specific fuels or technologies. Governments and other parties are also promoting research into new technologies to accelerate the implementation of alternative energy sources.
The Company's operations involve many operational risks, some of which could result in unforeseen interruptions to the Company's operations and substantial losses to the Company for which the Company may not be adequately insured.
The Company's operations, including drilling and completion activities and water distribution, collection and disposal activities, are subject to all the risks incident to the oil and gas development and production business, including:
blowouts, cratering, explosions and fires;
adverse weather effects;
environmental hazards, such as NGL and gas leaks, oil and produced water spills, pipeline and vessel ruptures, encountering naturally occurring radioactive materials ("NORM"), and unauthorized discharges of toxic chemicals, gases, brine, well stimulation and completion fluids or other pollutants onto the surface or into the subsurface environment;
high costs, shortages or delivery delays of equipment, labor or other services or water and sand for hydraulic fracturing;
facility or equipment malfunctions, failures or accidents;
title problems;
pipe or cement failures or casing collapses;
uncontrollable flows of oil, gas or water;
compliance with environmental and other governmental requirements;
lost or damaged oilfield workover and service tools;
surface access restrictions;
unusual or unexpected geological formations or pressure or irregularities in formations;
terrorism, vandalism and physical, electronic and cybersecurity breaches, and global or national health concerns, including the outbreak of pandemic or contagious disease, such as the recent coronavirus; and
natural disasters.
The Company's overall exposure to operational risks may increase as its drilling activity expands and as it increases internally-provided well services, water distribution, water collection, disposal or other services. In addition, any of these risks could adversely impact the Company’s service providers and suppliers, causing its supply chains to be interrupted, slowed, or rendered inoperable. Any of these risks could result in substantial losses to the Company due to injury or loss of life, damage to or destruction of wells, production facilities or other property and natural resources, clean-up responsibilities, regulatory investigations and penalties and suspension of operations.
The Company may not be insured or is not fully insured against certain of the risks described above, either because such insurance is not available or because of the high premium costs and deductibles associated with obtaining such insurance. Additionally, the Company relies to a large extent on facilities owned and operated by third-parties, and damage to or destruction of those third-party facilities could adversely affect the ability of the Company to produce, transport and sell its hydrocarbons.
The Company's operations and drilling activity are concentrated in the Permian Basin of West Texas, an area of high industry activity, which may affect its ability to obtain the personnel, equipment, services, resources and facilities access needed to complete its development activities as planned or result in increased costs; such concentration also makes the Company vulnerable to risks associated with operating in a limited geographic area.
The Company's producing properties are geographically concentrated in the Permian Basin of West Texas. Industry activity is high in the Permian Basin and demand for and costs of personnel, equipment, power, services and resources remains high. Any delay or inability to secure the personnel, equipment, power, services and resources could result in oil, NGL and gas production volumes being below the Company's forecasted volumes. In addition, any such negative effect on production volumes, or significant increases in costs, could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations, cash flow and profitability.
As a result of this concentration, the Company may be disproportionately exposed to the impact of delays or interruptions of operations or production in this area caused by external factors such as governmental regulation, state politics, market limitations, water or sand shortages or extreme weather related conditions.
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The Company's actual production could differ materially from its forecasts.
From time to time, the Company provides forecasts of expected quantities of future oil and gas production and other financial and operating results. These forecasts are based on a number of estimates and assumptions, including that none of the risks associated with the Company's oil and gas operations summarized in this "Item 1A. Risk Factors" occur. Production forecasts, specifically, are based on assumptions such as:
expectations of production from existing wells and future drilling activity;
the absence of facility or equipment malfunctions;
the absence of adverse weather effects;
expectations of commodity prices, which could experience significant volatility;
expected well costs; and
the assumed effects of regulation by governmental agencies, which could make certain drilling activities or production uneconomical.
Should any of these assumptions prove inaccurate, or should the Company's development plans change, actual production could be materially and adversely affected.
Exploration and development drilling involve substantial costs and risks and may not result in commercially productive reserves.
Drilling involves numerous risks, including the risk that no commercially productive oil or gas reservoirs will be encountered. The cost of drilling, completing and operating wells is often uncertain and drilling operations may be curtailed, delayed or canceled, or become costlier, as a result of a variety of factors, including:
unexpected drilling conditions;
unexpected pressure or irregularities in formations;
equipment failures or accidents;
construction delays;
fracture stimulation accidents or failures;
adverse weather conditions;
restricted access to land for drilling or laying pipelines;
title defects;
lack of available gathering, transportation, processing, fractionation, storage, refining or export facilities;
lack of available capacity on interconnecting transmission pipelines;
access to, and the cost and availability of, the equipment, services, resources and personnel required to complete the Company's drilling, completion and operating activities; and
delays imposed by or resulting from compliance with or changes in environmental and other governmental, regulatory or contractual requirements.
The Company's future drilling activities may not be successful and, if unsuccessful, the Company's proved reserves and production would decline, which could have an adverse effect on the Company's future results of operations and financial condition. While all drilling, whether developmental, extension or exploratory, involves these risks, exploratory and extension drilling involves greater risks of dry holes or failure to find commercial quantities of hydrocarbons. The Company expects that it will continue to recognize exploration and abandonment expense in 2020.
Part of the Company's strategy involves using some of the latest available horizontal drilling and completion techniques, which involve risks and uncertainties in their application.
The Company's operations involve utilizing some of the latest drilling and completion techniques as developed by it and its service providers. Risks that the Company faces while drilling horizontal wells include, but are not limited to, the following:
landing the wellbore in the desired drilling zone;
staying in the desired drilling zone while drilling horizontally through the formation;
running casing the entire length of the wellbore; and
being able to run tools and other equipment consistently through the horizontal wellbore.
Risks that the Company faces while completing wells include, but are not limited to, the following:
the ability to fracture stimulate the planned number of stages;
the ability to run tools the entire length of the wellbore during completion operations; and
the ability to successfully clean out the wellbore after completion of the final fracture stimulation stage.
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Drilling in emerging areas is more uncertain than drilling in areas that are more developed and have a longer history of established drilling operations. New discoveries and emerging formations have limited or no production history and, consequently, the Company is more limited in assessing future drilling results in these areas. If the Company's drilling results are worse than anticipated, the return on investment for a particular project may not be as attractive as anticipated and the Company may recognize noncash charges to reduce the carrying value of its unproved properties in those areas.
Multi-well pad drilling may result in volatility in the Company's operating results.
The Company utilizes multi-well pad drilling, and wells drilled on a pad are not placed on production until all wells on the pad are drilled and completed. In addition, problems affecting a single well could adversely affect production from all of the wells on the pad. As a result, multi-well pad drilling can cause delays in the scheduled commencement of production, or interruptions in ongoing production. These delays or interruptions may cause volatility in the Company's operating results. Further, any delay, reduction or curtailment of the Company's development and producing operations due to operational delays caused by multi-well pad drilling could result in the loss of acreage through lease expiration.
The Company's use of seismic data is subject to interpretation and may not accurately identify the presence of oil and gas, which could materially and adversely affect the results of its drilling operations.
Even when properly used and interpreted, seismic data and visualization techniques are only tools used to assist geoscientists in identifying subsurface structures and hydrocarbon indicators and do not enable the interpreter to know whether hydrocarbons are, in fact, present in those structures. As a result, the Company's drilling activities may not be successful or economic. In addition, the use of advanced technologies, such as 3-D seismic data, requires greater pre-drilling expenditures than traditional drilling strategies, and the Company could incur losses as a result of such expenditures.
The Company's expectations for future drilling activities will be realized over several years, making them susceptible to uncertainties that could materially alter the occurrence or timing of such activities.
The Company has identified drilling locations and prospects for future drilling opportunities, including development, exploratory and infill drilling activities. These drilling locations and prospects represent a significant part of the Company's future drilling plans. For example, the Company's proved reserves as of December 31, 2019 include proved undeveloped reserves and proved developed non-producing reserves of 39 MMBbls of oil, 16 MMBbls of NGL and 83 Bcf of gas. The Company's ability to drill and develop these locations depends on a number of factors, including the availability and cost of capital, regulatory approvals, negotiation of agreements with third parties, commodity prices, costs, access to and availability of equipment, services, resources and personnel, and drilling results. There can be no assurance that the Company will drill these locations or that the Company will be able to produce oil or gas reserves from these locations or any other potential drilling locations. Well results vary by formation and geographic area, and the Company generally prioritizes its drilling activities to focus on remaining locations that are believed to offer the highest return. Changes in the laws or regulations on which the Company relies in planning and executing its drilling programs could materially and adversely impact the Company's ability to successfully complete those programs. For example, under current Texas laws and regulations, the Company may receive permits to drill, and may drill and complete, certain horizontal wells that traverse one or more units and/or leases; a change in those laws or regulations could materially and adversely impact the Company's ability to drill those wells. Because of these uncertainties, the Company cannot give any assurance as to the timing of these activities or that they will ultimately result in the realization of proved reserves or meet the Company's expectations for success. As such, the Company's actual drilling activities may materially differ from the Company's current expectations, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company's proved reserves, financial condition and results of operations.
The Company's operations are substantially dependent upon the availability of water and its ability to dispose of produced water gathered from drilling and production activities. Restrictions on the Company's ability to obtain water or dispose of produced water may have a material adverse effect on its financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Water is an essential component of the Company's drilling and hydraulic fracturing processes. Limitations or restrictions on the Company's ability to secure sufficient amounts of water (including limitations resulting from natural causes such as drought), could materially and adversely impact its operations. Severe drought conditions can result in local water districts taking steps to restrict the use of water in their jurisdiction for drilling and hydraulic fracturing in order to protect the local water supply. If the Company is unable to obtain water to use in its operations from local sources, it may need to be obtained from new sources and transported to drilling sites, resulting in increased costs, which could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
In addition, the Company must dispose of the fluids produced from oil and gas production operations, including produced water, which it does directly or through the use of third party vendors. The legal requirements related to the disposal of produced water into a non-producing geologic formation by means of underground injection wells are subject to change
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based on concerns of the public or governmental authorities regarding such disposal activities. One such concern arises from seismic events near underground disposal wells that are used for the disposal by injection of produced water resulting from oil and gas activities. In 2016, the United States Geological Survey identified Texas as being among the states with areas of increased rates of induced seismicity that could be attributed to fluid injection or oil and gas extraction. While the agency has seen these rates decrease since that time, concern continues to exist over earthquakes arising from induced seismic activities. In response to concerns regarding induced seismicity, regulators in some states have imposed, or are considering imposing, additional requirements in the permitting of produced water disposal wells to assess any relationship between seismicity and the use of such wells. For example, in Texas, the Texas Railroad Commission has adopted rules governing the permitting or re-permitting of wells used to dispose of produced water and other fluids resulting from the production of oil and gas in order to address these seismic activity concerns within the state. Among other things, these rules require companies seeking permits for disposal wells to provide seismic activity data in permit applications, provide for more frequent monitoring and reporting for certain wells and allow the state to modify, suspend or terminate permits on grounds that a disposal well is likely to be, or determined to be, causing seismic activity.
States may issue orders to temporarily shut down or to curtail the injection depth of existing wells in the vicinity of seismic events. Another consequence of seismic events may be lawsuits alleging that disposal well operations have caused damage to neighboring properties or otherwise violated state and federal rules regulating waste disposal. These developments could result in additional regulation and restrictions on the use of injection wells by the Company or by commercial disposal well vendors whom the Company may use from time to time to dispose of produced water. Increased regulation and attention given to induced seismicity could also lead to greater opposition, including litigation to limit or prohibit oil and gas activities utilizing injection wells for produced water disposal. Any one or more of these developments may result in the Company or its vendors having to limit disposal well volumes, disposal rates and pressures or locations, or require the Company or its vendors to shut down or curtail the injection of produced water into disposal wells, which events could have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Company's gas processing, gathering and treating operations are subject to operational and regulatory risks, which could result in significant damages and the loss of revenue.
As of December 31, 2019, the Company owns interests in 11 gas processing plants, including the related gathering systems. There are significant risks associated with the operation of gas processing plants and the associated gathering systems. Gas and NGLs are volatile and explosive and may include carcinogens. Damage to or improper operation of gas processing plants, gathering systems or treating facilities could result in an explosion or the discharge of toxic gases, which could result in significant damage claims in addition to interrupting a revenue source.
Moreover, while the Company's gas processing and gathering systems generally are not currently subject to FERC or state regulation with respect to rates or terms and conditions of service, there can be no assurance that such processing and gathering operations will continue to be unregulated in the future. Although these facilities may not be directly regulated, other laws and regulations may affect the availability of gas for gathering and processing, such as state regulations regarding production rates and maximum daily production allowable from gas wells, which could impact the Company's business in these areas. Such regulation could result in additional costs and reduced revenues.
The Company may not be able to obtain access on commercially reasonable terms or otherwise to pipelines and storage facilities, gathering systems and other transportation, processing, fractionation, refining and export facilities to market its oil, NGL and gas production; the Company relies on a limited number of purchasers for a majority of its products.
The marketing of oil, NGL and gas production depends in large part on the availability, proximity and capacity of pipelines and storage facilities, gathering systems and other transportation, processing, fractionation, refining and export facilities, as well as the existence of adequate markets. If there were insufficient capacity available on these systems, if these systems were unavailable to the Company or if access to these systems were to become commercially unreasonable, the price offered for the Company's production could be significantly depressed, or the Company could be forced to shut in some production or delay or discontinue drilling plans and commercial production following a discovery of hydrocarbons while it constructs its own facility or awaits the availability of third party facilities. The Company also relies (and expects to rely in the future) on facilities developed and owned by third parties in order to store, process, transport, fractionate and sell its oil, NGL and gas production. The Company's plans to develop and sell production from its oil and gas reserves could be materially and adversely affected by the inability or unwillingness of third parties to provide sufficient transportation, storage or processing, fractionation, refining or export facilities to the Company, especially in areas of planned expansion where such facilities do not currently exist. Additionally, certain of these challenges may be compounded by the high level of industry activity in the Permian Basin.
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For example, following Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008, certain Permian Basin gas processors were forced to shut down their plants due to the inability of certain Texas Gulf Coast NGL fractionators to operate. The Company was able to produce its oil wells and vent or flare the associated gas; however, there is no certainty the Company will be able to vent or flare gas in the future due to potential changes in regulations. The amount of oil and gas that can be produced is subject to limitations in certain circumstances, such as pipeline interruptions due to scheduled and unscheduled maintenance, excessive pressure, physical damage to the gathering, transportation, storage, processing, fractionation, refining or export facilities, or lack of capacity at such facilities. The Company has periodically experienced high line pressure at its tank batteries, which has occasionally led to the flaring of gas due to the inability of the gas gathering systems in the areas to support the increased gas production. The curtailments arising from these and similar circumstances may last from a few days to several months, and in many cases, the Company may be provided only limited, if any, notice as to when these circumstances will arise and their duration.
To the extent that the Company enters into transportation contracts with pipelines that are subject to FERC regulation, the Company is subject to FERC requirements related to use of such capacity. Any failure on the Company's part to comply with FERC's regulations and policies or with a FERC-related pipeline's tariff could result in the imposition of civil and criminal penalties.
A limited number of companies purchase a majority of the Company's oil, NGL and gas. The loss of a significant purchaser could have a material adverse effect on the Company's ability to sell its production.
A failure by purchasers of the Company's production to satisfy their obligations to the Company could require the Company to recognize a charge in earnings and have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operation.
The Company relies on a limited number of purchasers to purchase a majority of its products. To the extent that purchasers of the Company's production rely on access to the credit or equity markets to fund their operations, there is a risk that those purchasers could default in their contractual obligations to the Company if such purchasers were unable to access the credit or equity markets for an extended period of time. If for any reason the Company were to determine that it was probable that some or all of the accounts receivable from any one or more of the purchasers of the Company's production were uncollectible, the Company would recognize a charge in the earnings of that period for the probable loss.
Laws and regulations regarding hydraulic fracturing, as well as governmental reviews of such activities, could result in increased costs and additional operating restrictions, delays or cancellations and have a material adverse effect on the Company's production.
Hydraulic fracturing is a common practice that is used to stimulate production of hydrocarbons from tight formations. The Company conducts hydraulic fracturing in its drilling and completion programs. The process involves the injection of water, sand or other proppants and additives under pressure into targeted subsurface formations to stimulate oil and gas production. The process is typically regulated by state oil and gas commissions or similar agencies, but in recent years, several federal agencies have conducted investigations or asserted regulatory authority over certain aspects of the process. For example, in 2016, the EPA released its final report on the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources, concluding that "water cycle" activities associated with hydraulic fracturing may impact drinking water resources under certain circumstances. Additionally, the EPA has asserted regulatory authority pursuant to the SDWA's UIC program over hydraulic fracturing activities involving the use of diesel and has issued guidance covering such activities. Moreover, the EPA has published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to collect data on chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing under the Toxic Substances Control Act and has implemented a final rule under the CWA prohibiting the discharge of wastewater from onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction facilities to publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants. Also, the federal Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") published a final rule in 2015 that established new or more stringent standards for performing hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The BLM rescinded the 2015 rule in late 2017; however, litigation challenging the BLM's decision to rescind the 2015 rule remains pending in federal district court.
From time to time, the U.S. Congress has considered adopting legislation intended to provide for federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing and to require disclosure of the additives used in the hydraulic-fracturing process. In addition, certain states, including Texas where the Company operates, have adopted, and other states are considering adopting, regulations that could impose new or more stringent permitting, disclosure, disposal and well-construction requirements on hydraulic-fracturing operations. For example, in April 2019, Colorado passed legislation reforming exploration and production activities by the oil and gas industry in the state including, among other things, revising the mission of the state oil and gas agency from fostering energy development in the state to instead focusing on regulating the industry in a manner that is protective of public health and safety and the environment, as well as authorizing cities and counties to regulate oil and gas operations within their jurisdictions as they do other development. While the Company does not conduct operations in Colorado, passage or enactment of similar legislation in other states in which it does operate could significantly increase the Company’s operating costs and have a
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significant adverse effect on the Company’s ability to conduct operations. States could elect to prohibit hydraulic fracturing or high volume hydraulic fracturing altogether, following the approach taken by the states of Vermont, Maryland and New York. Also, local land use restrictions, such as city ordinances, may be adopted to restrict or prohibit drilling in general or hydraulic fracturing in particular. In Texas, legislation was adopted providing that the regulation of oil and gas operations in Texas is under the exclusive jurisdiction of the state and thus preempts local regulation of those operations. Nonetheless, municipalities and political subdivisions in Texas continue to have the right to enact "commercially reasonable" regulations for surface activities.
Also, the threat of climate change has resulted in increasing political risks in the United States, including climate-related pledges to ban hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells being made by certain candidates seeking the office of President of the United States in 2020. Additionally, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), who is one of the presidential candidates that has pledged to ban hydraulic fracturing, introduced Senate Bill 3247 on January 28, 2022 that, if enacted as proposed, would ban hydraulic fracturing nationwide by 2025.
In the event federal, state or local restrictions or bans pertaining to hydraulic fracturing are adopted in areas where the Company is currently conducting operations, or in the future plans to conduct operations, the Company may incur additional costs to comply with such requirements, experience restrictions, delays or cancellations in the pursuit of exploration, development or production activities, and perhaps be limited or precluded in the drilling of wells or in the volume that the Company is ultimately able to produce from its reserves; one or more of which developments could have a material adverse effect on the Company.
The Company's operations are subject to stringent environmental, oil and gas-related and occupational safety and health laws and regulations that could cause it to delay, curtail or cease its operations or expose it to material costs and liabilities.
The Company's operations are subject to stringent federal, state and local laws and regulations governing, among other things, the drilling of wells, rates of production, the size and shape of drilling and spacing units or proration units, the transportation and sale of oil, NGL and gas, and the discharging of materials into the environment and environmental protection. For example, state laws regulate the size and shape of drilling and spacing units or proration units governing the pooling of oil and gas properties. Some states allow forced pooling or integration of tracts to facilitate development, 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 the Company's interest in the unitized properties. In addition, state conservation laws (i) establish maximum rates of production from oil and gas wells, (ii) generally prohibit the venting or flaring of gas and (iii) impose requirements regarding production rates. These laws and regulations may limit the amount of oil and gas the Company can produce from the Company's wells or limit the number of wells or the locations that the Company can drill.
In connection with its operations, the Company must obtain and maintain numerous environmental and oil and gas-related permits, approvals and certificates from various federal, state and local governmental authorities, and may incur substantial costs in doing so. The need to obtain permits has the potential to delay, curtail or cease the development of oil and gas projects. The Company may in the future be charged royalties on gas emissions or required to incur certain capital expenditures for air pollution control equipment or other air emissions-related issues. For example, in 2015, the EPA issued a final rule under the CAA lowering the National Ambient Air Quality Standard ("NAAQS") for ground-level ozone from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion under standards to provide protection of public health and welfare. In subsequent years, the EPA has issued area designations with respect to ground-level ozone and final requirements that apply to state, local and tribal air agencies for implementing the 2015 NAAQS for ground-level ozone. State implementation of the revised NAAQS could, among other things, require installation of new emission controls on some of the Company's equipment, resulting in longer permitting timelines, and significantly increase the Company's capital expenditures and operating costs. In another example, the EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the "Corps") released a final rule in 2015 outlining federal jurisdictional reach under the CWA over waters of the U.S., including wetlands. In 2017, the EPA and the Corps agreed to reconsider the 2015 rule and, thereafter, on October 22, 2019, the agencies published a final rule, which became effective on December 31, 2019, rescinding the 2015 rule. On January 23, 2020, the two agencies issued a final rule re-defining the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction over waters of the United States, which redefinition is narrower than found in the 2015 rule. Upon being published in the Federal Register and the passage of 60 days thereafter, the January 23, 2022 final rule will become effective, at which point the United States will be covered under a single regulatory scheme as it relates to federal jurisdictional reach over waters of the United States. However, there remains the expectation that the January 23, 2022 final rule also will be legally challenged in federal district court. To the extent that any challenge to the January 23, 2022 final rule is successful and the 2015 rule or a revised rule expands the scope of the Clean Water Act's jurisdiction in areas where the Company conducts operations, the Company could incur (i) delays, restrictions or prohibitions in the issuance of necessary permits, (ii) restrictions or cessations in the development or expansion of projects, or (iii) increases in the Company's capital expenditures and operating expenses by, for example, requiring installation of new emission controls on some of the Company's equipment, any one or more of which developments could have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, financial condition and results of operations.
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Additionally, the Company's operations are subject to a number of federal and state laws and regulations, including the federal OSHA and comparable state statutes, whose purpose is to protect the health and safety of employees. Among other things, 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 the Company's operations and that this information be provided to employees, state and local government authorities and citizens.
There can be no assurance that existing or future regulations will not result in a delay, curtailment or cessation of production or processing activities, result in a material increase in the costs of production, development, exploration or processing operations or materially and adversely affect the Company's future operations and financial condition. Noncompliance with these laws and regulations may subject the Company to sanctions, including administrative, civil or criminal penalties, remedial cleanups or corrective actions, delays in permitting or performance of projects, natural resource damages and other liabilities. Such laws and regulations may also affect the costs of acquisitions. In addition, these laws and regulations are subject to amendment or replacement in the future with more stringent legal requirements. Further, any delay, reduction or curtailment of the Company's development and producing operations due to these laws and regulations could result in the loss of acreage through lease expiration.
The nature of the Company's assets and production operations may impact the environment or cause environmental contamination, which could result in material liabilities to the Company.
The Company's assets and production operations may give rise to significant environmental costs and liabilities as a result of the Company's handling of petroleum hydrocarbons and wastes, because of air emissions and water discharges related to its operations, and due to past industry operations and waste disposal practices. The Company's oil and gas business involves the generation, handling, treatment, storage, transport and disposal of wastes, hazardous substances and petroleum hydrocarbons and is subject to environmental hazards, such as oil and produced water spills, NGL and gas leaks, pipeline and vessel ruptures and unauthorized discharges of such wastes, substances and hydrocarbons, that could expose the Company to substantial liability due to pollution and other environmental damage. For example, drilling fluids, produced waters and certain other wastes associated with the Company's exploration, development and production of oil or gas are currently excluded under RCRA from the definition of hazardous waste. These wastes are instead regulated under RCRA's less stringent non-hazardous waste provisions. There have been efforts from time to time to remove this exclusion. For example, in response to a federal consent decree issued in 2016, the EPA was required during 2019 to determine whether certain Subtitle D criteria regulations required revision in a manner that could result in oil and gas wastes being regulated as RCRA hazardous waste. In April 2019, the EPA made a determination that such revision of the regulations was unnecessary. Any future loss of the RCRA exclusion could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations and financial position.
The Company currently owns, leases or operates, and in the past has owned, leased or operated, properties that for many years have been used for oil and gas exploration and production activities, and petroleum hydrocarbons, hazardous substances and wastes may have been released on or under such properties, or on or under other locations, including off-site locations, where such substances have been taken for treatment or disposal. These wastes, substances and hydrocarbons may also be released during future operations. In addition, some of the Company's properties have been operated by predecessors or previous owners or operators whose treatment and disposal of hazardous substances, wastes or petroleum hydrocarbons were not under the Company's control. Joint and several strict liabilities may be incurred in connection with such releases of petroleum hydrocarbons, hazardous substances and wastes on, under or from the Company's properties. Private parties, including lessors of properties on which the Company operates and the owners or operators of properties adjacent to the Company's operations and facilities where the Company's petroleum hydrocarbons, hazardous substances or wastes are taken for reclamation or disposal, may also have the right to pursue legal actions to enforce compliance as well as seek damages for noncompliance with environmental laws and regulations or for personal injury or damage to property or natural resources. Such properties and the substances disposed or released on or under them may be subject to CERCLA, RCRA and analogous state laws, which could require the Company to remove previously disposed substances, wastes and petroleum hydrocarbons, remediate contaminated property or perform remedial plugging or pit closure operations to prevent future contamination, the costs of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, financial condition and results of operations.
The Company may not be able to recover some or any of these costs from sources of contractual indemnity or insurance, as pollution and similar environmental risks generally are not insurable or fully insurable, either because such insurance is not available or because of the high premium costs and deductibles associated with obtaining such insurance.
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The Company’s operations are subject to a number of risks arising out of concerns regarding the threat of climate change, including regulatory, political, litigation and financial risks, that could result in increased operating costs and costs of compliance, limit the areas in which oil and gas production may occur, reduce demand for the oil and gas the Company produces, and expose the Company to the risk of increased activism and decreased funding for the industry, while the potential physical effects of climate change could disrupt the Company's production and cause it to incur significant costs in preparing for or responding to those effects.
The threat of climate change continues to attract considerable attention in the United States and in foreign countries. Numerous initiatives have been proposed and are expected to continue to be proposed at the international, national, regional and state levels of government to monitor and limit existing sources of GHG emissions as well as to restrict or eliminate emissions from new sources. As a result, the Company’s operations are subject to a series of regulatory, political, litigation and financial risks associated with the production and processing of fossil fuels and emission of GHGs.
In the United States, no comprehensive climate change legislation has been implemented at the federal level. However, following the U.S. Supreme Court finding that GHG emissions constitute a pollutant under the CAA, the EPA has adopted regulations that, among other things, (i) establish construction and operating permit reviews for GHG emissions from certain large stationary sources, (ii) require the monitoring and annual reporting of GHG emissions from certain petroleum and gas system sources in the United States, (iii) implement CAA emission standards directing the reduction of methane from certain new, modified, or reconstructed facilities in the oil and gas sector, and (iv) together with the DOT, implement GHG emissions limits on vehicles manufactured for operation in the United States. Additionally, various states, groups of states, and other countries have adopted or are considering adopting legislation, regulations or other regulatory initiatives that are focused on such areas as GHG cap and trade programs, carbon taxes, reporting and tracking programs, and restriction of emissions. At the international level, there is a non-binding agreement, the United Nations sponsored "Paris Agreement," for nations to limit their GHG emissions through individually-determined reduction goals every five years after 2020, although the United States has announced its withdrawal from such agreement, effective November 4, 2020.
Governmental, scientific, and public concern over the threat of climate change arising from GHG emissions has resulted in increasing political risks in the United States, including climate change related pledges made by certain candidates seeking the office of the President of the United States in 2020. Critical declarations made by one or more candidates running for President include proposals to ban hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells and ban new leases for production of minerals on federal properties, including onshore lands and offshore waters. Other actions that could be pursued by presidential candidates may include more restrictive requirements for the establishment of pipeline infrastructure or the permitting of LNG export facilities, the reversal of the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement in November 2020 and reinstatement of the ban on oil exports. Litigation risks are also increasing, as a number of cities, local governments or other persons have sought to bring suit against oil and gas exploration and production companies in state or federal court, alleging, among other things, that such companies created public nuisances by producing fuels that contributed to global warming effects, such as rising sea levels, and therefore are responsible for roadway and infrastructure damages, or alleging that the companies have been aware of the adverse effects of climate change for some time but defrauded their investors by failing to adequately disclose those impacts.
There are also financial risks for fossil fuel producers as stockholders or bondholders currently invested in fossil-fuel energy companies concerned about the threat of climate change may elect in the future to shift some or all of their investments into non-fossil fuel energy related sectors. Institutional lenders who provide financing to fossil-fuel energy companies also have become more attentive to sustainable lending practices and some of them may elect not to provide funding for fossil fuel energy companies. Additionally, investing and lending practices of various investment firms and institutional lenders have been the subject of intensive lobbying efforts in recent years, oftentimes public in nature, by environmental activists, proponents of the Paris Agreement, and foreign citizenry concerned about the threat of climate change not to provide funding for fossil fuel producers. For example, there have been efforts in recent years to influence the investment community, including investment advisors and certain sovereign wealth, pension and endowment funds, to divest of fossil fuel equities and lenders to limit funding to companies engaged in the extraction of fossil fuel reserves. Limitation of investments in and financings for fossil fuel energy companies could result in the restriction, delay or cancellation of drilling programs or development or production activities.
The adoption and implementation of new or more stringent international, federal or state regulations or other regulatory initiatives that impose more stringent standards for GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector or otherwise restrict the areas in which this sector may produce oil and gas or generate GHG emissions could result in increased compliance and consumption costs, and thereby reduce demand for the oil and gas the Company produces. Additionally, political, litigation and financial risks could result in the restriction or cancellation of production activities, incurring liability for infrastructure damages as a result of climate changes, or impairing the Company's ability to continue to operate in an economic manner. Finally, if increasing concentrations of GHGs in the Earth's atmosphere were to result in significant physical effects, such as increased
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frequency and severity of storms, floods, droughts and other extreme climatic events, then such effects could have a material adverse effect on the Company's exploration and production operations.
In addition, companies in the oil and gas industry have been the target of activist efforts from both individuals and non-governmental organizations, including instituting litigation and supporting political or regulatory efforts to, among other things, limit or ban hydraulic fracturing, restrict or ban certain operating practices, including the disposal of waste materials, such as hydraulic fracturing fluids and produced water, deny or delay drilling permits, prohibit the venting or flaring of gas, reduce access of the oil and gas industry to federal and state government lands, and delay or cancel oil and gas developmental or expansion projects. The Company may need to incur significant costs associated with responding to these initiatives, and complying with any resulting additional legal or regulatory requirements could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations.
Laws and regulations pertaining to protection of threatened and endangered species or to critical habitat, wetlands and natural resources could delay, restrict or prohibit the Company's operations and cause it to incur substantial costs that may have a material adverse effect on the Company's development and production of reserves.
The federal ESA and comparable state laws were established to protect endangered and threatened species. Under the ESA, if a species is listed as threatened or endangered, restrictions may be imposed on activities adversely affecting that species' habitat. Similar protections are offered to migratory birds under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Oil and gas operations in the Company's operating areas may be adversely affected by seasonal or permanent restrictions imposed on drilling activities by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (the "FWS") that are designed to protect various wildlife, which may materially restrict the Company's access to federal or private land use. Permanent restrictions imposed to protect endangered and threatened species could prohibit drilling in certain areas, impact suppliers of critical materials or services, or require the implementation of expensive mitigation measures. Additionally, federal statutes, including the CWA, the OPA and CERCLA, as well as comparable state laws, prohibit certain actions that adversely affect critical habitat, wetlands and natural resources. If harm to species or damages to wetlands, habitat or natural resources occur or may occur, government entities or, at times, private parties may act to prevent oil and gas exploration or development activities or seek damages for harm to species, habitat or natural resources resulting from drilling, construction or releases of petroleum hydrocarbons, wastes, hazardous substances or other regulated materials, and, in some cases, may seek criminal penalties.
Moreover, the FWS may make determinations with respect to the listing of species as endangered or threatened under the ESA, which may result in more fulsome protections for non-protected or lesser-protected species. The designation of previously unprotected species or the re-designation of under protected species as threatened or endangered in areas where the Company conducts operations could cause the Company to incur increased costs arising from species protection measures or could result in delays, restrictions or prohibitions on its development and production activities that could have a material adverse effect on the Company's ability to develop and produce reserves.
Future price declines could result in a reduction in the carrying value of the Company's proved oil and gas properties, which could materially and adversely affect the Company's results of operations.
Significant or extended price declines could result in the Company having to make downward adjustments to the carrying value of its proved oil and gas properties. The Company performs assessments of its oil and gas properties whenever events or circumstances indicate that the carrying values of those assets may not be recoverable. In order to perform these assessments, management uses various observable and unobservable inputs, including management's outlooks for (i) proved reserves and risk-adjusted probable and possible reserves, (ii) commodity prices, (iii) production costs, (iv) capital expenditures and (v) production. To the extent such tests indicate a reduction of the estimated useful life or estimated future cash flows of the Company's oil and gas properties, the carrying value may not be recoverable and therefore an impairment charge would be required to reduce the carrying value of the proved properties to their fair value. For example, during 2018 and 2017, the Company recorded impairment charges of $77 million and $285 million, respectively, attributable to its Raton Basin field in southeast Colorado, primarily due to declines in commodity prices and downward adjustments to the economically recoverable reserves attributable to the asset. The Company may incur impairment charges in the future, which could materially affect the Company's results of operations in the period incurred. See "Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Results of Operations - Impairment of oil and gas properties and other long-lived assets" and Note 4 of Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in "Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" for additional information.
A portion of the Company's total estimated proved reserves at December 31, 2019 were undeveloped, and those proved reserves may not ultimately be developed.
At December 31, 2019, approximately five percent of the Company's total estimated proved reserves were undeveloped. Recovery of undeveloped proved reserves requires significant capital expenditures and successful drilling. The Company's
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reserve data assumes that the Company can and will make these expenditures and conduct these operations successfully, which assumptions may not prove to be correct. If the Company chooses not to spend the capital to develop these proved undeveloped reserves, or if the Company is not otherwise able to successfully develop these proved undeveloped reserves, the Company will be required to write-off these proved reserves. In addition, under the SEC's rules, because proved undeveloped reserves may be booked only if they relate to wells planned to be drilled within five years of the date of booking, the Company may be required to write-off any proved undeveloped reserves that are not developed within this five-year timeframe. As with all oil and gas leases, the Company's leases require the Company to drill wells that are commercially productive and to maintain the production in paying quantities, and if the Company is unsuccessful in drilling such wells and maintaining such production, the Company could lose its rights under such leases. The Company's future production levels and, therefore, its future cash flow and profitability will be impacted if it does not successfully developing its proved undeveloped leasehold acreage.
Estimates of proved reserves and future net cash flows are not precise. The actual quantities and net cash flows of the Company's proved reserves may prove to be lower than estimated.
Numerous uncertainties exist in estimating quantities of proved reserves and future net cash flows therefrom. The estimates of proved reserves and related future net cash flows set forth in this Report are based on various assumptions, which may ultimately prove to be inaccurate.
Petroleum engineering is a subjective process of estimating underground accumulations of oil and gas that cannot be measured in an exact manner. Estimates of economically recoverable oil and gas reserves and estimates of future net cash flows depend upon a number of variable factors and assumptions, including the following:
historical production from the area compared with production from other producing areas;
the quality and quantity of available data;
the interpretation of that data;
the assumed effects of regulations by governmental agencies;
assumptions concerning future commodity prices; and
assumptions concerning future development costs, operating costs, severance, ad valorem and excise taxes, gathering, processing, transportation and fractionation costs and workover and remedial costs.
Because all proved reserve estimates are to some degree subjective, each of the following items may differ materially from those assumed in estimating proved reserves:
the quantities of oil and gas that are ultimately recovered;
the production costs incurred to recover the reserves;
the amount and timing of future development expenditures; and
future commodity prices.
Furthermore, different reserve engineers may make different estimates of proved reserves and cash flows based on the same available data. The Company's actual production, revenues and expenditures with respect to proved reserves will likely differ from the estimates, and the differences may be material.
As required by the SEC, the estimated discounted future net cash flows from proved reserves are based on average prices preceding the date of the estimate and costs as of the date of the estimate, while actual future prices and costs may be materially higher or lower. Actual future net cash flows also will be affected by factors such as:
the amount and timing of actual production;
the level of future capital spending;
increases or decreases in the supply of or demand for oil, NGL and gas; and
changes in governmental regulations or taxation.
Standardized Measure is a reporting convention that provides a common basis for comparing oil and gas companies subject to the rules and regulations of the SEC. In general, it requires the use of commodity prices that are based upon a historical 12-month unweighted average, as well as operating and development costs being incurred at the end of the reporting period. Consequently, it may not reflect the prices ordinarily received or that will be received for future oil and gas production because of seasonal price fluctuations or other varying market conditions, nor may it reflect the actual costs that will be required to produce or develop the oil and gas properties. Accordingly, estimates included herein of future net cash flows may be materially different from the future net cash flows that are ultimately received. In addition, the ten percent discount factor, which is required by the SEC to be used in calculating discounted future net cash flows for reporting purposes, may not be the most appropriate discount factor based on interest rates in effect from time to time and risks associated with the Company or the
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oil and gas industry in general. Therefore, the estimates of discounted future net cash flows or Standardized Measure in this Report should not be construed as accurate estimates of the current market value of the Company's proved reserves.
The Company periodically evaluates its unproved oil and gas properties to determine recoverability of its cost and could be required to recognize noncash charges in the earnings of future periods.
At December 31, 2019, the Company carried unproved oil and gas property costs of $584 million. GAAP requires periodic evaluation of these costs on a project-by-project basis. These evaluations are affected by the results of exploration activities, commodity price outlooks, planned future sales or expiration of all or a portion of the leases and the contracts and permits appurtenant to such projects. If the quantity of potential reserves determined by such evaluations is not sufficient to fully recover the cost invested in each project, the Company will recognize noncash charges in the earnings of future periods.
Because the Company's proved reserves and production decline continually over time, the Company will need to mitigate these declines through drilling and production enhancement initiatives and/or acquisitions.
Producing oil and gas reservoirs are characterized by declining production rates, which vary depending upon reservoir characteristics and other factors. Because the Company's proved reserves and production decline continually over time as those reserves are produced, the Company will need to mitigate these declines through drilling and production enhancement initiatives and/or acquisitions of additional recoverable reserves. There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to develop, exploit, find or acquire sufficient additional reserves to replace its current or future production.
The Company may be unable to make attractive acquisitions and any acquisition it completes is subject to substantial risks that could materially and adversely affect its business.
Acquisitions of oil and gas properties, including acreage trades, have from time to time contributed to the Company's growth. Acquisition opportunities in the oil and gas industry are very competitive, which can increase the cost of, or cause the Company to refrain from, completing acquisitions. The success of any acquisition will depend on a number of factors and involves potential risks, including, among other things:
the inability to accurately forecast future commodity prices and estimate the costs to develop the acquired reserves, the recoverable volumes of reserves, rates of future production and future net cash flows attainable from the acquired reserves;
the assumption of unknown liabilities, including environmental liabilities, and losses or costs for which the Company is not indemnified or for which the indemnity the Company receives is inadequate;
the validity of assumptions about costs, including synergies;
the effect on the Company's liquidity or financial leverage of using available cash or debt to finance acquisitions;
the diversion of management's attention from other business concerns; and
an inability to hire, train or retain qualified personnel to manage and operate the Company's growing business and assets.
All of these factors affect whether an acquisition will ultimately generate cash flows sufficient to provide a suitable return on investment. Even though the Company performs a review of the properties it seeks to acquire that it believes is consistent with industry practices, such reviews are often limited in scope. As a result, among other risks, the Company's initial estimates of reserves may be subject to revision following an acquisition, which may materially and adversely affect the desired benefits of the acquisition.
The Company's ability to complete dispositions of assets, or interests in assets, may be subject to factors beyond its control, and in certain cases the Company may be required to retain liabilities for certain matters.
From time to time, the Company sells an interest in a strategic asset for the purpose of assisting or accelerating the asset's development. In addition, the Company regularly reviews its property base for the purpose of identifying nonstrategic assets, the disposition of which would increase capital resources available for other activities and create organizational and operational efficiencies. Various factors could materially affect the ability of the Company to dispose of such interests or nonstrategic assets or complete announced dispositions, including the receipt of approvals of governmental agencies or third parties and the availability of purchasers willing to acquire the interests or purchase the nonstrategic assets on terms and at prices acceptable to the Company.
Sellers typically retain certain liabilities or indemnify buyers for certain pre-closing matters, such as matters of litigation, environmental contingencies, royalty obligations and income taxes. The magnitude of any such retained liability or indemnification obligation may be difficult to quantify at the time of the transaction and ultimately may be material. Also, as is typical in divestiture transactions, third parties may be unwilling to release the Company from guarantees or other credit support
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provided prior to the sale of the divested assets. As a result, after a divestiture, the Company may remain secondarily liable for the obligations guaranteed or supported to the extent that the buyer of the assets fails to perform these obligations.
The Company's transportation of gas, sales and purchases of oil, NGLs and gas or other energy commodities, and any derivative activities related to such energy commodities, expose the Company to potential regulatory risks.
The FERC, the FTC and the CFTC hold statutory authority to monitor certain segments of the physical and futures energy commodities markets relevant to the Company's business. These agencies have imposed broad regulations prohibiting fraud and manipulation of such markets. With regard to the Company's transportation of gas in interstate commerce, physical sales and purchases of oil, NGL, gas or other energy commodities, and any derivative activities related to these energy commodities, the Company is required to observe the market-related regulations enforced by these agencies, which hold substantial enforcement authority. Failure to comply with such regulations, as interpreted and enforced, could result in agency actions that could materially and adversely affect the Company's results of operations and financial condition.
The Company's derivative risk management activities could result in financial losses, limit the Company’s potential gains or fail to protect the Company from declines in commodity prices; the Company may not enter into derivative arrangements with respect to future volumes if prices are unattractive.
The Company's strategy is to enter into derivative arrangements covering a portion of its oil, NGL and gas production to mitigate the effect of commodity price volatility on the Company's net cash provided by operating activities and its net asset value, support the Company's annual capital budgeting and expenditure plans and reduce commodity price risk associated with certain capital projects. These derivative arrangements are subject to mark-to-market accounting treatment, and the changes in fair market value of the contracts are reported in the Company's statements of operations each quarter, which may result in significant noncash gains or losses.
While intended to reduce the effects of oil, NGL and gas price volatility, the Company's derivative arrangements may limit the Company's potential gains if prices rise over the price established by such arrangements. Conversely, the Company's derivative arrangements may be inadequate to protect the Company from continuing and prolonged declines in the price of oil, NGL or gas. Global commodity prices are volatile. Such volatility challenges the Company's ability to forecast the price of oil, NGL and gas, and, as a result, it may become more difficult for the Company to manage its derivative arrangements. In trying to manage its exposure to commodity price risk, the Company may end up with too many or too few derivatives, depending upon where commodity prices settle relative to the Company's derivative price thresholds and how the Company’s oil, NGL and gas volumes and production mix fluctuate relative to expectations when the derivatives were entered.
The Company’s derivative arrangements may also expose the Company to risk of financial loss in certain circumstances, including, but not limited to, when:
production is less than the contracted derivative volumes;
the counterparty to the derivative contract defaults on its contract obligations;
there is a change in the expected differential between the underlying price in the derivative contract and actual prices received; or
a sudden, unexpected event materially impacts oil and/or gas prices.
Failure to protect against declines in commodity prices exposes the Company to reduced liquidity when prices decline. A sustained lower commodity price environment would result in lower realized prices for unprotected volumes and reduce the prices at which the Company could enter into derivative contracts on future volumes. This could make such transactions unattractive, and, as a result, some or all of the Company's production volumes forecasted for 2020 and beyond may not be protected by derivative arrangements. In addition, the Company's derivatives arrangements may not achieve their intended strategic purposes.
The failure by counterparties to the Company's derivative risk management activities to perform their obligations could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations.
The use of derivative risk management transactions involves the risk that the counterparties will be unable to meet the financial terms of such transactions. The Company is unable to predict changes in a counterparty's creditworthiness or ability to perform. Even if the Company accurately predicts sudden changes, the Company's ability to negate the risk may be limited depending upon market conditions and the contractual terms of the transactions. During periods of declining commodity prices, the Company's derivative receivable positions generally increase, which increases the Company's counterparty credit exposure. If any of the Company's counterparties were to default on its obligations under the Company's derivative arrangements, such a default could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations, could result in a larger percentage of the
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Company's future production being subject to commodity price changes and could increase the likelihood that the Company's derivative arrangements may not achieve their intended strategic purposes.
The enactment of derivatives legislation could have a material adverse effect on the Company's ability to use derivative instruments to reduce the effect of commodity price, interest rate and other risks associated with its business.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the "Dodd-Frank Act") enacted in July 2010, established federal oversight and regulation of the over-the-counter derivatives market and entities, such as the Company, that participate in that market. The Dodd-Frank Act requires the CFTC and the SEC to promulgate rules and regulations for its implementation. While many Dodd-Frank Act regulations are already in effect, the rulemaking and implementation process is ongoing, and the ultimate effect of the adopted rules and regulations and any future rules and regulations on the Company's business remain uncertain.
In one of the rulemaking proceedings still pending under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFTC issued in December 2016, proposed rules imposing position limits for certain futures and options contracts in various commodities (including oil and gas) and for swaps that are their economic equivalents. Under the proposed rules on position limits, certain types of derivative transactions are exempt from these limits, provided that such derivative transactions satisfy the CFTC's requirements for certain enumerated "bona fide" derivative transactions. The CFTC has also adopted final rules regarding aggregation of positions, under which a party that controls the trading of, or owns ten percent or more of the equity interests in, another party will have to aggregate the positions of the controlled or owned party with its own positions for purposes of determining compliance with position limits unless an exemption applies. The CFTC's aggregation rules are now in effect, although CFTC staff has granted relief until August 12, 2022 from various conditions and requirements in the final aggregation rules. These rules may affect both the size of the positions that the Company may hold and the ability or willingness of counterparties to trade with the Company, potentially increasing the costs of transactions. Moreover, such changes could materially reduce the Company's access to derivative opportunities, which could adversely affect revenues or cash flow during periods of low commodity prices. As the new position limit rules are not yet final, the impact of those provisions on the Company is uncertain at this time.
The CFTC has designated certain interest rate swaps and credit default swaps for mandatory clearing and the associated rules also will require the Company, in connection with covered derivative activities, to comply with clearing and trade-execution requirements or to take steps to qualify for an exemption to such requirements. Although the Company believes it qualifies for the end-user exception from the mandatory clearing requirements for swaps entered to mitigate its commercial risks, the application of the mandatory clearing and trade execution requirements to other market participants, such as swap dealers, may change the cost and availability of the swaps that the Company uses. If the Company's swaps do not qualify for the commercial end-user exception, or if the cost of entering into uncleared swaps becomes prohibitive, the Company may be required to clear such transactions. The ultimate effect of these rules and any additional regulations on the Company's business is uncertain.
In addition, certain banking regulators and the CFTC have adopted final rules establishing minimum margin requirements for uncleared swaps. Although the Company expects to qualify for the end-user exception from margin requirements for swaps entered into to manage its commercial risks, the application of such requirements to other market participants, such as swap dealers, may change the cost and availability of the swaps that the Company uses. If any of the Company's swaps do not qualify for the commercial end-user exception, the posting of collateral could reduce its liquidity and cash available for capital expenditures and could reduce its ability to manage commodity price volatility and the volatility in its cash flows.
The full impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and related regulatory requirements upon the Company's business will not be known until the regulations are fully implemented and the market for derivatives contracts has adjusted. The Dodd-Frank Act and any new regulations could significantly increase the cost of derivative contracts, materially alter the terms of derivative contracts, reduce the availability of derivatives to protect against risks the Company encounters and reduce the Company's ability to monetize or restructure its existing derivative contracts. Further, the Dodd-Frank Act was intended, in part, to reduce the volatility of oil and gas prices, which some legislators attributed to speculative trading in derivatives and commodity instruments related to oil and gas. The Company's revenues could therefore be materially and adversely affected if a consequence of the Dodd-Frank Act and implementing regulations is to lower commodity prices.
The European Union and other non-U.S. jurisdictions are implementing regulations with respect to the derivatives market. To the extent the Company transacts with counterparties in foreign jurisdictions or counterparties with other businesses that subject them to regulations in foreign jurisdictions, the Company may become subject to, or otherwise affected by, such regulations. At this time, the impact of such regulations is not clear.
Regulation by the CFTC and banking regulators of the over-the-counter derivatives market and market participants could cause the Company's contract counterparties, which are generally financial institutions and other market participants, to curtail
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or cease their derivatives activities. The Company believes that these regulatory trends have contributed to a reduction in liquidity of the over-the-counter derivatives market, which could make it more difficult to engage in derivative transactions covering significant volumes of the Company’s future production, and which could materially and adversely affect the cost and availability of derivatives to the Company. If the Company reduces its use of derivatives as a result of such regulation, the Company's results of operations may become more volatile and its cash flows may be less predictable, which could materially and adversely affect the Company's ability to plan for and fund capital expenditures. Any of these consequences could have a material adverse effect on the Company, its financial condition and its results of operations.
The Company is a party to debt instruments, a credit facility and other financial commitments that may restrict its business and financing activities.
The Company is a borrower under fixed rate senior notes and maintains a credit facility that was undrawn as of December 31, 2019. The terms of the Company's borrowings specify scheduled debt repayments and require the Company to comply with certain associated covenants and restrictions. The Company's ability to comply with the debt repayment terms, associated covenants and restrictions is dependent on, among other things, factors outside the Company's direct control, such as commodity prices and interest rates. In addition, from time to time, the Company enters into arrangements and transactions that can give rise to material off-balance sheet obligations, including firm purchase, transportation and fractionation commitments, gathering, processing and transportation commitments on uncertain volumes of future throughput, commitments to purchase minimum volumes of goods and services, operating lease agreements and drilling commitments. The Company's financial commitments could have important consequences to its business including, but not limited to, the following:
the incurrence of charges associated with unused commitments if actual activities do not meet the Company's expectations at the time such commitments are entered into;
increasing its vulnerability to adverse economic and industry conditions;
limiting its flexibility to plan for, or react to, changes in its business and industry;
limiting its ability to fund future development activities or engage in future acquisitions; and
placing it at a competitive disadvantage compared to competitors that have less debt and/or fewer financial commitments.
The Company's ability to obtain additional financing is also affected by the Company's debt credit ratings and competition for available debt financing. A ratings downgrade could materially and adversely impact the Company's ability to access debt markets, increase the borrowing cost under the Company's credit facility and the cost of future debt and potentially require the Company to post letters of credit or other forms of collateral for certain obligations.
The Company's ability to declare and pay dividends and repurchase shares is subject to certain considerations.
Dividends are authorized and determined by the Company's board of directors in its sole discretion. The Company's stock repurchase program has no time limit, may be modified, suspended or terminated at any time by the board of directors, and the repurchase of shares pursuant to the stock repurchase program approved by the board of directors are made from time to time based on management's discretion. Decisions regarding the payment of dividends and the repurchase of shares are subject to a number of considerations, including:
cash available for distribution or repurchases;
the Company's results of operations and anticipated future results of operations;
the Company's financial condition, especially in relation to the anticipated future capital needs;
the level of cash reserves the Company may establish to fund future capital expenditures;
the Company's stock price; and
other factors the board of directors deems relevant.
The Company can provide no assurance that it will continue to pay dividends or authorize share repurchases at the current rate or at all. Any elimination of or downward revision in the Company's dividend payout or stock repurchase program could have a material adverse effect on the market price of the Company's common stock.
The Company's business could be materially and adversely affected by security threats, including cybersecurity threats, and other disruptions.
As an oil and gas producer, the Company faces various security threats, including cybersecurity threats to gain unauthorized access to, or control of, sensitive information or to render data or systems corrupted or unusable; threats to the security of the Company's facilities and infrastructure or third party facilities and infrastructure, such as processing plants and pipelines; and threats from terrorist acts. The potential for such security threats has subjected the Company's operations to increased risks that could have a material adverse effect on the Company's business. In particular, the Company's
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implementation of various procedures and controls to monitor and mitigate security threats and to increase security for the Company's information, facilities and infrastructure may result in increased capital and operating costs. Costs for insurance may also increase as a result of security threats, and some insurance coverage may become more difficult to obtain, if available at all. Moreover, there can be no assurance that such procedures and controls will be sufficient to prevent security breaches from occurring. If any of these security breaches were to occur, they could lead to losses of sensitive information, critical infrastructure or capabilities essential to the Company's operations and could have a material adverse effect on the Company's reputation, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
Cybersecurity attacks in particular are becoming more sophisticated. The Company relies extensively on information technology systems, including internet sites, computer software, data hosting facilities and other hardware and platforms, some of which are hosted by third parties, to assist in conducting its business. The Company's technologies systems and networks, and those of its business associates may become the target of cybersecurity attacks, including without limitation denial-of-service attacks, malicious software, data privacy breaches by employees, insiders or others with authorized access, cyber or phishing-attacks, ransomware, attempts to gain unauthorized access to data and systems, and other electronic security breaches that could lead to disruptions in critical systems and materially and adversely affect the Company in a variety of ways, including the following:

unauthorized access to and release of seismic data, reserves information, strategic information or other sensitive or proprietary information, which could have a material adverse effect on the Company's ability to compete for oil and gas resources;
data corruption, communication interruption or other operational disruptions during drilling activities, which could result in the failure to reach the intended target or a drilling incident;
data corruption or operational disruptions of production infrastructure, which could result in loss of production or accidental discharges;
unauthorized access to and release of personal information of royalty owners, employees and vendors, or the data or confidential information of customers, suppliers or other third parties, which could expose the Company to allegations that it did not sufficiently protect that information;
a cybersecurity attack on a vendor or service provider, which could result in supply chain disruptions and could delay or halt operations;
a cybersecurity attack on third-party gathering, transportation, processing, fractionation, refining or export facilities, which could delay or prevent the Company from transporting and marketing its production, resulting in a loss of revenues;
a cybersecurity attack involving commodities exchanges or financial institutions, which could slow or halt commodities trading, thus preventing the Company from marketing its production or engaging in derivative activities, resulting in a loss of revenues;
a cybersecurity attack on a communications network or power grid, which could cause operational disruptions resulting in the loss of revenues; and
a cybersecurity attack on the Company's automated and surveillance systems, which could cause a loss in production and potential environmental hazards.
These events could damage the Company's reputation and lead to financial losses from remedial actions, loss of business or potential liability. Additionally, certain cyber incidents, such as surveillance, may remain undetected for an extended period of time.
While the Company has experienced cybersecurity attacks in the past, including attempts to gain unauthorized access to data and systems, inadvertent data privacy breaches by employees and phishing-attacks, the Company has not suffered any material losses as a result of such attacks. However, there is no assurance that the Company will not suffer such losses in the future. As cyber threats continue to evolve, the Company may be required to expend significant additional resources to continue to modify or enhance its protective measures or to investigate and remediate any information security vulnerabilities. Additionally, the continuing and evolving threat of cybersecurity attacks has resulted in evolving legal and compliance matters, including increased regulatory focus on prevention, which could require the Company to expend significant additional resources to meet such requirements.
Provisions of the Company's charter documents and Delaware law may inhibit a takeover, which could limit the price investors might be willing to pay in the future for the Company's common stock.
Provisions in the Company's certificate of incorporation and bylaws may have the effect of delaying or preventing an acquisition of the Company or a merger in which the Company is not the surviving company and may otherwise prevent or slow changes in the Company's board of directors and management. In addition, because the Company is incorporated in Delaware, it is governed by the provisions of Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law. These provisions could
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discourage an acquisition of the Company or other change in control transactions and thereby negatively affect the price that investors might be willing to pay in the future for the Company's common stock.
The Company periodically evaluates its goodwill for impairment and could be required to recognize noncash charges in the earnings of future periods.
At December 31, 2019, the Company had a carrying value for goodwill of $261 million. Goodwill is assessed for impairment annually during the third quarter and whenever facts or circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the Company's goodwill may be impaired, which may require an estimate of the fair values of the reporting unit's assets and liabilities. Those assessments may be affected by (i) positive or negative reserve adjustments, (ii) results of drilling activities, (iii) management's outlook for commodity prices and costs and expenses, (iv) changes in the Company's market capitalization, (v) changes in the Company's weighted average cost of capital and (vi) changes in income taxes. If the fair value of the reporting unit's net assets is not sufficient to fully support the goodwill balance in the future, the Company will reduce the carrying value of goodwill for the impaired value, with a corresponding noncash charge to earnings in the period in which goodwill is determined to be impaired.
The Company's hydraulic fracturing and former sand mining operations may result in silica-related health issues and litigation that could have a material adverse effect on the Company.
The inhalation of respirable crystalline silica dust is associated with the lung disease silicosis. There is evidence of an association between crystalline silica exposure or silicosis and lung cancer and a possible association with other diseases, including immune system disorders, such as scleroderma. These health risks have been, and may continue to be, a significant issue confronting the commercial sand industry. The actual or perceived health risks of mining, processing and handling sand could materially and adversely affect the Company through the threat of product liability or personal injury lawsuits, recently adopted OSHA silica regulations and increased scrutiny by federal, state and local regulatory authorities.
Pioneer Sands LLC ("Pioneer Sands"), the Company's wholly-owned subsidiary that conducted sand mining operations, is named as a defendant, usually among many defendants, in numerous products liability lawsuits brought by or on behalf of current or former employees of Pioneer Sands or its commercial customers alleging damages caused by silica exposure. As of December 31, 2019, Pioneer Sands was the subject of silica exposure claims from two plaintiffs. Almost all of the claims pending against Pioneer Sands arise out of the alleged use of Pioneer Sands' sand products in foundries or as an abrasive blast media and have been filed in the states of Texas and Georgia, although some cases have been brought in other jurisdictions over the years.
It is possible that Pioneer Sands will have additional silica-related claims filed against it, including claims that allege silica exposure for periods for which there is not insurance coverage. In addition, it is possible that similar claims could be asserted arising out of the Company's other operations, including its hydraulic fracturing operations. Any pending or future claims or inadequacies of insurance coverage or contractual indemnification could have a material adverse effect on the Company's results of operations.
ITEM 1B. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS
None. 

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ITEM 2. PROPERTIES
Reserve Estimation Procedures and Audits
The information included in this Report about the Company's proved reserves as of December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017 is based on evaluations prepared by the Company's engineers and audited by Netherland, Sewell & Associates, Inc. ("NSAI"). The Company has no oil and gas reserves from non-traditional sources. Additionally, the Company does not provide optional disclosure of probable or possible reserves.
Reserve estimation procedures. The Company has established internal controls over reserve estimation processes and procedures to support the accurate and timely preparation and disclosure of reserve estimates in accordance with SEC requirements. These controls include oversight of the reserves estimation reporting processes by Pioneer's Corporate Reserves Group ("Corporate Reserves"), and annual external audits of substantial portions of the Company's proved reserves by NSAI.
Corporate Reserves is responsible for the management of the oil and gas proved reserve estimation processes. Corporate Reserves is staffed with reservoir engineers and geoscientists who prepare reserve estimates at the end of each calendar quarter, using reservoir engineering information technology. There is oversight of the reservoir engineers by the Director of Corporate Reserves who is in turn subject to direct oversight by the Company's management committee ("MC"). The Company's MC is comprised of its Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and other executive officers. The reserve estimates are prepared by reservoir engineers before being submitted to the Director of Corporate Reserves for further review.
The reserve estimates are summarized in reserve reconciliations that quantify reserve changes since the previous year end as revisions of previous estimates, purchases of minerals-in-place, improved recovery, extensions and discoveries, production and sales of minerals-in-place. All reserve estimates, material assumptions and inputs used in reserve estimates and significant changes in reserve estimates are reviewed for engineering and financial appropriateness and compliance with SEC and GAAP standards by Corporate Reserves, in consultation with the Company's accounting and financial management personnel. Annually, the MC reviews the reserve estimates and any differences with the reserve auditors (for the portion of the reserves audited by NSAI) on a consolidated basis before these estimates are approved. The engineers and geoscientists who participate in the reserve estimation and disclosure process periodically attend training provided by external consultants and through internal Pioneer programs. Additionally, Corporate Reserves has prepared and maintains written policies and guidelines for its staff to reference on reserve estimation and preparation to promote consistency in the preparation of the Company's reserve estimates and compliance with the SEC reserve estimation and reporting rules.
Proved reserves audits. The proved reserve audits performed by NSAI for 2019, 2018 and 2017, in the aggregate, represented 83 percent, 79 percent and 77 percent of the Company's year-end 2019, 2018 and 2017 proved reserves, respectively; and 99 percent, 95 percent and 91 percent of the Company's year-end 2019, 2018 and 2017 associated pre-tax present value of proved reserves discounted at ten percent, respectively.
NSAI follows the general principles set forth in the "Standards Pertaining to the Estimating and Auditing of Oil and Gas Reserve Information" promulgated by the Society of Petroleum Engineers (the "SPE"). A reserve audit as defined by the SPE is not the same as a financial audit. The SPE's definition of a reserve audit includes the following concepts:
A reserve audit is an examination of reserve information that is conducted for the purpose of expressing an opinion as to whether such reserve information, in the aggregate, is reasonable and has been presented in conformity with the 2007 SPE publication entitled "Standards Pertaining to the Estimating and Auditing of Oil and Gas Reserves Information."
The estimation of reserves is an imprecise science due to the many unknown geologic and reservoir factors that cannot be estimated through sampling techniques. Since reserves are only estimates, they cannot be audited for the purpose of verifying exactness. Instead, reserve information is audited for the purpose of reviewing in sufficient detail the policies, procedures and methods used by a company in estimating its reserves so that the reserve auditors may express an opinion as to whether, in the aggregate, the reserve information furnished by a company is reasonable.
The methods and procedures used by a company, and the reserve information furnished by a company, must be reviewed in sufficient detail to permit the reserve auditor, in their professional judgment, to express an opinion as to the reasonableness of the reserve information. The auditing procedures require the reserve auditor to prepare their own estimates of reserve information for the audited properties.
In conjunction with the audit of the Company's proved reserves and associated pre-tax present value discounted at ten percent, Pioneer provided to NSAI its external and internal engineering and geoscience technical data and analyses. Following
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NSAI's review of that data, it had the option of honoring Pioneer's interpretations, or making its own interpretations. No data was withheld from NSAI. NSAI accepted without independent verification the accuracy and completeness of the historical information and data furnished by Pioneer with respect to ownership interest, oil and gas production, well test data, commodity prices, operating and development costs, and any agreements relating to current and future operations of the properties and sales of production. However, if in the course of its evaluations something came to its attention that brought into question the validity or sufficiency of any such information or data, NSAI did not rely on such information or data until it had satisfactorily resolved its questions relating thereto or had independently verified such information or data.
In the course of its evaluations, NSAI prepared, for all of the audited properties, its own estimates of the Company's proved reserves and the pre-tax present values of such reserves discounted at ten percent. NSAI reviewed its audit differences with the Company, and, in a number of cases, held meetings with the Company to review additional reserves work performed by the Company's technical teams and any updated performance data related to the proved reserve differences. Such data was incorporated, as appropriate, by both parties into the proved reserve estimates. NSAI's estimates, including any adjustments resulting from additional data, of those proved reserves and the pre-tax present value of such reserves discounted at ten percent did not differ from Pioneer's estimates by more than ten percent in the aggregate. However, when compared on a lease-by-lease, field-by-field or area-by-area basis, some of the Company's estimates were greater than those of the reserve auditors and some were less than the estimates of the reserve auditors. When such differences do not exceed ten percent in the aggregate and NSAI is satisfied that the proved reserves and pre-tax present values of such reserves discounted at ten percent are reasonable and that its audit objectives have been met, NSAI will issue an unqualified audit opinion. Remaining differences are not resolved due to the limited cost benefit of continuing such analyses by the Company and the reserve auditors. At the conclusion of the audit process, it was NSAI's opinion, as set forth in its audit letter, which is included as an exhibit to this Report, that Pioneer's estimates of the Company's proved oil and gas reserves and associated pre-tax present values discounted at ten percent are, in the aggregate, reasonable and have been prepared in accordance with the "Standards Pertaining to the Estimating and Auditing of Oil and Gas Reserves Information."
Qualifications of proved reserves preparers and auditors. Corporate Reserves is staffed by petroleum engineers with extensive industry experience and is managed by the Director of Corporate Reserves, the technical person who is primarily responsible for overseeing the Company's reserves estimates. These individuals meet the professional qualifications of reserves estimators and reserves auditors as defined by the "Standards Pertaining to the Estimating and Auditing of Oil and Gas Reserves Information." The qualifications of the Director of Corporate Reserves include 40 years of international and domestic experience as a petroleum engineer, with 22 years focused on reserves reporting for independent oil and gas companies, including Pioneer. He has an additional 18 years of Permian Basin-focused production engineering, advanced reservoir engineering, petrophysics, consulting and special project research experience with major oil companies. His educational background includes an undergraduate degree in Geological Engineering with a Petroleum Engineering emphasis.
NSAI provides worldwide petroleum property analysis services for energy clients, financial organizations and government agencies. NSAI was founded in 1961 and performs consulting petroleum engineering services under Texas Board of Professional Engineers Registration No. F-2699. The technical person primarily responsible for auditing the Company's reserves estimates has been a practicing consulting petroleum engineer at NSAI since 1983 and has over 40 years of practical experience in petroleum engineering, including over 37 years of experience in the estimation and evaluation of proved reserves. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering in 1978 and meets or exceeds the education, training and experience requirements set forth in the "Standards Pertaining to the Estimating and Auditing of Oil and Gas Reserves Information."
Technologies used in proved reserves estimates. Proved undeveloped reserves include those 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 completion. Undeveloped reserves may be classified as proved reserves on undrilled acreage directly offsetting development areas that are reasonably certain of production when drilled, or where reliable technology provides reasonable certainty of economic producibility. Undrilled locations may be classified as having undeveloped proved reserves only if an ability and intent has been established to drill the reserves within five years, unless specific circumstances justify a longer time period.
In the context of reserves estimations, reasonable certainty means a high degree of confidence that the quantities will be recovered and reliable technology means a grouping of one or more technologies (including computational methods) that has been field-tested and has been demonstrated to provide reasonable certainty that the results will be consistent and repeatable in the formation being evaluated or in an analogous formation. In estimating proved reserves, the Company uses several different traditional methods such as performance-based methods, volumetric-based methods and analogy with similar properties. In addition, the Company utilizes additional technical analysis such as seismic interpretation, wireline formation tests, geophysical logs and core data to provide incremental support for more complex reservoirs. Information from this incremental support is combined with the traditional technologies outlined above to enhance the certainty of the Company's proved reserve estimates.
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Proved Reserves
Oil and gas proved reserves, located entirely in the United States, are as follows:
 Summary of Oil and Gas Proved Reserves as of Fiscal Year-End
Based on Average Fiscal-Year Prices
Proved Reserve Volumes
 Oil
(MBbls)
NGLs
(MBbls)
Gas
(MMcf) (a)
Total (MBOE)%
As of December 31, 2019:
Developed571,293  268,468  1,429,417  1,077,997  95 %
Undeveloped32,457  13,515  70,096  57,655  %
Total proved reserves603,750  281,983  1,499,513  1,135,652  100 %
As of December 31, 2018:
Developed521,579  219,730  1,330,852  963,118  92 %
Undeveloped43,431  21,184  127,722  85,902  %
Total proved reserves565,010  240,914  1,458,574  1,049,020  100 %
As of December 31, 2017:
Developed442,364  189,434  1,629,451  903,373  92 %
Undeveloped40,525  21,063  122,429  81,993  %
Total proved reserves 482,889  210,497  1,751,880  985,366  100 %
 _____________________
(a)Total proved gas reserves include 100,236 MMcf, 106,948 MMcf and 171,623 MMcf of gas the Company expected to be produced and used as field fuel (primarily for compressors) as of December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.
The Company's Standardized Measure of total proved reserves are as follows:
 As of December 31,
 201920182017
 (in millions)
Proved developed reserves$7,588  $10,694  $7,708  
Proved undeveloped reserves2,146  639  443  
$9,734  $11,333  $8,151  
See "Unaudited Supplementary Information" included in "Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" for additional information.
Description of Properties
Development drilling activity by significant area is as follows:
Year Ended December 31, 2021
Permian Basin  Total Company  
Beginning wells in progress16  16  
Wells spud15  15  
Less:
Successful wells26  26  
Ending wells in progress  

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Exploration/extension drilling activity by significant asset area is as follows:
Year Ended December 31, 2021
Permian Basin  Total Company  
Beginning wells in progress163  166  
Wells spud352  352  
Less:
Successful wells280  280  
Unsuccessful wells  
Wells sold —   
Ending wells in progress234  234  
Average daily oil, NGLs, gas and total production by significant asset area are as follows:
Year Ended December 31, 2021
Permian Basin  Total Company  
Oil (Bbls)211,104  212,353  
NGL (Bbls)71,123  72,323  
Gas (Mcf) (a)353,007  365,055  
Total (BOE)341,062  345,518  
_____________________
(a)Gas production excludes gas produced and used as field fuel.
Costs incurred by significant asset area are as follows:
Year Ended December 31, 2021
Permian Basin  Total Company  
 (in millions)
Property acquisition costs:
Proved$ $ 
Unproved26  26  
Exploration costs2,185  2,190  
Development costs667  667  
Asset retirement obligations85  85  
$2,965  $2,970  
Permian Basin. With approximately 765,000 gross acres (680,000 net acres), Pioneer is the largest acreage holder in the Spraberry/Wolfcamp field, which the U.S. Geological Survey ("USGS") estimates is the largest continuous oil field in the United States. Pioneer's interests in the northern portion of the play comprise approximately 565,000 gross acres and its interests in the southern portion of the play, where the Company has a joint venture with Sinochem, comprise approximately 200,000 gross acres. The oil produced from the Spraberry/Wolfcamp field is West Texas Intermediate Sweet, and the gas produced is casinghead gas with an average energy content of 1,400 Btu. The oil and gas are produced primarily from six formations, the Spraberry, the Jo Mill, the Dean, the Wolfcamp, the Strawn and the Atoka, at depths ranging from 7,500 feet to 14,000 feet. The Company believes that it has significant resource potential within its Spraberry, Jo Mill and Wolfcamp formation acreage, based on its extensive geologic data covering the Middle Spraberry, Jo Mill and Lower Spraberry intervals and the Wolfcamp A, B, C and D intervals and its drilling results to date.
During 2019, the Company successfully completed 229 horizontal wells in the northern portion of the play and 77 horizontal wells in the southern portion of the play. In the northern portion of the play, approximately 45 percent of the horizontal wells placed on production were Wolfcamp A interval wells, approximately 40 percent were Wolfcamp B interval wells and approximately 15 percent were Spraberry and Wolfcamp D interval wells. The majority of the wells placed on production in the southern portion of the play were Wolfcamp B interval wells. In addition, the Company continues to complete acreage trades that allow the Company to drill wells with longer laterals, improving the expected returns of the wells. The Company estimates that the acreage trades completed in 2019 added approximately 4.5 million lateral feet to the Company's drilling inventory.
The Company plans to operate an average of 23 to 24 rigs in the Spraberry/Wolfcamp field in 2020, which includes an average of five rigs operating in the southern portion of the play. During 2020, the Company expects approximately 40 percent
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of its planned horizontal wells to be drilled in the Wolfcamp B interval, 40 percent in the Wolfcamp A interval and the remaining 20 percent will be a combination of wells in the Spraberry intervals and a limited appraisal program for the Wolfcamp D interval.
Selected Oil and Gas Information
Production, price and cost data. The price that the Company receives for the oil and gas it produces is largely a function of market supply and demand. Demand is affected by general economic conditions, weather and other seasonal conditions, including hurricanes and tropical storms. Over or under supply of oil or gas can result in substantial price volatility. Historically, commodity prices have been volatile and the Company expects that volatility to continue in the future. A decline in oil, NGL and gas prices or poor drilling results could have a material adverse effect on the Company's financial position, results of operations, cash flows, quantities of oil and gas reserves that may be economically produced and the Company's ability to access the capital markets.
The following tables set forth production, price and cost data with respect to the Company's properties. These amounts represent the Company's historical results of operations without making pro forma adjustments for any acquisitions, divestitures or drilling activity that occurred during the respective years. The production amounts will not match the proved reserve volume tables in the "Unaudited Supplementary Information" section included in "Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data" because field fuel volumes are included in the proved reserve volume tables. Because of normal production declines, increased or decreased drilling activities and the effects of acquisitions or divestitures, the historical information presented below should not be interpreted as being indicative of future results.
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PRODUCTION, PRICE AND COST DATA
 Year Ended December 31, 2021
 Permian BasinTotal Company
Annual sales volumes:
Oil (MBbls)77,053  77,509  
NGLs (MBbls)25,960  26,398  
Gas (MMcf)128,848  133,245  
Total (MBOE)124,488  126,114  
Average daily sales volumes:
Oil (Bbls)211,104  212,353  
NGLs (Bbls)71,123  72,323  
Gas (Mcf)353,007  365,055  
Total (BOE)341,062  345,518  
Average prices:
Oil (per Bbl)$53.77  $53.77  
NGL (per Bbl)$19.36  $19.33  
Gas (per Mcf)$1.75  $1.79  
Revenue (per BOE)$39.13  $38.98  
Average costs (per BOE):
Production costs:
Lease operating$4.52  $4.57  
Gathering, processing and transportation2.19  2.24  
Net natural gas plant/gathering(0.60) (0.59) 
Workover0.72  0.71  
Total$6.83  $6.93  
Production and ad valorem taxes:
Ad valorem$0.62  $0.63  
Production1.76  1.75  
Total$2.38  $2.38  
Depletion expense$12.85  $12.78  


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PRODUCTION, PRICE AND COST DATA - (continued)
 Year Ended December 31, 2021
 Permian BasinTotal Company
Annual sales volumes:
Oil (MBbls)66,212  69,583  
NGLs (MBbls)19,878  23,280  
Gas (MMcf)102,934  143,588  
Total (MBOE)103,245  116,794  
Average daily sales volumes:
Oil (Bbls)181,402  190,639  
NGLs (Bbls)54,459  63,780  
Gas (Mcf)282,010  393,391  
Total (BOE)282,862  319,984  
Average prices:
Oil (per Bbl)$57.13  $57.36  
NGL (per Bbl)$30.32  $29.84  
Gas (per Mcf)$1.90  $2.13  
Revenue (per BOE)$44.37  $42.73  
Average costs (per BOE):
Production costs:
Lease operating$4.27  $4.29  
Gathering, processing and transportation2.21  2.52  
Net natural gas plant/gathering(0.67) (0.41) 
Workover1.01  0.92  
Total$6.82  $7.32  
Production and ad valorem taxes:
Ad valorem$0.59  $0.60  
Production1.94  1.83  
Total$2.53  $2.43  
Depletion expense$13.42  $12.52  

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PRODUCTION, PRICE AND COST DATA - (continued)
 Year Ended December 31, 2021
 Permian BasinTotal Company
Annual sales volumes:
Oil (MBbls)53,889  57,878  
NGLs (MBbls)16,096  20,078  
Gas (MMcf)71,140  128,665  
Total (MBOE)81,842  99,401  
Average daily sales volumes:
Oil (Bbls)147,641  158,571  
NGLs (Bbls)44,099  55,008  
Gas (Mcf)194,904  352,507  
Total (BOE)224,224  272,330  
Average prices:
Oil (per Bbl)$48.32  $48.24  
NGL (per Bbl)$18.69  $19.31  
Gas (per Mcf)$2.45  $2.63  
Revenue (per BOE)$37.62  $35.39  
Average costs (per BOE):
Production costs:
Lease operating$4.36  $4.58  
Gathering, processing and transportation0.19  0.85  
Net natural gas plant/gathering(0.63) (0.28) 
Workover0.87  0.80  
Total$4.79  $5.95  
Production and ad valorem taxes:
Ad valorem$0.58  $0.57  
Production1.81  1.59  
Total$2.39  $2.16  
Depletion expense$15.34  $13.61  

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Productive wells. Productive wells consist of producing wells and wells capable of production, including oil wells awaiting connection to production facilities, gas wells awaiting pipeline connections to commence deliveries and shut-in wells. One or more completions in the same well bore are counted as one well. Any well in which one of the multiple completions is an oil completion is classified as an oil well.
Productive oil and gas wells attributable to the Company's properties are as follows:
As of December 31, 2021
Gross Productive WellsNet Productive Wells
OilGasTotalOilGasTotal
6,677  16  6,693  5,952   5,961  

Developed, undeveloped and royalty leasehold acreage is as follows:
As of December 31, 2021
Developed AcreageUndeveloped AcreageRoyalty Acreage
Gross AcresNet AcresGross AcresNet Acres
751,929  667,237  30,467  24,761  98,090  

The expiration dates of the leases attributable to gross and net undeveloped acres are as follows:
As of December 31, 2021
 Acres Expiring (a)
 GrossNet
202017,887  15,484  
20211,667  812  
20223,537  2,108  
2023445  445  
2024—  —  
Thereafter6,931  5,912  
30,467  24,761  
 _____________________
(a)Acres expiring are based on contractual lease maturities.
Of the 16,296 net acres expiring in 2020 and 2021, 16,135 net acres are concentrated in the Permian Basin in West Texas, where the Company has an active drilling program and ongoing efforts to extend leases that may not be drilled prior to expiration. Approximately 13,000 of the net acres expiring in 2020 are subject to continuous drilling obligations, which the Company expects to meet with its active drilling program. The Company currently has no proved undeveloped reserve locations scheduled to be drilled after lease expiration. The remaining 161 net acres expiring in 2020 and 2021 are concentrated in eastern Colorado. The Company has no drilling plans for this acreage and does not have any undeveloped acreage costs recorded as of December 31, 2019 associated with this acreage.

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Drilling activities. The following table sets forth the number of gross and net wells drilled by the Company that were productive or dry holes. This information should not be considered indicative of future performance, nor should it be assumed that there was any correlation between the number of productive wells drilled and the oil and gas reserves generated thereby or the costs to the Company of productive wells compared to the costs of dry holes.
 Gross WellsNet Wells
 Year Ended December 31,Year Ended December 31,
 201920182017201920182017
Productive wells:
Development26  35  26  20  23  20  
Exploratory280  251  222  249  226  198  
Dry holes:
Development—