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Audit Committee Charter




I      Purpose

The Board of Directors (the "Board") of Pioneer Natural Resources Company (the "Company") has established the Audit Committee (the "Committee") of the Board. The purpose of the Committee is to assist the Board with its responsibilities relating to:

  1. overseeing the integrity of the Company's financial statements,

  2. overseeing the Company's accounting, disclosure and financial reporting processes and its accounting policies and practices,

  3. overseeing the Company's compliance with legal and regulatory requirements,

  4. overseeing the independent auditor's qualifications and independence,

  5. overseeing the performance of the Company's internal audit function and internal auditors,

  6. overseeing the performance of the Company's systems of internal controls,

  7. reviewing and appraising the audit efforts of the Company's independent auditors and internal auditors and, where appropriate, replacing the independent auditors or internal auditors,

  8. providing an open avenue of communication among the independent auditors, financial and senior management, the internal auditors, and the Board, and

  9. preparing annually the report that the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") rules require be included in the proxy statement relating to the Company's annual meeting of stockholders.

The Committee will primarily fulfill these responsibilities by carrying out the activities enumerated in Section V of this Charter and will perform such other functions as the Board may assign from time to time.

Management is responsible for the preparation, presentation and integrity of the Company's financial statements, accounting and financial reporting principles, and internal controls and procedures designed to assure compliance with accounting standards and applicable laws and regulations. While the Committee has the responsibilities and powers set forth in this Charter and management and the independent auditors for the Company are accountable to the Committee, it is not the duty of the Committee to plan or conduct audits or to determine that the Company’s financial statements are complete and accurate and are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). This is the responsibility of management.

II      Composition

The Committee shall be comprised of three or more directors, all of whom are members of the Board. Each member shall be “independent” as defined from time to time by the listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and by applicable regulations of the SEC and shall meet any other applicable independence requirements. Accordingly, the Board shall determine annually whether each member is free from any relationship that may interfere with his or her independence from management and the Company.

Unless the Board designates a chairperson of the Committee, the members of the Committee may designate a chairperson by majority vote of the full Committee membership. He or she shall be responsible for leadership of the Committee, including presiding over the meetings and reporting to the Board. The Board may remove or replace the chairperson or any other member of the Committee at any time.

No member shall serve on the audit committee of more than two other public companies unless the Board determines that such simultaneous service would not impair the ability of such director to effectively serve on the Committee.

Each member shall be (or shall become within a reasonable time after appointment) financially literate, as such qualification is interpreted by the Board in its business judgment, and at least one member shall be a “financial expert” as defined from time to time by applicable regulations of the SEC. Members of the Committee may enhance their familiarity with finance and accounting principles by participating in educational programs that the Company or an outside consultant or organization conducts. The members of the Committee need not be professionally engaged in the practice of auditing or accounting and need not be experts in auditor independence standards or legal or regulatory matters.

III      Meetings and Procedures

The Committee shall meet at least four times per year and as many additional times, including in executive session, as the members deem necessary. As a part of its effort to foster open communications, the Committee should meet at least annually with management, the internal auditors and the independent auditors in separate executive sessions to discuss any matters that the Committee or each of these groups believe should be discussed privately. Reference in this Charter to the internal auditors shall include one or more employees of the Company designated as having primary responsibility for the Company's internal audit function or, where no such person has been designated, the auditors engaged by contract for such purposes.

Meetings may, at the discretion of the Committee, include other directors, members of the Company’s management, independent consultants or advisors, or such other persons as the Committee or its chairperson may determine.

The Chief Financial Officer or such other officer as may from time to time be designated by the Committee shall act as management liaison to the Committee and shall work with the Committee chairperson to prepare an agenda for regularly scheduled meetings. The Committee chairperson will make the final decision regarding the agenda for regularly scheduled meetings and shall develop the agenda for special meetings based on the information supplied by the persons requesting the special meeting.

The agenda and all materials to be reviewed at the meetings should be received by the Committee members as far in advance of the meeting day as practicable.

The Committee shall make regular reports to the Board about its activities and decisions, which may be made through the chairperson.

Each year the Committee shall review the need for changes in this Charter and recommend any proposed changes to the Board for approval.

Each year the Committee shall review and evaluate its own performance and shall review such evaluation with the Board.

Except as expressly provided in this Charter, the certificate of incorporation or bylaws of the Company, or the Governance Guidelines of the Company, the Committee may determine additional rules and procedures to govern it or any of its subcommittees, including designation of a chairperson pro tempore in the absence of the chairperson and designation of a secretary of the Committee or any meeting thereof.

IV      Accountability of the Independent Auditors

The independent auditors are accountable and shall report directly to the Committee. The Committee shall have the sole authority and responsibility with respect to the selection, appointment, engagement, compensation, oversight, evaluation, retention and, where appropriate, dismissal of the Company’s independent auditors. The Committee, or a member thereof with designated authority, must pre-approve any services provided to the Company by the independent auditors.

V      Authority and Responsibilities

The Committee is delegated all authority of the Board as may be required or advisable to fulfill the purposes of the Committee. The Committee may form and delegate some or all of its authority to subcommittees when it deems appropriate. The Committee shall have the authority to retain professional advisors including, without limitation, special legal counsel, accounting experts or other consultants to advise the Committee, which may be the same as or different from the Company's primary legal counsel, accounting experts and other consultants as the Committee deems necessary or advisable in connection with the exercise of its powers and responsibilities as set forth in this Charter, all on such terms as the Committee deems necessary and advisable. The Committee may require any officer or employee of the Company or any of its subsidiaries, the Company's outside legal counsel and the Company's external auditors to attend a meeting of the Committee or to meet with any member of or consultant to the Committee.

The Committee shall be responsible for the resolution of any disagreements between the independent auditors and management regarding the Company’s financial reporting.

The Company shall provide for appropriate funding, as determined by the Committee, for payment of compensation to the independent auditors employed by the Company for the purpose of rendering or issuing an audit report and to any special legal counsel, accounting experts or other consultants employed by the Committee.

Without limiting the generality of the foregoing statements, the Committee shall have authority, including budgetary and fiscal authority, and is entrusted with the responsibility to perform the following actions:

1. Independent and Internal Auditors
  • Annually select and engage the Company's independent auditors retained to audit the financial statements of the Company with such selection to be submitted to the stockholders for ratification, if the Board so chooses.

  • Review and evaluate the performance of the independent auditors, including the lead partner, and present the Committee's conclusions to the Board; and approve any proposed discharge of the independent auditors when the Committee determines that circumstances warrant the discharge.

  • Review the plan, scope and related fee estimates of the independent auditors’ auditing services (including comfort letters) and non-audit services, and pre-approve such services to the extent required under this charter or applicable legal, regulatory or NYSE requirements.

  • Ensure that the lead audit partner and reviewing audit partner of the Company's independent auditors are rotated at least as frequently as required by law.

  • Set clear hiring policies for employees or former employees of the Company's independent auditors, as required by applicable law and regulation.

  • In order to assess the auditors' independence, at least annually obtain and review a report from the independent auditors regarding all relationships between the independent auditors and the Company.

  • Review and approve the appointment, termination or replacement by management of one or more employees having primary responsibility for the Company's internal audit function or, at the discretion of the Committee, select and contract with outside auditors to perform the internal audit function.

  • Approve the scope of the duties and oversee the activities of the internal auditors, who shall report directly to the Committee.

  • Review and evaluate the performance of the internal auditors.
2. Review
  • Periodically obtain and review reports from the independent auditors that include (i) all critical accounting policies and practices used, (ii) all alternative treatments of financial information within GAAP that have been discussed with management, their ramifications, and the preferences of the independent auditors, and (iii) other material written communications between the independent auditors and management.

  • Review with management and the independent auditors the Company's quarterly or annual financial information including matters required to be reviewed under applicable legal, regulatory or NYSE requirements prior to the filing of the Company's Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q or Annual Report on Form 10-K, as the case may be, or prior to the release of earnings.

  • Discuss generally with financial management the types of financial information to be disclosed in the Company's earnings releases, including the use of "pro forma" or "adjusted" non-GAAP financial measures, as well as the types of financial information and earnings guidance, if any, provided to the public or rating agencies.

  • Review and discuss with management and the independent auditors the disclosures made in management's discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations in any of the Company's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Annual Reports on Form 10-K.

  • Upon completion of any annual audit, meet with the independent auditors and management and review the Company's financial statements and related notes, the results of their audit, any report or opinion rendered in connection therewith, any significant difficulties encountered during the course of the audit, including any restrictions on the scope of work or access to required information, any significant disagreements with management concerning accounting or disclosure matters and any significant adjustment proposed by the independent auditors.

  • Regularly review with the Company's independent auditors any audit problems or difficulties and management's response.

  • Review and consider with the independent auditors and management the matters required to be discussed by Statement of Auditing Standards No. 61 (Communication with Audit Committees).

  • Make recommendation to the Board as to the inclusion of the Company's audited financial statements in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K.

  • Review any disclosures provided by the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer or the Chief Accounting Officer to the Committee regarding significant deficiencies and material weaknesses in the design or operation of internal controls which could adversely affect the Company's ability to record, process, summarize and report financial data, and review any special audit steps adopted in light of any such control deficiencies or weaknesses.

  • At least annually, obtain and review a report by the independent auditors describing the firm's internal quality-control procedures; any material issues raised by the most recent internal quality-control review, or peer review, of the firm, or by any inquiry or investigation by governmental or professional authorities, within the preceding five years, respecting one or more independent audits carried out by the firm, and any steps taken to deal with any such issues.

  • Periodically meet and review with the internal auditors their regular internal reports to management and the progress of activities and any findings of major significance stemming from internal audits.

  • Review the effect of regulatory and accounting initiatives, as well as off-balance sheet structures, on the Company's financial statements.

  • Review any analyses prepared by management and/or the independent auditors setting forth significant financial reporting issues and judgments made in connection with the preparation of the financial statements, including analyses of the effects of alternative GAAP methods on the financial statements.
3. Financial Reporting Processes
  • Periodically discuss separately with management, the independent auditors and the internal auditors, as appropriate, the adequacy and integrity of the Company's accounting policies and procedures and internal accounting controls, the completeness and accuracy of the Company's financial disclosures and the extent to which major recommendations made by the independent auditors or the internal auditors have been implemented or resolved.

  • Consider and approve, if appropriate, significant changes in the Company's selection and application of auditing and accounting principles and practices, if and as suggested by the independent auditors, management, or the internal auditors.
4. Process Improvement
  • Establish regular systems of reporting to the Committee regarding any significant judgments made in management's preparation of the financial statements and, when appropriate, discuss the view of management and the independent auditors as to the appropriateness of such judgments.

  • Discuss with management and the internal auditors policies with respect to risk assessment and risk management.

  • Regularly apprise the Board of significant developments in the course of performing these duties.
5. Ethical and Legal Compliance
  • Establish procedures for the receipt, retention and treatment of complaints received regarding accounting, internal accounting controls and auditing matters and for the confidential, anonymous submission by employees of concerns regarding questionable accounting or auditing matters.

  • Review any disclosures provided by the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Accounting Officer, the General Counsel or the Chief Compliance Officer to the Committee regarding any fraud, including that which involves management or other employees who have a significant role in the Company's internal controls.

  • Where appropriate and at its discretion, investigate or direct or delegate the investigation of any matter brought to its attention by, without limitation, reviewing the books and records of the Company and interviewing Company officers or employees.

  • Review management's monitoring of the Company's compliance programs and other systems in place designed to ensure that the Company's financial statements, reports and other financial information disseminated to governmental organizations and the public satisfy applicable legal, regulatory or NYSE requirements.

  • Review with the Company's General Counsel or other in-house or outside legal counsel any legal matter that could have a significant effect on the Company's financial statements, including pending litigation and other areas of oversight to the legal and compliance area as may be appropriate.

  • Review with management and, when necessary, the independent auditors, the Company's policies and procedures with respect to maintaining books, records and accounts and a system of internal accounting controls in accordance with Section 13(b)(2) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
6. Form 8-K
  • Review with management, if management is considering whether a material charge for impairment to the Company’s assets is required by GAAP and such a determination would require that the Company file a Current Report under Item 2.06 of Form 8-K promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the facts and circumstances supporting the relevant analysis, which review shall be conducted before management concludes that such a material charge is required.

  • Consider and conclude, for purposes of Item 4.02 of Form 8-K promulgated under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, whether any previously issued financial statements should no longer be relied upon.
7. General
  • Perform any other activities consistent with this Charter, the Company's Certificate of Incorporation and Bylaws, the rules of the NYSE applicable to its listed companies and governing law as the Committee or the Board deems necessary or appropriate.
As adopted by the Board of Directors on August 25, 2011.