Apache’s mission is to grow a profitable upstream oil and gas company for the long-term benefit of our shareholders. Apache’s long-term perspective has many dimensions, with the following core principles:
• own a balanced portfolio of core assets;
• maintain financial flexibility and a strong balance sheet; and
• optimize rates of return, earnings and cash flow.
Throughout the cycles of our industry, these strategies have underpinned our ability to deliver long-term production and reserve growth and achieve competitive investment rates of return for the benefit of our shareholders. We have increased reserves 22 out of the last 24 years and production 29 out of the past 31 years, a testament to our consistency over the long-term.
Portfolio of Assets
We own a portfolio of assets in core areas that provide opportunities for growth through drilling, supplemented by occasional strategic acquisitions. Over the last two decades, we have assembled a large acreage position and production base outside the United States that provide additional geologic and geographic opportunities, diversifying risk, and provide exposure to larger reserve targets, which fuel production and reserve growth. We now have exploration and production operations in six countries, spanning five continents: the Gulf Coast and Central regions in the United States (U.S.), Canada, Egypt, the North Sea, Australia and Argentina. We also have exploration interests in Chile located adjacent to our Argentine operations on the Chilean side of the island of Tierra del Fuego.
Each of our producing regions has achieved an economy of scale that leads to cost effective production and sustainable, lower-risk, repeatable drilling opportunities. The net cash provided by operating activities (cash flow) generated by our current production base and our 33 million gross acres across the globe provide the ability to pursue new exploration targets while developing our previous exploration discoveries. Those developments will fund the next round of exploration activities and development programs.
We manage our investments giving consideration to geography, reserve life and hydrocarbon mix.
• No single region contributed more than 27 percent of our equivalent production or reserves in 2009.
• The mixture of reserve life (estimated reserves divided by annual production) in our regions, which translates into balance in the timing of returns on our investments, ranges from as short as six years to as long as 21 years.
• Our balanced product mix provides a measure of protection against price deterioration in a given product while retaining upside potential through a significant increase in either commodity price. In 2009 crude oil and liquids provided 50 percent of our production and 72 percent of our revenue. At year-end, our estimated proved reserves were 45 percent crude oil and liquids and 55 percent natural gas.
Financial Flexibility and a Strong Balance Sheet
Apache’s financial flexibility is the result of years of hard work and discipline. This flexibility permits us to pursue higher-risk, higher-reward exploration targets, to develop large-scale facilities required to produce previous exploration discoveries and, when appropriate, to supplement our drilling and exploration programs with value-creating acquisitions.
Given the turmoil in the commodity markets and nearly unprecedented global financial crisis at the outset of the year, Apache’s primary objective for 2009 was to live within our cash flow and preserve our financial flexibility. To ensure we lived within cash flow, we reduced our 2009 activity and invested $4.1 billion, 39 percent below 2008 levels.
Apache grew production nine percent and generated $4.2 billion in cash flow in 2009 in spite of curtailed capital spending. We exited 2009 with a debt-to-capitalization ratio of 24 percent, just over $2 billion of cash and $2.3 billion in available committed borrowing capacity. We also believe our single-A debt ratings provide a competitive advantage in accessing capital markets.
Optimize Returns on Invested Capital
We focus on optimizing returns on invested capital through strict cost control and the creative application of technology.
Our management systems provide a uniform process of measuring success across Apache. Our management systems incentivize high rate-of-return activities but allow for appropriate risk-taking to drive future growth. Results of operations and rates of return on invested capital are measured monthly, reviewed with management quarterly and utilized to determine annual performance awards. We monitor capital allocations, at least quarterly, through a disciplined and focused process that includes analyzing current economic conditions, expected rates of return on proposed development and exploration drilling targets, opportunities for tactical acquisitions or, occasionally, new core areas that could enhance our portfolio.
We also use technology to optimize our rates of return by reducing risk, decreasing drilling time and costs, and maximizing recoveries from reservoirs. Additionally, Apache scientists and engineers have been granted numerous patents for a range of inventions, from systems used for interpreting seismic data or processing well logs to improvements in drilling and completion techniques.
One such example is a manifold invented for development of our Horn River Shale gas play in northeast British Columbia, where Apache is employing pad-drilling technology. Apache engineers developed and applied for a patent for a manifold that will connect all 16 horizontal wells on a single pad, driving down costs by reducing non-productive time on our 24-hour-a-day hydraulic fracturing operations. This technology will increase Apache’s rate of return on potentially thousands of future wells across our leasehold.
At our Forties field, Apache is using techniques that bring together many sources of data to give an accurate view of the current state of the field and identify likely places to find unswept oil deposits. Four-dimensional modeling, which uses reservoir-engineering data and a series of three-dimensional seismic surveys, is utilized by Apache to create a time-lapse picture that shows where oil remains after 35 years of production. The latest model of the reservoir highlighted the potential for stranded oil accumulations in close proximity to the Charlie platform and helped Apache’s technical teams identify the Charlie 6-3 target drilled in 2009. The well came on production at 10,500 b/d — the field’s highest initial production rate from a new well since 1994.
In 2009 purchases by Shell accounted for 18 percent of the Company’s worldwide oil and gas production revenues.
Kitimat LNG Terminal
On January 13, 2010, Apache announced that its Apache Canada Ltd. subsidiary has agreed to acquire 51 percent of Kitimat LNG Inc.’s proposed LNG export terminal in British Columbia. Apache also reserved 51 percent of gas throughput capacity in the terminal.
The proposed Kitimat project, located at Bish Cove near the Port of Kitimat about 405 miles north of Vancouver, has planned capacity of about 700 MMcf/d, or five million metric tons of LNG per year. Preliminary gross construction cost estimates of C$3 billion will be refined at the conclusion of FEED. The project is projected to employ an estimated 1,500 people during construction and 100 on a permanent basis.
Kitimat is designed to be linked to the pipeline system servicing Western Canada’s natural gas producing regions via the proposed Pacific Trail Pipelines, a C$1.1 billion project. In association with our acquisition of interest in the Kitimat project, we also acquired a 25.5-percent interest in the proposed pipeline and 350 MMcf/d of capacity rights.
2010 Performance Program
To provide long-term incentives for Apache employees to deliver competitive returns to our stockholders, in January 2010 the Company’s Board of Directors approved the 2010 Performance Program, pursuant to the 2007 Omnibus Equity Compensation Plan. Eligible employees received an initial conditional restricted stock unit award of 541,440 units, with the ultimate number of restricted stock units to be awarded, if any, based upon measurement of total shareholder return of Apache common stock as compared to a designated peer group during a three-year performance period. Should any restricted stock units be awarded at the end of the three-year performance period, 50 percent of restricted stock units awarded will immediately vest, and an additional 25 percent will vest on succeeding anniversaries of the end of the performance period. The Company’s Board of Directors also approved a one-time restricted stock unit award of 502,470 shares to eligible Apache employees, with one-third of the units granted immediately vesting and an additional one-third vesting on each of the first and second anniversaries of the grant date.
On December 31, 2009, we had 3,452 employees.