Apache Earmarks $2B for Exploration, Acquisitions

NEW ORLEANS (Dow Jones), Mar. 22, 2010

Apache Corp. Chief Executive G. Steven Farris said Monday that the company has $2 billion to spend in exploration projects and acquisitions and that it is looking to buy assets in North America and internationally.

Speaking to analysts in the sidelines of a conference in New Orleans, Farris said the independent oil and gas producer is always in an acquisitive mode but that recently it has started to see good opportunities because the price expectations between sellers and buyers are now more "realistic." He said buying natural gas is especially attractive now, as commodity prices are low.

The executive also confirmed the Houston-based company's capital expenditure budget for this year is $6 billion.

Asked about his view on oil prices, Farris said the world is going to see $100 a barrel soon driven by aggressive energy demand in developing countries, especially in Asia. "I'm very bullish on oil prices," he said.

Long-term oil prices depend primarily on how much oil Iraq is able to produce over the next several years, Farris said. He added that he doesn't believe Iraq will be able to produce 11 million barrels of oil a day by 2017. "The real long-term question is how good can Iraq be," he said.

The executive said the company is planning to maintain a balanced portfolio with production divided evenly between oil and natural gas in the long term.

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