Shale Producer Pioneer's CEO Scott Sheffield to Retire

(Reuters) — Pioneer Natural Resources Co. on Wednesday said its chief executive officer, Scott Sheffield, will retire by the end of 2023, sending the U.S. shale producer's shares down 2% in extended trading.


Sheffield, an energy veteran, served as Pioneer’s founding CEO from 1997 to 2016 and chairman since 1999. He stepped down from the CEO role in 2016 before returning to the helm three years later.

The company on Tuesday named Chief Operating Officer Richard Dealy as its next CEO.

Pioneer Natural, which has reportedly been in preliminary buyout talks with Exxon Mobil, increased its base dividend by 14% and refreshed its share repurchase program with a $4 billion authorization.

Pioneer on Wednesday also posted a better-than-expected profit for the first quarter, as its production came in near the top end of its guidance.

Global crude prices averaged $81.24 a barrel in the January-March quarter, down nearly 20% from a year earlier but still well above a level where oil and gas producers can drill profitably.

Crude prices surged to multi-year highs last year after Russia's invasion on Ukraine tightened supplies.

Pioneer saw average realized prices of $75.15 per barrel of oil in the quarter, down more than 20% from a year earlier. Its net income also fell 39% to $1.2 billion from $2 billion last year as oil prices cooled.

The oil and gas producer anticipates second-quarter oil production between 357,000 and 372,000 barrels per day and total oil and gas production of between 647,000 and 702,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Excluding items, Pioneer earned $5.21 per share, beating analysts' estimates of $4.91, according to Refinitiv data.

Natural gas producer EQT Corp. also beat profit estimates for the first quarter on higher sales volumes.


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