US shale-focused independent Hess, in a 12 January update to its 2017 capex guidance, says that it plans to spend $2.25bn on E&P next year, up from $1.9bn in 2016. The key boost is slated for North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation where it plans to add 4 rigs, going from the current two to six by year-end. The Bakken is slated to provide a third (95-105,000 boe/d) of the company’s planned 300-310,000 boe/d net 2017 output as well as being the key driver of expected 8-12% output gains during 2017. Tripling of the firm’s Bakken rig count is the main element of the its planned $700mn 2017 “unconventionals” spend. It plans to drill 75 new Bakken Shale wells in 2017.

But despite tentative signs of an output restart at the 300,000 b/d-capacity Waha fields in Libya where it partners Marathon and ConocoPhillips (MEES, 18 November 2016), Hess continues to exclude Libya from its production forecasts – an indication that it sees such gains as tentative. (CONTINUED - 159 WORDS)