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Permian producer Pioneer announces $2B stock buyback

Permian Basin oil and gas driller Pioneer Natural Resources Co. authorized a buyback of $2 billion of company stock, or approximately 8% of all outstanding shares, while the stock is at "attractive prices."

Like a number of independent producers, Pioneer already had a stock buyback program in place. But the program, announced in February, was funded to repurchase only $100 million of shares. The Dec. 13 announcement supersedes the earlier program. The company did not put a time frame on the stock buyback.

"The announced share repurchase program demonstrates our commitment to returning capital to shareholders, consistent with the priorities of our ten-year plan. Pioneer's deep Permian Basin inventory generates best in class well returns and is expected to provide increasing levels of free cash flow to support the company's plan to return capital to shareholders," CEO Timothy Dove said in a news release. "Execution of this authorization offers an opportunity to deliver long-term value to our shareholders by repurchasing shares at attractive prices, which will enhance per-share metrics, including cash flow, production growth, net asset value and corporate returns, while maintaining one of the best balance sheets in the industry."

Pioneer shares were selling for $138.60 at the close of business Dec. 13 on the NYSE. They have traded as high as $213.40 in the past year.