Continental Resources Inc. said it will launch an initial share repurchase program of up to $1 billion and start paying a quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share.
The shale driller's board approved the $1 billion share buyback program, which will run from the second quarter through 2020, according to a June 3 news release. A substantial portion of the initial amount is expected to be executed by the end of the year, the company said.
Continental's board also authorized the quarterly dividend of 5 cents per share, which amounts to 20 cents per share, or about $75 million, on an annualized basis. The dividend will be paid Nov. 21 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 7.
In addition, Continental said it now anticipates generating about $5 billion of free cash flow at $60 West Texas Intermediate benchmark price. This represents an increase of roughly $1 billion compared to the previous estimate, driven mainly by an improvement in capital efficiencies and crude oil differentials.
The company hopes to lower net debt to about $5 billion by the end of the year and to $4.2 billion or below in the long term.
Continental explores for, develops and produces crude oil and natural gas in the Bakken, SCOOP and STACK plays, among other regions.