California Resources Corporation (CRC) Holds Q4 Earnings Call with CEO and CFO as Speakers

February 29, 2024 | by


California Resources Corporation (CRC) recently held its Q4 2023 earnings call, featuring CEO Francisco Leon and CFO Nelly Molina as speakers. During the call, CRC highlighted strong performance throughout the year, with successful cost-saving initiatives and low base decline in their exploration and production operations. Moreover, CRC’s carbon management business demonstrated significant progress, obtaining Class VI permits for carbon capture and storage while securing funding for a direct air capture hub. The anticipated merger with Aera Energy aims to bolster cash generation capabilities and reinforce CRC’s market position. In addition, CRC deliberated on their real estate portfolio, including plans to sell a parcel and progress with rezoning and reentitlement for the Huntington Beach Field. Notable financial achievements were also reported, surpassing expectations with higher-than-anticipated free cash flow, a robust balance sheet, and reduced debt. CRC concluded by providing a positive outlook for 2024, with an emphasis on portfolio expansion and continued value acceleration.

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Overview of Q4 2023 Earnings Call

California Resources Corporation (CRC) recently held its Q4 2023 earnings call, providing a comprehensive overview of the company’s performance over the past year. The call featured Francisco Leon, CEO, and Nelly Molina, CFO, as speakers. In this article, we will delve into the highlights of CRC’s performance in 2023, covering various aspects of the company’s operations, financials, and future outlook.

Operational Results

One of the key highlights from CRC’s operational results in 2023 was the low base decline in its Exploration and Production (E&P) operations. This achievement can be attributed to the company’s diligent efforts in optimizing production efficiency and implementing advanced E&P technologies. By minimizing base decline, CRC has been able to maintain steady production levels, ensuring a reliable source of revenue.

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Furthermore, CRC’s cost-saving initiatives have had a significant impact on the company’s operational performance. Through various efficiency measures and strategic cost management, CRC has successfully reduced operating expenses while maintaining the quality and reliability of its operations. This has not only contributed to improved profitability but has also positioned the company for greater resilience in a challenging market environment.

Progress in Carbon Management Business

CRC’s focus on carbon management has yielded substantial progress in 2023. The company received Class VI permits for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), a significant milestone that validates CRC’s commitment to environmental stewardship. These permits allow CRC to capture and sequester carbon emissions, helping to mitigate environmental impact and contribute to the fight against climate change.

Furthermore, CRC has secured funding for a direct air capture hub, a crucial component of its carbon management strategy. Direct air capture technology enables the removal of carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere, providing a scalable solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. By investing in this hub, CRC is positioning itself as a leader in carbon management and actively contributing to a more sustainable future.

Planned Merger with Aera Energy

CRC’s planned merger with Aera Energy, a joint venture between affiliates of ExxonMobil and Shell, is a strategic move that aims to enhance the company’s position in the market and strengthen its cash generation capabilities. Through this merger, CRC anticipates synergistic benefits that will not only optimize operational efficiency but also improve financial performance.

The objectives of the merger revolve around achieving greater scale and diversification, enabling CRC to better navigate market dynamics and capture emerging opportunities. By combining resources, expertise, and market presence, CRC and Aera Energy can create a powerhouse in the industry, laying the foundation for sustained growth and value creation.

Real Estate Portfolio

In addition to its core E&P and carbon management businesses, CRC also maintains a real estate portfolio that provides diversified revenue streams. As part of its strategic plans, CRC intends to sell a parcel within its real estate holdings. This move aligns with the company’s objective of streamlining its portfolio and focusing on core operations.


Furthermore, CRC is actively advancing the rezoning and reentitlement process for the Huntington Beach Field, a valuable asset within its real estate portfolio. By pursuing these initiatives, CRC aims to maximize the value of its assets and unlock their full potential. This forward-thinking approach underscores CRC’s commitment to optimizing its business portfolio and driving long-term value for shareholders.

Financial Performance

CRC’s financial performance in 2023 exceeded expectations, demonstrating the effectiveness of the company’s strategic initiatives. Of particular note is the significant achievement of surpassing expectations in free cash flow. This positive outcome is a testament to CRC’s operational efficiency, cost-saving measures, and successful capital allocation strategies.

Additionally, CRC’s strong balance sheet and reduced debt reflect the company’s commitment to maintaining a solid financial foundation. By effectively managing its debt and improving liquidity, CRC has bolstered its financial flexibility, positioning itself for continued growth and value creation. These financial achievements underscore the company’s resilience and ability to weather industry challenges.

Capital Allocation to Shareholders

Recognizing the importance of shareholder value, CRC has prioritized the allocation of free cash flow towards maximizing returns for its investors. The company has implemented a comprehensive capital allocation strategy, encompassing share buybacks, dividends, and debt repurchases. By returning a significant portion of free cash flow to shareholders, CRC demonstrates its commitment to generating long-term value and enhancing investor confidence.

This approach reflects CRC’s prudent financial management, ensuring that capital is deployed in a manner that optimizes shareholder returns while maintaining a healthy balance sheet. By striking the right balance between reinvestment in the business and rewarding shareholders, CRC reinforces its commitment to responsible and sustainable growth.

Q4 Results Comparison

CRC’s Q4 results were in line with or better than the preliminary results previously communicated. This achievement can be attributed to several factors, including lower operating costs and higher net margins from power sales. The company’s relentless focus on operational efficiency and cost management has paid off, enabling CRC to achieve solid financial performance even in a challenging market environment.

These positive results demonstrate CRC’s ability to adapt to changing market dynamics and capitalize on favorable opportunities. By continuously enhancing operational efficiency and optimizing costs, CRC maintains a competitive edge, positioning itself for sustained success in the industry.

Liquidity and Cash Reserves

CRC entered 2024 with substantial liquidity and robust cash reserves, reflecting the company’s strong financial position. This liquidity provides CRC with the flexibility to pursue growth opportunities, withstand market volatility, and fund its ongoing initiatives. Moreover, the healthy cash reserves demonstrate CRC’s ability to generate cash flow and maintain financial resilience, enhancing long-term shareholder value.

By maintaining a strong liquidity position, CRC can navigate potential uncertainties in the market, capitalize on favorable conditions, and drive sustainable growth. These cash reserves serve as a solid foundation for future investments and further reinforce CRC’s commitment to creating long-term value for its shareholders.

Outlook for 2024

In discussing the outlook for 2024, CRC provided a general overview of its strategic priorities and growth prospects. While specific details were not disclosed, CRC emphasized its commitment to portfolio expansion and value acceleration. The company’s focus on expanding its portfolio indicates a proactive approach to identifying and capitalizing on growth opportunities across its business segments.

Moreover, CRC’s emphasis on value acceleration underscores its commitment to generating sustainable returns and maximizing long-term shareholder value. By leveraging its operational expertise, financial strength, and strategic partnerships, CRC aims to unlock the full potential of its assets and drive growth in a dynamic market landscape.

In conclusion, CRC’s Q4 2023 earnings call highlighted the company’s strong performance in various areas, including operational results, progress in carbon management, planned merger, real estate portfolio, financial performance, capital allocation, and Q4 results comparison. Looking ahead, CRC’s outlook for 2024 indicates a focus on portfolio expansion and value acceleration, setting the stage for continued growth and value creation.

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