February 21, 2018 / 5:10 PM / 3 months ago

BRIEF-Devon Energy CEO Says Higher Dividends, Stock Buybacks Possible In Future

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Devon Energy Corp:

* CHIEF EXECUTIVE DAVE HAGER SAYS NEAR-TERM PRIORITY FOR CASH IS TO CUT DEBT

* CEO SAYS STOCK BUYBACK NOT THE BEST MOVE FOR COMPANY RIGHT NOW

* CEO SAYS HIGHER DIVIDENDS, STOCK BUYBACKS POSSIBLE IN FUTURE

* CEO: ‘THERE WILL BE INCREASING SHAREHOLDER RETURNS THIS YEAR’

* CEO SAYS WILL SIMPLIFY PORTFOLIO BY SELLING ASSETS, BUT DECLINES TO SAY WHICH ASSETS

* EXPECTS OILFIELD SERVICE COST INFLATION IN 2018 OF ABOUT MID- TO HIGH-SINGLE DIGITS

* SAYS HAS RIGS NEEDED UNDER CONTRACT TO COMPLETE 2018 DRILLING PROGRAM

* SAYS PLANS TO CUT RIG COUNT DURING YEAR FROM 20 TO ABOUT 16 OR 17 DUE TO IMPROVING EFFICIENCIES

* SAYS HAS ‘LARGELY SECURED’ PRESSURE PUMPING NEEDS FOR 2018, WITH PLANS TO USE 7 FRACKING CREWS

* SAYS HAS CONTRACTS IN PLACE FOR ‘MAJORITY’ OF REQUIREMENTS FOR SAND, WATER AND CHEMICALS IN 2018

* CEO DESCRIBES THE DELAWARE AND STACK AS THE COMPANY’S TWO KEY CORE ASSETS

* CEO SAYS UNDERSTANDS THE ‘OPTIONALITY’ AROUND OTHER ASSETS IN THE PORTFOLIO Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage: (Reporting By Ernest Scheyder)

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