Anadarko Petroleum Corporation

Period: 02/20/2015 to 05/02/2017
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: 04/20/2020

SUMMARY OF CASE:

A securities class action has been filed against Anadarko Petroleum Corporation (APC) on behalf of investors who purchased or acquired Anadarko common stock between February 20, 2015 through May 2, 2017.  This case has been filed in the USDC – S.D.TX.

Anadarko is an energy company that develops oil and natural gas resources in the United States and worldwide.  In August 2019, Anadarko became an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corporation (“Occidental”).  Prior to Anadarko’s acquisition by Occidental, Anadarko common stock traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “APC.”  In 2009, Anadarko discovered the “Shenandoah” oil field in the Gulf of Mexico.  After drilling an initial exploratory well named Shenandoah-1, Anadarko spent the following eight years appraising the field by drilling and evaluating five appraisal wells (Shenandoah-2, Shenandoah-3, Shenandoah-4, Shenandoah-5 and Shenandoah-6). During that time, including throughout the Class Period, the defendants made repeated positive representations about the prospects and value of the Shenandoah assets.

The Class Period commences on February 20, 2015, when Anadarko filed its annual report for the year ended December 31, 2014, with the SEC on a Form 10-K.  In its annual report, Anadarko reported that it had “spud the Shenandoah-3 well,” which had “found approximately 50% (1,470 feet) more of the same reservoir sands 1,500 feet down-dip and 2.3 miles east of the Shenandoah-2 well, which encountered over 1,000 feet of net oil pay in excellent quality Lower Tertiary-aged sands.”  Anadarko further stated that “[t]he Shenandoah-3 well confirmed the sand depositional environment, lateral sand continuity, excellent reservoir qualities, and down-dip thickening.” Defendants continued to make additional positive representations about the Shenandoah assets and touted the progress of Shenandoah.

The truth about the value of Anadarko’s Shenandoah assets was partially disclosed on May 2, 2017, when Anadarko filed financial results with the SEC on a Form 10-Q, for the first quarter of 2017.  In the financial results, Anadarko recorded a $467 million impairment charge and expensed $435 million in suspended exploratory well costs related to the Shenandoah project.  Anadarko stated that “[g]iven the results of [Shenandoah-6] and the present commodity-price environment, [Anadarko] has currently suspended further appraisal activities,” and the Shenandoah exploratory well costs could no longer be capitalized.  Following this news, the price of Anadarko common stock fell $4.33 per share, or approximately 8%, from a close of $56.28 per share on May 2, 2017, to close at $51.95 per share on May 3, 2017.  However, this partial disclosure did not fully inform investors about Anadarko’s scheme.  Indeed, investors did not learn that defendants had fraudulently overstated the value of the Shenandoah assets until November 4, 2019, when allegations in a whistleblower case against Anadarko were publicly disclosed in an opinion from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Frye v. Anadarko Petroleum Corp., No. 18-20543 (5th Cir.).

The complaint alleges that, throughout the Class Period, the defendants misrepresented and/or failed to disclose that: (1) the value of the Shenandoah assets and the success of the Shenandoah appraisal wells were overstated; (2) Anadarko lacked effective internal control over financial reporting; and (3) as a result of the foregoing, the defendants’ statements about Anadarko’s Shenandoah assets lacked a reasonable basis.