I'd prefer they buy back less, pay a 3.5% dividend and INVEST MORE in drilling to grow their production. All of the analyst have said they cannot grow their production at quoted rates and still buy back and pay overly large dividend.
Analysts are always wrong; an assumption I can regularly hold and seldom be wrong. They may know how to apply a "formula" for the price of a company, but never or seldom get it right when it comes to earnings or the price of the stock, or the market direction in general ... let's see, how do we factor in Greece, France, Spain, China? Oh, dear me! Not long ago they were touting to buy commodities like metals and so forth, anyone who listened lost money on their investments, witness WLT, CLF and FCX, etc. I hold analysts in great contempt, for they are like political pundits, always at the ready to come up with a new reason why things didn't turn out the way they predicted they would.
they are getting theirself in tremendous shape by downsizing, paying off debt, and getting lean the profit will increase per share with the share buybacks and the next opportunity when things collapse they will have the ability to buy other less frugal companies at great bargains. Oil is currently well overpriced with the glut in NG and oil will fall when people start switching. cOP is doing what is right at the best time.
what you have to really like is the fact they follow through on those announced purchases that 12B buyback will raise earnings per share by 25% helping to offset the loss of income from sale of producing assets. Net is that it should increase in value as it also reduces debt. I originally got into this several yrs ago at 50 and now it is 54plus and I got the 18 dollars from psx when I sold it early plus all those dividends which get me closer to 80 total. This has been a very good return and investment.