Richard P. Dealy
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Pioneer Natural Resources
Just highlighted, underpin our ability to return substantial capital to shareholders. As you can see from the chart, in 2022, Pioneer returned the highest percentage of free cash flow to investors compared to peers. This includes returning more than 95% of our free cash flow to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. Our strong balance sheet, disciplined reinvestment rate and compelling corporate returns enables our ability to return significant capital to shareholders. Turning to slide seven. Pioneer continues to offer a compelling dividend with one of the highest dividend yields in the S&P 500. Our first quarter dividend now -- 11%, which as you can see from this slide, exceeds our energy peers, the majors in every S&P 500 sector.
Turning to slide eight. In addition to the strong dividend payout, we continue to see attractive value in repurchasing our shares. We believe trade at a significant discount to our intrinsic value. Demonstrating this commitment, during the fourth quarter, Pioneer repurchased $400 million of stock, further reducing shares outstanding, which benefits long-term share returns and, importantly, improves per share metrics. In addition to the fourth quarter share repurchases, we completed an additional $250 million of share repurchases during the first quarter of '23 under a 10b5-1 plan, exhibiting our willingness to actively repurchase shares.
In total, Pioneer has repurchased $1.9 billion in equity since the beginning of 2022, reducing shares outstanding by approximately 3.5%. With $2.1 billion remaining under our $4 billion authorization, we have additional opportunities to reduce our share count further in 2023. Turning to slide nine. We outlined our 2023 capital program which builds on our 2022 successes. The company plans to deliver 2023 full year option ranging from 357,000 to 372,000 barrels of oil per day. And total production ranging from 670,000 to 700,000 BOEs per day. Consistent with my commentary last quarter, our drilling completions and capital facilities budget of $4.45 billion to $4.75 billion reflects approximately 10% inflation and two incremental rigs which help support our annual production growth targets.
Our exploration, environmental and other capital for the year is expected to range from $150 million to $200 million. As we've discussed previously, key projects within this category includes exploration drilling of four wells targeting the Barnett and Woodford formations in the Midland Basin as well as continued appraisal of our enhanced oil recovery project. We are looking forward to the Barnett Woodford test as early results by some peers have shown some strong early oil rates and we have a significant acreage position in several thousand locations related to Barnett and Woodford potential in the future. As the economic potential of these projects both the exploration drilling and the ER projects become more certain, those will be included in our future.
These capital so this is not expected to be recurring capital. Based on the midpoints of our capital and productions ranges at strip pricing, we expect to generate greater than $ billion in free cash flow in 2023 from approximately $9 billion of projected operating cash flow. Slide 10 provides some additional detail on our 2023 capital program. Throughout 2023, we expect to operate between 24 and 26 drilling rigs and place between five and 530 wells on production. This program is expected to deliver quarterly production growth throughout the year. Our 2023 drilling and completions activity is distributed across our large contiguous Midland Basin acreage, with approximately three drilling rigs operating in our joint venture area.
As I've discussed in the past, the contiguous nature of our acreage position provides multiple operational benefits including drilling and completing 15,000-plus foot laterals with greater than 100 of these expected to be placed on production in 2023. These longer laterals thus drive improved returns and higher productivity that I'll discuss further in a minute. We also benefit from the continued utilization of simul frac operations, which reduces costs by about $200,000 per well and provides incremental operational efficiencies. Additionally, our significant water infrastructure provides diversified disposal and reuse network that spans across most of our acreage position.
Turning to slide 11. As I just mentioned, our 15,000-plus foot lateral length developments deliver strong productivity and increased returns when compared to a 10,000-foot lateral well. Drilling and completing these long laterals drive significant efficiency gains that reduce capital costs, the D&C savings of approximately 15% on a cost per lateral foot basis. The combination of these savings and strong productivity drive increased returns with IRRs increasing by more than 20 percentage points when compared to a 10,000-foot lateral. To date, we've identified more than 1,000 locations for long lateral development and expect more than 100 of these wells to be placed on production in 2023.
Turning to slide 12 and looking at the chart on the left, you can see that Pioneer's multiyear track record of peer-leading completion efficiencies continued during 2022. In addition to our execution team's great efforts, the implementation of simul frac completions is a major contributor to our efficiency improvements and cost savings over the last couple of years. We continue to build on that success with the deployment of a third full-time simul frac fleet earlier this quarter. Additionally, during the first half of 2023, Pioneer will utilize two localized sand mines to provide sand to our wells. The use of local sand is expected to deliver average cost savings of approximately $200,000 per well, principally due to reduced trucking costs as a result of the mine's close proximity to our wells.
Consistent with our commitment to sustainable operation, Pioneer expects 100% of our completion fleets to be either electric or dual fuel powered by the second half of 2023. Turning to slide 13. Our 2023 development plan remains highly competitive and is underpinned by our best-in-class assets and highly efficient operations. This combination resulted in 2023 corporate maintenance breakeven WTI oil price of $39 a barrel, which includes the impacts of the 10% inflation that I talked about earlier and estimated cash taxes that are forecasted to be in that mid- to high teens of book income for the year. Including our base dividend, our maintenance program is fully funded at $47 WTI, which demonstrates the resilience and durability of our program through cycles.
At strip pricing, after funding our 2023 program, we expect to generate substantial free cash flow, the majority of which we plan to return to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases. On slide 14, you can see on the left that Pioneer has the deepest inventory of high-quality Permian drilling locations when compared to peers. This third-party analysis substantiates Pioneer independent oil and gas operator with decades of high-quality inventory in the core of the Midland Basin. As seen on the right, Pioneer's Midland Basin acreage is highly contiguous, which is a key driver to the efficiencies that I highlighted earlier.
So with that, I'll turn it over to Neal.