This year has seen the utter collapse of the Canadian Oil Exploration and Production (E&P) sector. Companies like Pengrowth (PGH) and Penn West (PWE) are trading near their 2009 crash levels. This is for good reason: the surge in American oil production has created an oil glut in the mid-continent, leaving Canadian oil with nowhere to go. As a result, Western Canadian Select (WCS) oil has been selling for $40/BBL less than Brent crude and Canadian producers have gotten crushed.
There are several Canadian companies that operate entirely in the U.S., but have thrown out with the Canadian E&P bathwater. Investors have overlooked the fact these companies are getting an extra $20 per barrel over their peers who operate in Canada. Some of these companies are steals at the current prices. In particular there are several new-style trusts, which by Canadian law can only operate outside of Canada. These trusts offer extremely attractive yields and compelling valuations.
|Company||Liquids Production||Yield||Payout Ratio with DRIP||Price per BOEPD|
|Argent Energy Trust (OTC:ANGYF)||72%||10.3%||99%|| |
|Eagle Energy Trust (OTC:ENYTF)||96%||15.4%||83%||$80,667|
|Parallel Energy Trust (OTC:PEYTF)||64%||13.9%||69%||$61,537|
In a previous article, I described a method to value E&P companies based on both their production and their netbacks. This helps weed out companies that look like bargains, just because they produce lots of natural gas or low-margin oil. Instead of considering the "flowing barrel" price of a company by itself, we multiply it by the per-barrel netback. Following are the numbers for energy trusts that operate in the U.S., along with some other Canadian companies.
|Argent Energy (OTC:ANGYF)||$97,972||$45.47||$2,155|
|Parallel Energy Trust (OTC:PEYTF)||$61,459||$25.72||$2,390|
The numbers are from 2012 production, so we can expect that companies with Canadian production--Pinecrest, PWE, ERF, and PGH-- will see considerably lower netbacks in 2013.
Based on this measure, Eagle Energy looks a clear winner among the group. A company that garners $50 netbacks on Texas oil production and trades at only $80,000 a flowing barrel is an absolute steal right now. This is confirmed by a look at the respective cash and debt numbers.
|Company||Price/Cash flow per Share||Debt/Cash Flow|
Eagle Energy Trust operates in two regions, both in Texas: Luling/Salt Flat field and Midland/Permian Basin. It is able to sell the bulk of its oil at premium to West Texas Intermediate ((WT)I) prices. According to management, heavy tax-loss selling by institutions drove the share price dramatically lower in December. It looks like a steal at the current valuation.