Cenovus A Buy Before Its Earnings Release

| About: Cenovus Energy, (CVE)

Earnings have been smashing through all expectations like the Kool-Aid man smashing through a brick wall. But as investors we need to be looking for more than just an earnings beat. We should be looking for additional catalysts that will put some money in our pockets. Cenovus Energy (NYSE:CVE) is presenting investors with this opportunity when it reports before the bell on Wednesday, April 25. Let's go over some of the things I'm looking at that I think will give Cenovus shares a nice lift.

Strong Financial Quarter

I'm expecting Cenovus to beat on the bottom line as well as report strong cash flows. These numbers will most likely be supported by its downstream activities over their crude realizations, since we have a glut of oil swishing around North America. This glut will help those who have refining capacity, like Cenovus.

Production To Be Inline

Cenovus, unlike some of its competitors like Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) and Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ), hasn't had any disruptions in its crude production this year. It, as always, is running like a well-oiled machine (pardon the pun). I am expecting its production to be around management's estimates of 258,000 boe/day.

Well-Hedged On The Natural Gas Front

Natural gas accounts for almost 40% of Cenovus' production. But for fiscal 2012, 42% of its natural gas production is hedged at $5.24/mcf. In today's North American natural gas environment, that makes Cenovus the envy of the oil patch.

Project Updates

The following are the two updates I am most excited about for the company:

Christina Lake Phase D Update

Cenovus should be providing an update on the on steam date for its Christina Lake Phase D, which will add 40,000 boe/day of production. The expected on steam date is Q4 2012, and I think that if this is on time or slightly ahead of schedule, the market will pile into the stock. It's like the saying goes: The sooner the steam date, the sooner the production, the sooner the cash flow, the sooner the NAV goes up, the sooner I can retire (well, that's a saying in my house anyway).

Telephone Lake Joint Venture Update

The second, and more important, update is the progress on its joint venture on Telephone Lake. Cenovus had extended its joint venture process to accommodate last-minute interest from other parties. This extension bodes well for what Cenovus will get in return for a 50% stake in its Telephone Lake property (like a bidding war on Storage Wars, if you will). Cenovus said that it would be interested in accepting additional coking or refining capacity in exchange for a 50% stake. Any clarity on this progress should catapult the stock upward as analysts can start to consider the NAV calculations associated with developing Telephone Lake. (Telephone Lake's contingent resource is 2.1 billion barrels, and estimated production capacity is around 90,000 boe/day.)

For all of these reasons, I'd be inclined to take my position in Cenovus before Wednesday.

Disclosure: I am long CVE.