Devon Energy (DVN) is keeping its house clean, buying only what can benefit all stakeholders and shedding anything else that weighs it down.
The company recently announced that it is shutting down its office in Houston and transferring operational responsibilities for assets in South Texas, East Texas, and Louisiana to Oklahoma City. The company expects to relocate a number of employees from Houston to Oklahoma City, completing the entire move by the end of the first-quarter 2013. This move is expected to save the company $80 million annually, with the cost reductions materializing through both lower general and administrative expenses and reduced capitalized personnel costs. Devon will be neighbors with Chesapeake Energy (CHK) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC). Chesapeake is currently striking it big in the Hogshooter play in the Texas Panhandle.
Chesapeake owns approximately 30,000 net acres there and recently announced that an exploratory well had produced an average of approximately 7,350 barrels of oil equivalent per day during its first eight days of stabilized production. Marathon recently announced that it has partnered with partner Harvest Pipeline Company to set up a truck-to-barge system on the Ohio River. This newly constructed facility will be utilized for the transportation of oil and natural gas liquids produced in the Utica shale oil play to refineries. The project will have trucks with daily capacity to transport about 24,000 barrels and a terminal that can load up to 50,000 barrels of oil daily. Devon's relocation of administration offices is just one example of the company keeping a watchful eye on finances, but it is not just all about tightening its belt.
The company continues to deliver strong oil production growth in the second quarter of 2012. During this period, oil production averaged 149,000 barrels per day, which is a 26% increase compared to the second quarter of 2011. This increase is largely attributable to growth from the company's Jackfish and Permian Basin projects. While this success is expected to continue, I believe this is a great time to jump on board and buy Devon.
The company recently announced the closing of a $1.4 billion venture agreement with Sumitomo Corporation. This joint venture is in the Cline Shale and the Midland Wolfcamp Shale and covering about 650,000 net acres. Sumitomo will invest $1.4 billion in exchange for 30% of Devon Energy's interest in these projects. About 70% of Devon's capital requirements related to total drilling and completion expenses will be fulfilled by the drilling carry investment. Sumitomo will be paying 79% of the entire drilling and completion costs during the carry period. Based on the current work program, Devon Energy expects the entire $980 million carry to be realized in mid-2014 and both companies expect to drill approximately 40 gross wells in 2012.
The selling, or leveraging of partner's money continues. In the Barnett Shale play, Crestwood Midstream Partners LP has agreed to buy from subsidiaries of Devon, gathering and processing assets for $90 million. In addition, the firms signed a 20-year, fixed-fee gathering, processing, and compression agreement under which Crestwood will gather and process Devon Energy's natural gas production from a 20,500-acre section. Current gas production under the agreement is about 95 MMcfd. In the nearby Haynesville Shale play, SandRidge Energy (SD) has just over 36,000 acres. SandRidge has drilled two vertical test wells encountering 260 and 288 feet of Haynesville Shale and testing at an initial rate of 1.5 Mmcfe/day.
Also in competition with Devon Energy are EOG Resources (EOG) and Encana (ECA). Encana, is Canada's largest natural gas producer, has been successful in the gas business, and would be extremely pleased with the rise in natural gas prices. Both Encana and EOG Resources are in partnership with Apache Energy (APA) in a $15 billion venture with the Kitimat liquefied natural gas export project. Additionally, EOG Resources is one of the largest producers in the Bakken Shale with the company's 90,000 net acre Core Parshall Field, which has proven successful due to the company drilling wells on tighter densities. But Devon Energy is striking success at every corner. In Canada, where the company is having success in the oil sands, Devon Energy recently announced that production from its Jackfish 1 and 2 thermal projects in the southern Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta reached 51,000 b/d of bitumen in the second quarter, 63% above the year-earlier average.
Devon Energy said that construction is about 40% at the Jackfish 3 project, where production is to begin late in 2014. These Jackfish projects are 100% held by Devon and are located 10 miles southeast of Conklin, Alta., and use steam-assisted gravity drainage with saline water. Each phase is designed to produce 35,000 b/d. Ever-expanding Devon filed applications this summer for the first phase of its Pike SAGD project on land adjacent to the Jackfish acreage, where targeted production is 105,000 b/d. In this Pike project, Devon Energy holds 50% and BP Canada Energy holds the remaining 50%.
Devon Energy has a market cap of $24.73 billion and a current P/E ratio of 12.9 and P/S ratio of 2.1. The dividend yield of Devon Energy stocks is 1.3%. The company's sales grew by 15.2% to $11.14 billion. The company reported second-quarter 2012 earnings of $.55 per share, and the company had second-quarter 2012 revenues of $2.56 billion, 2.48% above the prior year's second-quarter results. Year on year, Devon grew revenues 15.23% from $9.94 billion to $11.45 billion, while net income improved 3.38% from $4.55 billion to $4.70 billion. In the second quarter of 2012, the company reported production of 679,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with approximately 22%, or 149,000 barrels per day, of this production composed of crude oil. This represented growth of 26% on a year-over-year basis for the company.
It is not difficult to see that Devon Energy has created a firm foundation for growth and expansion providing shareholders a good future of returns. This is a "buy today" company.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.