Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR) +3% AH after Q3 earnings rose 26% Y/Y and beat Wall Street estimates, thanks to higher activity in the Bakken shale field in North Dakota and Permian Basin in Texas.
Total revenue rose 17%, its highest increase in nine quarters, to $1.81B; sales in the completion and production services business, which handles the post-drilling processes used to extract oil and gas, rose 19% to $612M despite two Pacific hurricanes crossing into Texas during the quarter.
NBR says the recent fall in oil prices could affect customer spending, but that it is "much better positioned to weather and potentially capitalize upon any significant downturn in industry activity" because of steps taken to improve financial flexibility, streamline operations and improve cost structure.
Onshore drillers such as NBR should be less affected by falling oil prices than offshore drillers, whose customers need higher prices to break even.
Total (NYSE:TOT) will convene an emergency board meeting Wednesday morning to select a new CEO, and likely will separate the roles of chairman and CEO, WSJ reports, following the death of Christophe de Margerie.
The top contenders for CEO are said to be Patrick Pouyanné, the head of TOT’s refining and chemicals division, and Philippe Boisseau, who runs marketing and new energy operations.
Director Thierry Desmarest, who was chairman until 2010, reportedly will be asked to resume that post, but would ake the position on an interim basis because in Dec. 2015 he will turn 70, the company’s age limit.
TOT does not lack strong managers, but replacing de Margerie's larger than life personality and extensive contact book is another matter: "This fabric of international relationships he has is fundamental. There are perhaps seven or eight bosses in the world who have that. His potential successors are not ready," according to a close adviser.
Russia has added new conditions to resuming gas supplies to Ukraine, disappointing those who had expected a natural gas deal to be reached today.
Russia is now asking for evidence to be submitted that international lenders or other organizations were able to guarantee Ukraine as good for its money.
Both countries earlier had agreed on a price for the gas, which Ukraine would pay in advance, and Ukraine also had agreed to pay back $3.1B of debt to Gazprom (OTCPK:OGZPY).
Attention now shifts to another Brussels meeting on Oct. 29; if no deal is sealed, Europe's natural gas supply could be in jeopardy, as ~30% comes from Russia and about half of that flows through Ukraine.
Freeport LNG says it has started work on a $30M project to widen the Houston Ship Channel harbor from 400 ft. to 600 ft.
The dredging project not only benefits Freeport LNG, which counts ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW) among its partners, but should significantly improve the channel’s safety and speed up traffic, port officials say.
Freeport LNG received U.S. approval Friday to begin construction on its liquefaction and pre-treating facilities, another step forward for the conditionally approved liquefied natural gas export terminal.
Blue Earth (NASDAQ:BBLU) responds to "false statements and allegations" made by the Pump Stopper in a negative Seeking Alpha article, which cut the stock in half during today's trading.
The article cited a current law enforcement investigation of the company, said BBLU has engaged stock promoters who have improperly touted its stock, and pointed to red flags regarding the company’s past and present auditors.
BBLU's response says a lawsuit against a company formerly run by its current CEO was dismissed with prejudice, and the law firm that spearheaded the lawsuit was disbanded and certain principals went to jail; says "there is a difference between investor relations and stock promoters," and BBLU provided "full disclosure."
B.C. also unveils a special credit that allows LNG companies to reduce their corporate tax rate, as an incentive for the companies to locate at least some of their offices in the province.
The LNG tax has now been reduced to 3.5%, and would only move to 5% in 2037; while the B.C. government still stands to gain nearly $150M/year in LNG taxes for each plant, the full amount will not be collected until seven years after a plant begins operating.
Shell-led (RDS.A, RDS.B) LNG Canada issued a statement that appeared supportive of the government tax structure, while Petronas-led Pacific Northwest LNG is more cautious in its reaction.
The "flurry of LNG proposals this year from Washington D.C. has totally freaked out B.C. and got the wheel turning," Gregor Macdonald tweets.
Earlier: B.C. to require world's lowest LNG emissions.
FMC Technologies (NYSE:FTI) recorded a 46% increase to Q3 earnings, beating Wall Street expectations, due primarily to a rise in subsea technology sales and its North American high-pressure fluid control business.
Earnings in FTI's subsea technology segment jumped 69% Y/Y to $204.4M, while income from the surface technology business gained 47% to $109.5M; also, FTI tallied a $5.9B backlog of subsea technology orders.
"Quarterly subsea margins are at the highest level we have delivered in over four years,” according to FTI CEO John Gremp.
Issues in-line guidance for FY 2014, seeing EPS of $2.75-$2.85 vs. $2.81 analyst consensus estimate; guidance includes $0.07/share charge related to an inter-company foreign currency transaction in Q3.
Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) debt rating is cut one notch to Baa2 with a negative outlook by Moody's, which says the company’s leverage is high and likely to rise.
PBR's debt has increased $25B in H1 of this year to $170B, pushing the ratio of total debt to adjusted earnings to 5.3x, Moody’s says, adding that the company’s earnings are hurt by its inability to raise local prices for oil products.
The Baa2 rating is the second-lowest investment grade and in line with the rating for Brazil’s government debt.
Global Hunter revisits its commodity price outlook, now moving to $83 long-term oil vs. $85 previously, applying a higher discount rate to future cash flows and modeling more conservative assumptions with regards to future rig activity, which results in downward revisions for several exploration and production stocks price targets and some rating changes (Briefing.com).
Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC), Gulfport Energy (NASDAQ:GPOR) and Rex Energy (NASDAQ:REXX) are upgraded to Buy; Talisman Energy (NYSE:TLM) is raised to Speculative Buy from Neutral.
Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), Hess (NYSE:HES), Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) and Kosmos Energy (NYSE:KOS) are upgraded to Accumulate from Neutral.
Cobalt Energy (NYSE:CIE) is downgraded to Speculative Buy from Buy.
A 2015 deepwater market recovery is not the cards as oil companies head into budgeting season amid a shaky oil price outlook, with no reversal of negative news flow soon although it is already well appreciated by Wall Street, Morgan Stanley’s Ole Slorer and Jacob Ng say.
The firm views a group inflection boiling down to an improving oil price outlook, and recommends sticking with premium asset exposure via Seadrill (SDRL +6.1%) and Atwood Oceanics (ATW +4.1%) in the meantime.
The market already appears to be pricing in dividend cuts, with current yields now well above historical trading ranges, Stanley says while still seeing relative safety in yieldcos Transocean Partners (RIGP -0.5%) and Seadrill Partners (SDLP +4.1%), which should continue to offer strong distribution growth profiles driven by parent need for funding.
While retaining Equal Weight ratings on both Noble (NE +3.9%) and Ensco (ESV +3.1%), Stanley sees higher total return upside in NE (~25%) vs. ESV (~10%) over the next few months.
Crestwood Midstream Partners (CMLP +3%) says it successfully completed a non-binding open season to assess early interest in a proposed pipeline connecting its New England system to planned infrastructure in the region.
CMLP says it had received natural gas commitments of 700M cf/day to be transported on a 30-mile pipeline linking to a system owned by its Central New York Oil & Gas subsidiary.
New England has been a major destination for midstream investment due to a growing electricity and home heating market; last winter, a shortage of natural gas sent prices soaring and threatened to interrupt the region’s electricity generation.
Magnegas (MNGA -17.7%) is sharply lower after entering into various agreements with an institutional investor for $5M in gross financing, including an issue of 3M common shares at $1 each.
MNGA plans to use $3M of the net proceeds for the acquisition of a regional gas distributor in Florida and the balance of the proceeds for general corporate purposes, including working capital and potential acquisitions.
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) says it has signed agreements to sell all the Nigerian oil assets it put up for sale last year, as it continues to reduce its exposure to the area amid violence and rampant oil theft.
Shell says that, together with its partners Total (NYSE:TOT) and Eni (NYSE:E), it signed an agreement to sell OML 18 to a consortium led by Canadian oil and gas company Mart Resources (OTCPK:MAUXF); it has now made sale and purchase agreements for four oil blocks, and made an agreement for the Nembe Creek Trunk Line pipeline.
Shell also reportedly has agreed to sell another productive Nigerian oil block, Oil Mining License 29, and an associated pipeline, to a local consortium.
Kinder Morgan Partners' (KMI, KMP) C$5.4B ($4.8B) Trans Mountain expansion, once seen as the best near-term hope for sending more of Canada's oil sands to Asia, is hitting a mountain of opposition from aboriginal communities intent on using the courts to block the proposed expansion.
Other opponents include environmental groups and municipal leaders like the mayor of Burnaby, the Vancouver suburb that houses the existing pipeline terminus and its marine facilities.
Although objections from local politicians and activists already have caused the National Energy Board to delay its final report on the project by more than six months to Jan. 2016, KMP says it plans to bring the project online in 2018 and remains confident it will stay on budget.
VE says it was chosen by a subsidiary of Hebei Iron & Steel to build a wastewater treatment facility and to recycle and cool water for a coking plant and gas liquefaction facility in a corridor linking two major regions of northeast and north China.
Gazprom, which finalized a $400B deal to ship gas to China earlier this year, says gas transportation projects include the one to export gas to Beijing, Power of Siberia, as well as South Stream to bypass Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission are holding talks today trying to resolve the issue around the price Ukraine pays for Russian gas and its debt.