Today, 10:57 AM
- Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) is among oil companies that are scaling back investments in China amid falling prices and expensive and geologically risky projects, WSJ reports.
- Shell isn't alone: In the past year, Anadarko (NYSE:APC) and Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) have completed deals to sell operations in China, Hess (NYSE:HES) says it is quitting a shale exploration deal with PetroChina, and BP has withdrawn from three exploratory blocks in the South China Sea.
- "These companies thought $100 oil was going to stay," says the regional head of Asia-Pacific oil and gas research at Nomura. "They have to prioritize the projects based on returns, and the projects in China tend to be lower return, other things being equal, simply because of higher costs."
Fri, Mar. 20, 5:20 PM
- Despite the steep drop in energy prices, most investment-grade E&P companies face little risk of default because they are well-managed, diversified and have plenty of cash, according to analyst Philip Adams of bond rating firm Gimme Credit.
- Companies Adams believes are in strong positions - with a starting cash position greater than his estimated free cash flow deficit - include Suncor (NYSE:SU), Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Hess (NYSE:HES) and Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC).
- Adams is “throwing in the towel" on only one company: WPX Energy (NYSE:WPX).
- He expects energy prices will rise this year due to less drilling, disruptions in countries such as Libya and new regulations that curtail fracking, but warns that the glut will worsen if Iran rejoins the market.
Wed, Mar. 18, 3:43 PM
- Stifel analysts say oil prices could be headed even lower, but that investors should buy high quality E&P companies with strong assets and/or balance sheets before prices bottom.
- Stifel says the current cycle resembles previous patterns where large-cap E&P stocks lead the oil price, which in turn leads the rig count, thus the firm does not expect shares of the strong companies to track an oil price bottom; small-cap energy stocks, however, followed oil prices closely through the last cycle and even lagged the commodity’s recovery.
- The firm is favorably disposed to Anadarko Petroleum (APC +2.4%), Cabot Oil & Gas (COG +1%), EOG Resources (EOG +4.2%), Noble Energy (NBL +5.3%), Rosetta Resources (ROSE +5.3%) and Whiting Petroleum (WLL +8.6%).
Wed, Mar. 18, 10:12 AM
- Anadarko Petroleum (APC +0.2%) says it will exercise its option to purchase a 20% equity interest in the 550-mile Saddlehorn pipeline planned by Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP -0.8%) and Plains All-American Pipeline (PAA -0.6%).
- The pipeline is aimed to transport crude out of the DJ Basin and potentially the broader Rocky Mountain region, and into storage facilities in Cushing, Okla.; MMP and PAA will each own 40% interests in the pipeline, with MMP as the construction manager and pipeline operator.
- Saddlehorn will have a maximum capacity of 400K bbl/day, but initial capacity is targeted at ~200K bbl/day.
- The project is estimated to cost $800M-$850M and should go online in mid-2016.
Tue, Mar. 17, 7:40 PM
- Crude oil production at three major U.S. shale oil fields - the Eagle Ford in south Texas, the Bakken in North Dakota, and the Niobrara in Colorado and adjacent states - is projected to fall this month for the first time in six years, the Energy Information Administration says.
- Net production from the three fields is expected to drop by a combined 24K bbl/day, but overall losses likely will be masked by production gains in the Permian Basin in west Texas and other regions.
- It is one of the first signs that idling hundreds of drilling rigs and billions of dollars in corporate cutbacks are starting to affect the U.S. oil patch, but it also shows that drilling technology and techniques have advanced to the point that productivity gains may be negligible in some shale plays.
- Top Eagle Ford producers: EOG, BHP, COP, CHK, MRO, APC
- Top Bakken producers: CLR, EOG, WLL, HES, XOM, OAS, NOG, EOX, MRO
- Top Niobrara producers: NBL, APC, ECA, CHK, EOG, WPX
Tue, Mar. 17, 7:12 PM
- Most of the top 15 shale oil producers in the U.S. are heavily concentrated in basins expected by NavPort to be severely affected by the decline in prices, with one major exception: ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP).
- COP has the lowest well completion concentration in basins expected to suffer the greatest production cuts this year, implying less disruption than other shale competitors, according to NavPort, which collates oil well and rig data using regulatory reports.
- All 14 of the other top producers tracked by NavPort have at least two-thirds of well completion concentrated in the basins rated with "strong" or "severe" exposure: CHK, APC, EOG, DVN, SWN, MRO, APA, SD, XOM, CLR, PXD, NBL, BHP, WLL.
- Operators concentrated in basins that have been less severely affected - such as the Woodford, Utica and Haynesville basins - should enjoy more production than their peers through a higher volume of well completions, NavPort says.
- The study sees the Mississippi Lime, Granite Wash, Bakken and Permian basins suffering at least a 40% Y/Y reduction in drilling.
Tue, Mar. 17, 2:28 PM
- The positives clearly outweigh the negatives for E&P stocks such as EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) and Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL), J.P. Morgan's Joseph Allman says of his three preferred stocks in the sector.
- Allman is "slightly bullish" on the group because of an improving oil market improving, low oil prices with futures in contango, declining service costs, improved wells with new completion designs, and room for improved sentiment as investors remain tentative.
- The best companies - with high quality assets that give investors the most leverage to the best parts of the best plays, plus strong balance sheets and operating and/or financial catalysts - can still perform very well in this market, Allman writes.
Wed, Mar. 11, 11:49 AM
- Whiting Petroleum's (NYSE:WLL) decision to put itself up for sale looks to be just the beginning of a potential wave of consolidation as $50/bbl prices undercut companies with heavy debt and high costs.
- The value of ~75 shale-focused U.S. producers based on their reserves fell by a median of 25% Y/Y by the end of 2014, according to Bloomberg, opening up new opportunities for bigger companies with a better handle on their debt.
- Smaller producers with significant debt that depend on higher prices to make money are the most likely early targets for buyers such as Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) or Chevron (NYSE:CVX), companies that have bided their time for years; XOM CEO Rex Tillerson suggested last week that his company is keeping its eyes open for opportunities.
- A recent analysis by Wolfe Research found the likeliest takeover candidates among major U.S. and Canadian producers included Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), Apache (NYSE:APA), Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) and Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC).
- WLL would be an attractive target for XOM, CVX or Hess (NYSE:HES), all of which have operations in North Dakota and would benefit from scaling up, according to a Bank of America note.
Fri, Mar. 6, 5:57 PM
- Oil drillers expecting prices to rebound have come up with an alternative to storing their crude in tanks: They’re keeping it in the ground, as drillers who have spent millions boring holes through petroleum-rich shale are just waiting for prices to go up before actually turning on the spigot.
- The backlog of unfracked wells is one reason U.S. crude output is poised to climb even as companies have idled more than a third of the rigs that were drilling for oil in October; Continental Resources' (NYSE:CLR) Harold Hamm says ~85% of U.S. wells aren’t being completed right now.
- Examples: Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) says it expects to have as many as 440 uncompleted wells by year's end, EOG started the year with ~200 uncompleted wells and plans to let that inventory build through H1, and Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ) says it has 161 uncompleted wells.
- Initial production from a new well typically is 750-1,000 bbl/day, meaning the "fracklog" could represent as much as 3M bbl/day of new output, at least at the outset - a major reason an oil price recovery will prove to be an extended process, analysts say.
- ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, BNO, DTO, DBO, UWTI, USL, DWTI, DNO, SZO, OLO, TWTI, OLEM
- Earlier: Oil glut's latest dilemma: where to store it all
Thu, Mar. 5, 11:28 AM
- Exxon Mobil (XOM -0.5%), with $17.9B in free cash flow to end 2014, is under much less pressure to cut spending than smaller rivals, which are coming under varying degrees of financial strain amid lower oil prices; 2015 capex is being cut by 12%, a striking display of stability when compared to 30%-40% capex cuts generally announced by small and midsized E&P companies.
- CEO Rex Tillerson says being able to keep spending at rates that others can't provides XOM "a whole lot of different kinds of opportunities” in two main areas: cutting costs and acquiring assets.
- On acquisitions, Tillerson’s comment that “there really is no limitation on what we might be interested in or considering" in terms of possible deals suggests he is prepared to be ambitious.
- While a rumored bid for BP is not impossible, most analysts are doubtful due to the political sensitivities of such a deal and uncertainty about liabilities from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill; Wolfe Research's Paul Sankey thinks XOM is most interested in a U.S.-focused midsized oil company, with “key potential targets” including HES, CLR, DVN, APA and APC.
Tue, Mar. 3, 4:39 PM
- Western Gas Partners (NYSE:WES) agrees to acquire Anadarko Petroleum's (NYSE:APC) 50% interest in the Delaware Basin JV gathering system.
- WES paid no consideration at closing, but agreed to make a future payment in 2020 equal to 8x the average of the asset's 2018 and 2019 EBITDA, less capex incurred by WES from closing through Feb. 29, 2020; based on its current forecast of the asset's performance and capital needs, WES estimates a future payment of $283M.
- WES also provides its 2015 outlook, including expectations for adjusted EBITDA of $725M-$775M and capex of $675M-$745M; sees WES distribution growth of no less than 15%, and distribution growth for Western Gas Equity Partners (NYSE:WGP) of no less than 30%.
Tue, Mar. 3, 9:51 AM
- Anadarko Petroleum (APC +0.6%) says it will cut capital spending for 2015 by roughly a third to $5.4B-$5.8B from last year’s $9.3B, joining many of its energy peers in choosing to reduce investments for the short-term rather than pursue year-over-year growth.
- APC also plans to reduce its U.S. onshore rig activity by 40% and defer ~125 onshore well completions.
- Also anticipates ~5% Y/Y oil sales volume growth in 2015 to 295M-301M boe, and sees total Q1 sales volumes of 79M-82M boe.
Tue, Feb. 24, 9:15 AM
- Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE:EPD), Anadarko (NYSE:APC), DCP Midstream (NYSE:DPM) and MarkWest (NYSE:MWE) announce the formation of a joint venture under which EPD will assign 45% ownership interest in its wholly owned Panola natural gas liquids pipeline.
- EPD will retain a 55% interest and continue to serve as operator of the Panola pipeline; the remaining 45% will be split evenly among the other partners.
- The Texas-based Panola pipeline transports natural gas liquids to Mont Belvieu; following a successful open season, EPD recently announced plans to install 60 miles of new pipeline as part of an expansion project designed to increase capacity by 50K bbl/day.
Thu, Feb. 12, 2:14 PM
- If Exxon Mobil (XOM +1.6%) decides to go hunting for struggling energy peers with shrinking cash flow - as it did five years ago when it acquired XTO Resources for $25B, during an energy rout worse than today's - it would need to go big or not go at all in order to meaningfully boost its oil and gas reserves, WSJ writes as it discusses BP (BP +2.1%) as a potential takeover target.
- BP “is the obvious fit says Wolfe Research's Paul Sankey; buying BP, which is still dealing with the fallout of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, “would close out a damaged brand at a terrific price” and bolster XOM’s capacity to find new sources of oil and gas, he says.
- Other potentially attractive targets singled out by analysts include a smaller tier of companies such as Anadarko (APC +1.9%) and BG Group (OTCPK:BRGXF, OTCQX:BRGYY), which have discovered huge deposits of oil and gas but may lack the cash flow to develop them quickly.
Thu, Feb. 12, 11:33 AM
- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is proposing a new 5% severance tax on natural gas extraction in the state, saying the measure could generate $1B or more.
- The measure could face some pushback in the state's Republican-controlled legislature, but some kind of fracking tax could pass, as lawmakers from both parties already have proposed taxes from 3.2% to 8%.
- Like other major natural gas producing states, Pennsylvania already has a severance tax on the value of the gas extracted at the wellhead.
- Top Marcellus Shale producers include CHK, RRC, RDS.A, RDS.B, TLM, APC, ATLS, COG, CVX, CNX, EQT, EOG, XOM, WPX, XCO, CRZO, SWN, AR.
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