Dec. 22, 2014, 7:10 PM
- While the U.S. government wants BP to pay $16B-$18B in fines related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the company is opening the latest round of its legal battle by arguing in a court filing that it should pay a lesser penalty partly because of the falling price of crude oil.
- In a filing to the Louisiana District Court, BP suggests that "a per-barrel penalty at the lower end of the statutory range would satisfy the goals of [the Clean Water Act].”
- Judge Barbier in New Orleans will conduct a non-jury trial next month to set pollution fines for BP and its well partner, Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC).
- Meanwhile, BP says it signed a joint venture deal with Azerbaijan's Socar to explore for and develop potential prospects in the shallow water area around the Absheron Peninsula of the Caspian Sea.
Dec. 22, 2014, 10:45 AM
- Natural gas prices fall 9.5% to near two-year lows at $3.133/mmBtu, in the biggest one-day percentage loss since February and the lowest intraday price since January 2013, on mild weather forecasts and inventory that is above year-ago levels.
- Prices are now down more than 15% in three straight losing sessions and are 30% lower than the six-month high closing price of $4.489/mmBtu it hit just a month ago.
- Weather has been unseasonably warm for December, limiting demand for home heating and allowing relatively low stockpiles to catch up to where they were a year ago and encouraging traders to sell based on the belief that supply is relatively healthy.
- Gas producers are among the biggest early decliners: XOM -1.1%, CHK -7.3%, APC -2.6%, SWN -6%, DVN -2.2%, COP -2.3%, BP -1.5%, COG -4%, BHP -1.9%, CVX -1.3%, ECA -5.1%, EQT -4.3%, RDS.A -1.7%, UPL -12%, WPX -6.9%, EOG -1%, OXY -1.1%, RRC -6.1%, APA -2.3%, AR -3.2%, CNX -3%, QEP -4.8%, LINE -4.9%, NBL -1.6%, SM -2.6%, XEC -4.2%, PXD -2.9%, NFX -5.1%.
- ETFs: UNG, DGAZ, UGAZ, BOIL, GAZ, FCG, GASL, KOLD, UNL, NAGS, DCNG
Dec. 17, 2014, 2:20 PM
- New York Gov. Cuomo's administration says it will ban fracking statewide, citing health concerns and what it considers as limited economic benefits to drilling.
- NY's acting health commissioner said at a cabinet meeting in Albany today that studies on fracking’s effects on water, air and soil are inconsistent, incomplete and raise too many “red flags” for the state to allow it; the state Department of Environmental Conservation will now issue a legally-binding recommendation prohibiting fracking.
- The state has had a de facto moratorium on fracking for more than six years, so nothing really changes with today's decision.
- Parts of New York sit atop the gas-rich Marcellus shale formation, whose top producers include CHK, RRC, RDS.A, RDS.B, TLM, APC, ATLS, COG, CVX, CNX, EQT, EOG, XOM, WPX, XCO, CRZO, SWN, AR.
Dec. 16, 2014, 7:21 PM
- "Low oil prices cure low oil prices,” meaning that low oil prices will take supply off line - primarily shale oil production in North America - and eventually prices will recover; if that maxim becomes reality, then it could be time pick up select energy stocks today at cheap prices, some analysts say.
- U.S. Global Investors' Brian Hicks, who believes oil is oversold, favors Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) for its low-cost Eagle Ford acreage purchased earlier this year, solid cash flow, and significant hedges in place on 2015 production; he also likes oil services companies Noble Corp. (NYSE:NE) and Helmerich & Payne (NYSE:HP).
- Hodges Capital's Michael Breard likes North American oil producers that have the flexibility to shift to natural gas - where prices are more likely to hold up, he says - such as Matador Resources (NYSE:MTDR), Comstock Resources (NYSE:CRK) and Panhandle Oil and Gas (NYSE:PHX).
- Deutsche Bank analysts like companies with the balance sheet strength to survive, but also the budget flexibility, asset quality and performance record to suggest they can return to growth when energy prices go back up, including Anadarko (NYSE:APC), EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), Cimarex (NYSE:XEC) and Concho Resources (NYSE:CXO).
Dec. 5, 2014, 5:38 PM
- The Eagle Ford shale formation in south Texas produced its billionth barrel of oil some time last month, according to analysts at research firm Wood Mackenzie.
- Eagle Ford now accounts for 16% of total U.S. oil production, and the firm forecasts E&P spending of $30.8B in the region next year, ~22% of the total $139.3B expected in U.S. onshore spending.
- Eagle Ford is widely considered the most profitable U.S. shale field, and many analysts speculate the break-even price for production to remain profitable is ~$50/bbl in much of the play.
- Top Eagle Ford producers include EOG, CHK, COP, MRO, BHP, APC, APA, BP, COG, CRZO, CWEI, CRK, XOM, GDP, HES, MTDR, MUR, NFX, PVA, PXD, ROSE, RDS.A, RDS.B, SN, SM, STO, SFY, TLM, ZAZA
Dec. 2, 2014, 3:13 PM
- Apache (APA -1%), Bill Barrett (BBG -5.6%) and Laredo Petroleum (LPI -4.9%) are downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Mizuho, as the firm lowers its crude oil price deck and views OPEC's decision not to cut production as a structural shift in crude oil markets.
- Although the current excess supply/weak demand situation will be resolved gradually, market fundamentals will increasingly drive crude prices in a ~$70/bbl world, the firm says; in the E&P space, it prefers APC, MRO, FANG, RSPP and RICE.
Dec. 2, 2014, 2:48 PM
- Energy stocks (XLE +1.4%) are posting the day's largest gains among S&P sectors, rebounding from recent losses even as Nymex crude oil fell another $2.05 to $66.97/bbl.
- Refiners Marathon Petroleum (MPC +4%) and Valero (VLO +4.1%) and pipeline operator Williams Cos. (WMB +1.5%) are among the top gainers, while losers include most oil services companies such as Halliburton (HAL -2.2%) and rig operator Transocean (RIG -3.7%).
- Anadarko Petroleum (APC +1.6%), Cimarex Energy (XEC +1%), Devon Energy (DVN +0.7%), EOG Resources (EOG +3.8%) and Marathon Oil (MRO +3.5%) were selected top “safe haven” picks for analysts at Tudor Pickering Holt, which said they are “liquid names with high-quality assets and healthy balance sheets."
Nov. 28, 2014, 7:25 AM
- OPEC yesterday decided to hold production numbers despite the bear market in oil. WTI crude is down about $5 per barrel to $69.
- A premarket look at the top 10 holdings of the XLE: Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) -4.1%, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) -4.1%, Schlumberger (NYSE:SLB) -4.6%, ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) -4.4%, EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) -4.3%, Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) -4.8%, Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) -4.3%, Haliburton (NYSE:HAL) -4.7%, Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) -5%, Williams Companies (NYSE:WMB) -1.6%.
- ETFs: ERX, VDE, OIH, XOP, ERY, FCG, DIG, PBW, GASL, DUG, IYE, XES, IEO, QCLN, IEZ, PXE, PXI, FENY, PXJ, PSCE, RYE, PUW, FXN, DDG, HECO
Nov. 25, 2014, 2:46 PM
- "Not surprisingly, billionaires reduced their energy allocations (NYSEARCA:XLE) during Q3," says Direxion, unveiling the quarterly rebalance for the iBillionaire Index (which serves as the benchmark for the IBLN ETF). Attention was instead shifted to healthcare (NYSEARCA:XLV) and materials (NYSEARCA:XLB), with companies like Humana (NYSE:HUM) and Monsanto (NYSE:MON).
- Also added to the index: TMO, GM, FB, CBS, GOOG, MAS, APD, DAL, NOV, WHR, THC, ABBV.
- Dropped from the index: AIG, MCK, CTSH, MSI, RIG, CI, APC, GPS, MSFT, CMCSA, NFLX, MHFI, WMB, ICE.
- Outlying sectors: Consumer Discretionary (NYSEARCA:XLY) makes up 23.33% of the iBillionaire Index vs. 11.68% for the S&P 500, and Industrials (NYSEARCA:XLI) and financials (NYSEARCA:XLF) make up just 6.67% each of the index vs. 10.44 and 16.30 of the S&P 500, respectively. Consumer Staples (NYSEARCA:XLP) have zero representation in the index vs. 9.7% in the S&P 500.
- Previously: Direxion launched an ETF with iBillionaire today
Nov. 21, 2014, 5:55 PM
- Four years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, giant new oil projects are returning to the Gulf of Mexico - bigger and more expensive than ever - even as U.S. oil prices are below $80/bbl at a four-year low.
- New projects alone have the combined capacity to pump ~900K bbl/day: Hess (NYSE:HES) said Monday it had started pumping crude from its deepwater Tubular Bells installation, Exxon (NYSE:XOM) and Anadarko (NYSE:APC) plan to start up two more major Gulf projects in coming months, and Hess, Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and other partners recently OK'd a $6B Gulf development.
- Even BP is returning in a big way, with two Gulf projects and plans to spend $4B/year in the Gulf for the next decade, as it works on technology to drill at greater depths.
- All this is happening even as costs are jumping, partly because companies are drilling farther from shore and in deeper waters; deepwater wells are up to 25% more expensive today than in 2010, and drilling the average deepwater Gulf well takes 13% longer than it did before the 2010 spill.
- Shell’s (RDS.A, RDS.B) 100K bbl/day Olympus, which came online ahead of schedule and under budget, began tapping oil and gas in the Gulf in February; it is also working on a new Gulf project that will tap an oil field under 9,500 feet of water, 3x deeper than Olympus.
Nov. 17, 2014, 3:59 PM
- In the wake of Halliburton's (NYSE:HAL) $34.6B offer for Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), it appears the next hot sector for M&A action is energy: More consolidation is likely, given the weakness for stocks in the oilfield services subsector, low interest rates, and as a drop in demand for oil increases cutthroat pricing competition.
- Speculation is running rampant as investors try to figure out who is next in an industry that is sure to undergo some more consolidation; some names identified as possible candidates include Kodiak Oil and Gas (NYSE:KOG), Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO), Northern Oil and Gas (NYSEMKT:NOG), Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC), Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD).
- GE could go after National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV) to show it is serious about the energy industry after last year’s purchase of pumpmaker Lufkin, Royal Bank of Canada says, and Oppenheimer says even BP could be an acquisition candidate.
- But Morgan Stanley does not see offshore drillers getting in on the action, as larger players like Diamond Offshore (NYSE:DO), Transocean (NYSE:RIG) and Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL) are still addressing dividend concerns while smaller companies such as Atwood Oceanics (NYSE:ATW) and Pacific Drilling (NYSE:PACD) still trade close to replacement value.
Nov. 14, 2014, 4:56 PM
- New developments and the expansion of older oil fields are expected to lift deepwater Gulf of Mexico production 18% Y/Y to 1.9M boe/day in 2016, the first new production peak seen since 2009, according to Wood Mackenzie’s latest outlook.
- However, production is expected to plateau for the remainder of the decade following the 2016 peak due to the depletion of legacy fields and a limited number of new projects coming onstream.
- Among top Gulf producers: RDS.A, RDS.B, BP, CVX, BHP, APC, APA, HES, E, EXXI.
Nov. 13, 2014, 5:39 PM
- Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) has suspended some operations in Colorado after a Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) worker was killed and two others were seriously injured at an APC well site in the Wattenberg oil and gas field.
- The workers were trying to heat a high-pressure water line that had frozen in record-breaking cold conditions, when it ruptured.
Nov. 11, 2014, 2:52 PM
- Count BofA's Doug Leggate among analysts seeing an opportunity to become contrarian bullish on the energy sector, which he says is now discounting $75 oil.
- His top picks in the sector are Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) and Hess (NYSE:HES), while Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) and Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) justify another look; also, pure play gas names Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG), Range Resources (NYSE:RRC) and Southwestern Energy (NYSE:SWN) remain Buy rated.
- On the technical side, BofA's Stephen Suttmeier notes the sector hit capitulation levels in mid-October not seen since 2002, suggesting the worst is over and energy is poised to build a base and head higher.
- Earlier: Top energy stocks may have bottomed even if oil has not, J.P. Morgan says.
Nov. 11, 2014, 11:26 AM
- A new report from J.P. Morgan says hammered stocks in the energy exploration and production sector may have bottomed, even if the price of oil hasn’t yet.
- JPM says investors looking to buy energy stocks should buy the E&P names with operational momentum and strong balance sheets, including Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) and EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), which the firm sees as potential takeover candidates.
- The firm also likes Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL), Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) and Cimarex Energy (NYSE:XEC).
Nov. 11, 2014, 3:25 AM
- Clearing the final hurdle for its cleanup settlement, Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) has received the green-light from a federal judge to pay $5.15B to resolve pollution claims against its Kerr-McGee unit.
- The deal, reached in April, settled a lawsuit against Anadarko from creditors of Tronox (NYSE:TROX), the paint materials maker that was once a unit of Kerr-McGee.
- The bankruptcy judge who oversaw Tronox's Chapter 11 case and presided over the trial, approved the deal in May.
- Previously: Confirmed: Anadarko settles Tronox cleanup case for $5.15B
- Previously: Anadarko Petroleum's $5.15B pollution settlement approved by judge
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