Mon, Jan. 26, 5:13 PM
- Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) agrees to pay $119M under a preliminary settlement with Oklahoma mineral rights owners who accused the company of improper royalty payments dating back to 2004.
- Landowners accused CHK of improperly withholding royalty money and charging them for the costs of processing and transporting gas; the class action lawsuit affects more than 11,800 wells in Oklahoma.
- CHK has faced similar lawsuits in Pennsylvania and other places where it operates.
Fri, Jan. 23, 3:44 PM
- Chesapeake Energy (CHK +0.3%) is upgraded to Outperform from Neutral with a $24 price target, up from $21, at Credit Suisse, which cites attractive relative valuation, a much improved balance sheet that has investment grade qualities, and the firm's expectation that CHK could utilize its newly found financial strength to make a counter-cyclical M&A transaction to upgrade its asset base.
- The firm says CHK's increase in its net asset value reflects the accretive nature of the recent Marcellus asset sale to Southwestern Energy, which was “the key transformative deal" for CHK and has the potential to “meaningfully enhance the company’s credit" and leaves CHK’s balance sheet as one of the strongest in the peer group.
- Credit Suisse's upgrade comes even as the firm downgrades several energy names, including Exxon and Chevron.
Tue, Jan. 20, 11:33 AM
- Chesapeake Energy (CHK +1.9%) moves higher as a report speculates that the company could be a potential acquisition target of India's ONGC.
- India's government has directed state-run ONGC to make some acquisitions to hedge themselves against higher energy prices in the future, and reportedly considers CHK a strong strategic target, given its recent sales, balance sheet and diversification through two commodities.
- The report says ONGC could already be in talks with a North American gas and oil company, with CHK believed to be the target.
Wed, Jan. 14, 3:49 PM
- "If you think the long-term price of oil is going to be $45 per barrel, there's basically nothing in this sector it makes any sense to own," Oakmark Funds' Bill Nygren tells CNBC, but he quickly adds he doesn't expect that. Checking futures out five years, the price is $70 per barrel, and a look at cost of production - near $70 - means production is going to be shutting down at current prices.
- One energy sector pick is Chesapeake Energy (CHK +5%). There's a stale perception of the stock, says Nygren, of a company designed to grow the top line as much as possible. But new management is laser-focused on maximizing rate of return, and their work at deleveraging the balance sheet is now allowing buybacks.
- Nygren's also liking General Electric (GE -0.4%), noting its underperformance - nearly 2000 basis points over the past year - and discounted valuation means the company only has to be average for the stock to go up. He also takes note of the new CFO as changing the focus to cash returns rather than reported earnings.
Wed, Jan. 14, 2:35 PM
- Barclays downgrades the large-cap E&P sector to Negative from Neutral and the small- and mid-cap E&P group to Negative from Positive, arguing that downside risk outweigh potential gains even if oil prices recover.
- Equity investors are pricing in WTI crude assumptions of close to $75/bbl in 2016 compared to current strip prices of ~$57, Barclays says, also noting that an abundance of relatively cheap oil supply from U.S. producers could further delay a price recovery.
- Among specific names, the firm downgrades CHK, SD, REN and HK to Underweight; DVN, CLR, KOS, MRO, RSPP and WLL are cut to equal weight.
- At the same time, Barclays picked a few favorites, upgrading Range Resources (NYSE:RRC) to Overweight from Equal Weight, and maintained Overweight ratings on large-cap E&P companies CNQ, EOG and NBL; among small- and mid-cap E&P names, the firm favors AR, CXO and XEC.
- ETFs: XOP, IEO, PXE
Tue, Jan. 13, 12:47 PM
- Traders smelling blood - or oil - in the water have piled into shorts against energy E&P companies, with short interest jumping a total of 12% for the final two weeks of 2014, according to Sterne Agee analysts using NYSE data.
- Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS) led a 45.9% jump in short interest, followed by Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) with a 45.2% increase and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) short growth of 31.9%.
- Sterne Agee energy analyst Tim Rezvan thinks the shorts are on the right side of the oil trade for the foreseeable future, believing a break below $40/bbl "wouldn't be a surprise in the short term."
- Short positions did not increase for all companies, as short growth fell for Viper Energy Partners (NASDAQ:VNOM), Callon Petroleum (NYSE:CPE), Energen (NYSE:EGN) and PetroQuest Energy (NYSE:PQ), among others.
Mon, Jan. 12, 3:17 PM
- Goldman Sachs upgrades a few energy stocks even as it cast a pall of gloom over most of the sector today (I, II, III), raising Chesapeake Energy (CHK -3.6%) to Buy from Neutral and Parsley Energy (PE -4.2%) to Neutral from Sell as potential "shale sale" winners.
- Despite PE's relative vulnerability to lower oil prices because of its weak balance sheet and negative projected free cash, Goldman has more confidence that its core Permian Basin position makes it an attractive M&A target.
- Among potential "shale scale" winners - companies that either can build positions in the core and reduce costs of capital - the firm's favorites remain EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), Range Resources (NYSE:RRC), Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD), Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) and Concho Resources (NYSE:CXO).
- However, Goldman cuts Bill Barrett (BBG -8.3%) to Sell from Neutral, seeing greater downside risk to its production in a lower oil price environment, and lowers Eclipse Resources (ECR -1.5%) to Neutral from Buy due to a persistently wide funding gap through 2017 coupled with a weak balance sheet.
Wed, Jan. 7, 7:35 PM
- Energy bonds have become one of the riskiest sectors in the bond market, as the cost of buying five-year credit default swaps protecting $10M of bonds has jumped from $139K/year last June to $377K today for companies in the S&P/ISDA CDS U.S. Energy Select 10 Index.
- The index consists of 10 large major energy companies: APC, APA, CHK, COP, DVN, OTCQB:FSTO, HAL, BTU, VLO and WMB.
- Even though most of the companies boast investment-grade ratings, it now costs more to insure bonds in that index against default than it costs to insure bonds of an average junk-rated company, according to S&P.
Tue, Jan. 6, 10:59 AM
- A warm start to winter is disappointing investors who bet U.S. natural gas producers would offer a refuge from falling oil prices, as gas futures settled at a two-year low $2.882/MMBtu yesterday after dropping 32% in 2014.
- Among the 10 worst performers on the S&P’s Exploration & Production Index since June 20 - when oil was $107.26/bbl and gas was $4.53 - seven are companies that produce more than 50% gas; since June 20, Chesapeake Energy (CHK -1.3%) has declined 37%, Range Resources (RRC -0.7%) has dropped 41%, and Southwestern Energy (SWN -1.6%) has plunged 45%.
- The gas market “looks terrible” for 2015 and “has been structurally oversupplied for years," Raymond James analyst Marshall Adkins says as he cuts his forecast for average 2015 Henry Hub gas prices to $3/Mcf from $3.65, citing normal weather that will “unmask the bearish underpinning of the U.S. gas market."
- ETFs: UNG, DGAZ, UGAZ, BOIL, GAZ, FCG, GASL, KOLD, UNL, DCNG
Mon, Jan. 5, 12:18 PM
- Energy stocks severely underperform the broader market, with the sector -4.2% vs. the S&P 500's -1.4%, as U.S. oil prices briefly slip below $50/bbl for the first time since April 2009; Nymex crude recently was -4.4% at $50.37, while Brent crude -5.9% at $53.08.
- Among the day's biggest losers: DNR -9%, RIG -7.6%, NBR -4.8%, CHK -5.9%, SDRL -9.1%, SD -12.3%, NOV -5.9%, PSX -6.2%, APA -5.9%, DVN -4.4%, EOG -6%, SU -5.2%, OXY -4.2%, APC -8.7%, PWE -9%, ECA -5.5%, MRO -5.3%.
- Global oil majors, which have been seen as less vulnerable to falling oil prices, are posting big losses: XOM -2.7%, COP -4.5%, CVX -3.8%, BP -5.8%, RDS.A -4.6%, TOT -6.5%.
- ETFs: USO, XLE, OIL, UCO, ERX, VDE, OIH, SCO, XOP, ERY, FCG, DIG, PBW, BNO, GASL, DTO, DBO, DUG, IYE, XES, IEO, QCLN, IEZ, UWTI, PXE, USL, PXI, FENY, DWTI, PXJ, DNO, PSCE, RYE, SZO, PUW, FXN, OLO, DDG, HECO, TWTI, OLEM
Dec. 23, 2014, 12:33 PM
- Chesapeake Energy (CHK +7.9%) and Southwestern Energy (SWN -2.2%) are headed in opposite directions today after SWN's $5.4B price tag on its purchase of Marcellus Shale assets from CHK is the most the company has ever paid in an acquisition.
- At ~$13K/acre, CHK's 413K net acres, wells and equipment fetched a price that energy producers typically have been paying for land soaked in oil, not gas, analysts say; SWN "paid literally 2x or 3x times more than any gas deal we’ve seen in the last few years... 20% higher than anyone would have thought,” according to Wunderlich's Jason Wangler.
- In a conference call today, SWN CEO Steve Mueller said the company believes the acreage has more than enough potential to grow to a size that would justify the high price, and investors will see “significant cash flow in just a few years.”
- Sterne Agee's Tim Rezvan says the deal proved recent speculation on CHK's ability to close its previously announced sale to SWN unfounded and opens up CHK's road to investment grade credit.
Dec. 23, 2014, 9:18 AM
Dec. 22, 2014, 4:37 PM
- Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) +3.2% AH after closing its asset sale to Southwestern Energy (NYSE:SWN) for net proceeds of $4.975B, $400M less than expected due to a settlement for various items, including SWN's waiver of any future claims related to title defects and environmental liabilities.
- The properties sold to SWN consist of ~413K net acres and 1,500 wells located in West Virginia and Pennsylvania with 57K boe/day in net production, along with related property, plant and equipment.
- Also, CHK's board authorizes a $1B stock buyback program.
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. 19, 2014, 10:37 AM
- Even some of Wall Street's big boys are taking a beating in the oil sector: Carl Icahn’s holdings of Talisman Energy (NYSE:TLM) have tumbled $230M since late August, and John Paulson’s firm had one of its largest losses of the year on a bet that big oil companies would buy smaller ones.
- Before TLM agreed to be bought by Repsol, which boosted TLM shares, Icahn's losses stood at more than $540M as recently as Dec. 11, and he still will have lost ~$290M at the deal price; Icahn also holds stakes in hard-hit Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) and Transocean (NYSE:RIG).
- Paulson was the biggest shareholder in Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) and Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS) at the end of Q3, but his strategy could yet pay off, as many analysts expect consolidation in the energy sector as lower oil prices pressure smaller firms.
- Also caught flat-footed by the oil price pullback was Prosperity Capital’s Mattias Westman, a longtime investor in Russia whose firm has lost more than $1B this year, in part on stakes in Russian energy companies Gazprom (OTCPK:OGZPY) and Lukoil (OTCPK:LUKOY, OTC:LUKOF).
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.
CHK vs. ETF Alternatives
Chesapeake Energy Corp is a natural gas and oil exploration and production company. It explores, develops and acquires properties for the production of natural gas and crude oil from underground reservoirs and also provides marketing & midstream services.
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