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Fri, Jul. 24, 12:54 PM
- No new well completion reports have been filed in North Dakota since July 10, the longest gap this year, according to the state’s Department of Mineral Resources.
- The slump in reported completions is unusual and coincides with the fall in oil prices which has seen wellhead prices for Bakken crude drop below $50/bbl; Reuters' John Kemp says if the slump continues for much longer, it could be a sign that shale producers are deferring putting more wells into production to save cash and wait for better prices.
- The number of wells reported completed so far in July is running far below the previous level and well below the number the DMR estimates is needed to hold production steady, Kemp writes.
- Top Bakken producers include CLR, HES, EOG, WLL, XOM, OAS, NOG, EOX, MRO
Wed, Jul. 22, 2:37 PM
- A reduction in non-OPEC production eventually will provide an opportunity for U.S. producers to get back in the game, Credit Suisse analyst Mark Lear says as he upgrades the oil and gas E&P sector to Overweight and changes ratings for several individual stocks.
- Lear sees a handful of names with limited downside at WTI prices of ~$60/bbl and “decent” upside with prices in the $70’s, and expects a better year for natural gas in 2016 as dropoffs in production and higher demand could lead to higher winter prices.
- "We may be early,” but Credit Suisse assumes coverage at Outperform on some E&P stocks: EOG, EPE, PXD, DNR, APC, DVN.
- Upgraded to Outperform from Neutral: HES, CXO, CRZO, NBL
- Upgraded to Neutral from Underperform: MUR.
- Assumed coverage at Neutral: APA, DNR
- Assumed at Underperform: SD, SWN
- Downgraded to Underperform from Neutral: REXX, CRK
Thu, Jul. 16, 2:57 PM
- Global oil majors have $150B of firepower than can be used for M&A and have the ability to defer another $325B in capex on marginal projects; with so much cash available for potential deals and up to 15M bbl/day of production potentially available for purchase, Goldman Sachs analyst Ruth Brooker sees a pickup in M&A activity in the oil and gas space coming soon.
- The firm thinks shale production has the potential to double by 2025, and Brooker argues majors likely will take the current opportunity to increase their exposure to U.S. shale at historically low prices.
- Goldman sees seven companies as most likely to draw buyout attention from the majors: EOG, PXD, CLR, COG, NBL, APC, RRC.
Mon, Jul. 13, 5:38 PM
- Weakness in oil stocks should not be used as a buying opportunity, Barclays analysts say, viewing shares as significantly overvalued and appearing to discount an average oil price of $85-$90/bbl based on group average historical multiples.
- The firm removes Newfield Exploration (NYSE:NFX) and Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) from its list of top oil and gas stocks, leaving only Canadian Natural Resource (NYSE:CNQ), EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), Southwestern Energy (NYSE:SWN), Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL) and Concho Resources (NYSE:CXO).
- Barclays' bottom group consists of five Underweight rated stocks - CHK, OTCQX:COSWF, PXD, OXY and UPL - while WPX Energy (NYSE:WPX) is bumped off the bottom list to reflect an improved outlook as well as a 20%-plus share price decline.
Wed, Jul. 8, 3:49 PM
- The U.S. E&P industry is "between a rock and a hard place" entering earnings season, Deutsche Bank says, expecting continued headwinds for the group; while momentum has been building for moderate acceleration in activity levels in H2, macro concerns from China to Greece have weighed on crude prices and introduced an “additional layer of uncertainty.”
- Among the major integrated oils, the firm prefers EOG Resources (EOG -2.5%) and Anadarko Petroleum (APC -2.8%) into Q2 results but cuts its stock price target for Marathon Petroleum (MPC -2.6%) in half to $62.
- U.S. refiners, on the other hand, continue to defy fears of a collapse in margins, with demand strength and robust gasoline cracks again driving upside to earnings estimates; the firm sees 7% upside on average to current Q2 estimates for the group, with particular strength from Tesoro (TSO -1.2%), Valero (VLO -0.9%) and HollyFrontier (HFC -1.4%).
Tue, Jul. 7, 11:49 AM
- Jefferies upgrades its ratings on Anadarko Petroleum (APC +0.3%), EOG Resources (EOG -0.1%) and Noble Energy (NBL -1.5%), citing “more realistic embedded oil price and growth.”
- APC is lifted to Buy from Hold with an $88 price target, raised from $85, as the firm notes increased confidence in “a deep, future Delaware Basin (Wolfcamp) development, the potential for opportunistic monetizations (i.e., Mozambique, WGP shares) and a now more attractive valuation.”
- EOG and NBL are raised to Hold from Underperform following recent pressure on the shares, which now better reflect “a slower ramp.”
Tue, Jun. 16, 5:45 PM
- The strained finances at U.S. E&P shale companies caused by collapsing crude oil prices is well known, and some analysts say the pain may be compounded by a steep drop in prices for natural gas liquids caused by oversupply, partly due to infrastructure constraints.
- SM Energy (NYSE:SM) said yesterday the price it is receiving for NGLs at the Mont Belvieu delivery point fell 36% Q/Q to $16.67/bbl and that the price declines would lower its 2015 total budgeted revenue by ~$25M while not affecting its drilling or production.
- Barclays recently said Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) could see 2016 cash flow cut by up to 3% if NGL price weakness persists, while Range Resources (NYSE:RRC) may see its cash flow cut by up to 5%; APC, DVN, PXD, QEP, SWN, ECA and EOG also could see reduced cash flow related to NGL pricing, the firm said.
- Analysts at Tudor Pickering have a more optimistic view and expect an NGL pricing recovery next year, as cresting U.S. nat gas and crude production looks to be flat-to-declining through 2016, giving U.S. infrastructure time to catch up; the firm upgrades SWN to Accumulate from Hold, with GPOR, MRD, COG, RICE and ECA as other top picks, and UPL and EQT recommended on weakness.
- ETFs: UNG, UGAZ, DGAZ, BOIL, GAZ, KOLD, UNL, DCNG
Fri, Jun. 12, 6:44 PM
- North Dakota oil production fell 1.8%, or nearly 22K bbl/day, in April to ~1.17M bbl/day after recording a surprising jump in March, as weak crude prices led producers to ease production.
- The number of drilling rigs operating in North Dakota stands at 76, the lowest since December 2009, according to the latest monthly report from the state's Department of Mineral Resources.
- The agency director has said he expects the state’s oil production to remain at 1.1M-1.2M bbl/day until oil prices recover.
- April natural gas production was up slightly at 1.54B cf/day from 1.51B cf/day in March.
- Unimpressed commentator Gregor McDonald tweets: "Sorry America, but 9,525 wells in the North Dakota Bakken producing on average 116 bbl/day is more cartoon than triumph."
- Top Bakken producers include: CLR, EOG, XOM, HES, COP. MRO, WLL, OAS, NOG, EOX
Thu, Jun. 11, 10:57 AM
- Valero Energy (VLO +3.2%) and EOG Resources (EOG -0.1%) are maintained with Conviction List Buy ratings at Goldman Sachs, which says higher shale productivity and oil demand are likely to support the performance of the refinery sector.
- Although the firm is neutral on the refiner group after its YTD outperformance, it considers the sector as poised to benefit from higher global product demand growth and improved capture rates from lower oil prices.
- Goldman considers VLO the top pick among refiners, citing the company's focus on reducing capex and returning capital to shareholders, strong Gulf Coast product cracks, and an attractive valuation.
- The firm's six-month price target for VLO is $74, while its 12-month target for EOG is $113.
Wed, Jun. 10, 12:58 PM
- The rapid contraction in the Bakken oil price discount may indicate a faster than expected production decline in the area, dealers say.
- The buying frenzy pushed Bakken delivered at Clearbrook, Minn., to trade just $0.35/bbl below the West Texas benchmark last week, dealers say, the narrowest discount since July 2013; four months ago, it traded at a $7.50 discount.
- Also, midwest refiners ran the most crude ever for the month of May thanks to a light maintenance slate and robust margins, triggering a bidding war for light barrels.
- Regardless, the disappearing discount offers a partial reprieve for large producers such as Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) and Hess (NYSE:HES) after the past year slashed global oil prices by as much as 60%.
- Other top Bakken producers include: EOG, WLL, XOM, OAS, NOG, EOX, MRO
Sat, Jun. 6, 10:54 PM
- Earthquakes that have rocked the Dallas-Fort Worth area are putting two major oil and gas producers on the spot, as Exxon Mobil's (NYSE:XOM) XTO Energy subsidiary and EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) face scrutiny from Texas regulators in their use of injection wells to dispose of wastewater from fracking operations.
- The state’s energy regulator, the Railroad Commission of Texas, is set to begin a series of hearings in Austin this week to assess the role of oil companies in causing the quakes in north Texas in the vicinity of the Barnett Shale, WSJ reports.
- The increased scrutiny comes six months after the commission changed well permitting rules so it can modify, suspend or end disposal well approval if scientific data shows the well is contributing to earthquakes, or is likely to do so.
Fri, May 29, 5:25 PM
- Natural gas production in the Marcellus shale, which has grown over the past decade from near zero to ~20% of U.S. output, may decline for the first time if prices in the basin remain low for much longer, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says.
- "Relatively low gas prices, combined with low oil prices, have slowed drilling in the Marcellus so production from new wells is only offsetting the decline in old wells," EIA says, expecting Marcellus output to remain flat through 2018 before declining ~1%/year during 2019-25.
- Recent data indicates a potential slowdown: The number of rigs in the area has dwindled to its lowest since 2011, and drillers including Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) and Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) have temporarily shut in some production due to weak regional prices.
- An inability to move all the gas out of the Marcellus region has depressed prices there compared with the Gulf coast benchmark, the Henry Hub in Louisiana, making it less attractive for local producers to drill more.
- Other top Marcellus producers include RRC, RDS.A, RDS.B, TLM, APC, ATLS, CVX, CNX, EQT, EOG, XOM, WPX, XCO, CRZO, SWN, AR.
Thu, May 14, 12:28 PM
- U.S. shale oil companies that cut production when prices plunged are prepared to return rigs to operation as prices rise, WSJ reports.
- Last week: EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) said it would ramp up output if U.S. prices hold at recent levels, Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) boosted planned production for the year, Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) said it hopes to increase drilling and add two new rigs per month from July if prices continue to rise, Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) said it would ramp up production at ~$70/bbl, and Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) CEO Harold Hamm said that $70 oil is a price "that turns it on for us.”
- These companies are among those seen as swing producers that can boost production when prices are high and cut back when they fall.
- “U.S. supply could quickly rebound in response to the recent recovery in prices,” says one commodities economist. “Based on the historical relationship with prices, the fall in the number of drilling rigs already looks overdone, and activity is likely to rebound over the next few months."
- Earlier: Oil drilling could resume sooner than advertised, Susquehanna says
Wed, May 13, 6:19 PM
- North Dakota recorded a surprising jump in oil and natural gas production in March, as producers successfully wring efficiencies out of existing operations in an attempt to maintain production even at depressed prices.
- The state's oil producers pumped nearly 1.2M bbl/day in March, up ~15K from February, while natural gas output rose 14% to 47.2M cf, according to the Department of Mineral Resources.
- The agency says 189 North Dakota wells were completed in March at locations owned by Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Hess (NYSE:HES), Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) and ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), as "these four appear to be more in tune with having normal cash flow, and continue to complete their wells in a more aggressive manner."
- But in a sign of divergent strategies in the state, EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) and Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) continue to delay fracking.
- Other top Bakken producers include WLL, OAS, NOG and EOX
Wed, May 13, 5:42 PM
- U.S. oil exploration and production companies could be back drilling again sooner than expected, Susquehanna analysts say, seeing an improving landscape for many oil projects due to higher well productivity and lower service costs.
- Commentary from several Permian operators has indicated the possibility of boosting activity levels in H2, and the firm thinks producers likely will start adding rigs if oil prices remain over $60/bbl in H2, when there should be more clarity around the upcoming OPEC meeting and possible lifting of Iran sanctions, both of which have been cited as variables that could drive oil prices lower.
- Susquehanna has a generally bullish view on E&P stocks at current prices, and has a Positive rating on CLR, DVN, EOG, GPOR, NFX and RRC.
Mon, May 11, 4:59 PM
- Oil production from seven major U.S. shale plays is expected to fall by 86K bbl/day in June, according to the latest report from the Energy Information Administration.
- Oil output at the Eagle Ford shale play in South Texas is forecast to see the biggest decline, down 47K bbl/day, while production at the Bakken shale play, centered in North Dakota, is expected to drop by 31K bbl/day, the report says.
- "The data shows that production in the Bakken and Eagle Ford [plays] peaked in March at 1.33M bbl/day and 1.73M bbl/day, respectively," says WTRG Economics energy economist James Williams.
- Among the top Eagle Ford producers: EOG, BHP, COP, CHK, MRO, APC
- Among the top Bakken producers: CLR, EOG, WLL, HES, XOM, OAS, NOG, EOX, MRO
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