Mon, Feb. 9, 5:58 PM
- Some oilfield operators have consistently shown an ability to increase production per well, so the decrease in rig count does not proportionally correlate to a change in production, says NavPort's Eric Foster, who has collated oil well and rig data.
- In a case study focusing on horizontal shale wells in the Eagle Ford basin in Texas, NavPort found that Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) was easily the most efficient fracker last year, with average boe per well during the first 180 days of production of ~142K barrels; ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) and Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) were the other two companies with 100K-plus boe/well.
- Murphy Oil (NYSE:MUR) showed the greatest efficiency improvement during 2014 among the top 10 Eagle Ford basin oil producers; the only producers in the top 10 showing declines in production per well were BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) and Rosetta Resources (NASDAQ:ROSE).
Fri, Feb. 6, 10:44 AM
- Violence in Libya increasingly is hitting oil companies and their assets, hurting long-term investments by Western companies and driving down production.
- In the past three months, Libya's oil output has fallen from nearly 900K bbl/day to 325K bbl/day as oil fields are taken over by armed groups or shut down for security reasons.
- Affected companies include Total (NYSE:TOT), which closed the Mabruk oil field that once produced 30K-40K bbl/day; the country’s main oil port Sidra was closed because of fighting, hurting the prospects of the three U.S. companies - ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) and Hess (NYSE:HES) - with a stake in connected fields.
- But the global crude oil market has barely reacted to the renewed fighting, because of OPEC’s decision in November not to cut production virtually guaranteed an oversupply whether Libya produces or not, analysts say.
Wed, Jan. 28, 5:04 PM
Tue, Jan. 27, 12:58 PM
- Marathon Oil (MRO -1.3%), Cobalt International Energy (CIE -0.3%) and RSP Permian (RSPP +0.8%) are downgraded to Neutral from Buy at UBS, as the firm cuts its 2015 Brent/WTI crude forecasts to a respective $52.50/bbl and $49/bbl, and lowers 2016 Brent/WTI crude estimates to $67.50 and $62.50.
- UBS also is cautious on several energy names with large free cash flow deficits, slowing growth profiles and rich relative valuations: COP, DVN, MUR, UPL, RRC, DNR, MHR.
- The firm's top Buys are APC, CHK and EOG.
Wed, Jan. 21, 3:59 PM
- Credit Suisse thinks it is still too early to buy E&P equities but the picture should brighten by late in Q1, when the firm suggests the time could be right to make a play for the strong balance sheets offered by the likes of Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC), Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG), Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) and Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD).
- E&P stocks historically have been highly anticipatory, the firm says, with the stocks moving ahead of crude oil, adding that the key leading indicator of U.S. drilling and completion activity is U.S. drilling permits.
Thu, Jan. 15, 10:25 AM
- North Dakota oil production rose to a new record even as energy companies drilled fewer wells and the rig count dropped to a near five-year low.
- The state's oil output hit a record 1.19M bbl/day in November, the most recent month available, according to data released yesterday by North Dakota’s Department of Mineral Resources.
- Despite the new record, the head of the department warned the state’s crude production will peak and decline later this year if oil prices don’t rebound; the current price of North Dakota sweet crude is ~$29.25/bbl, the lowest since Dec. 2008.
- The latest drilling rig count is 158, the lowest in nearly five years and down from a high of 218 rigs in 2012, but the department says production may not start to drop until the rig count falls to 130 or lower.
- Gregor McDonald argues that the North Dakota data confirming that Bakken drilling activity has slowed meaningfully has sparked the snapback rally in crude oil prices.
- Top Bakken producers: CLR, EOG, WLL, HES, XOM, OAS, NOG, EOX, MRO
- ETFs: USO, OIL, UCO, SCO, BNO, DTO, DBO, UWTI, USL, DWTI, DNO, SZO, OLO, TWTI, OLEM
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
Mon, Jan. 12, 7:22 PM
- The number of drilling rigs operating in North Dakota's oil fields has dropped to 159, the lowest level since November 2010.
- The state lost eight rigs overnight, according to state data, a steep one-day drop not seen for years in the second-ranked U.S. oil producer.
- The drop comes after Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR), Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS) and other companies announced capital spending cuts for 2015, admitting they planned to use fewer rigs this year.
- Other major North Dakota producers include EOG, WLL, HES, XOM, NOG, EOX and MRO.
Fri, Jan. 9, 10:56 AM
- North Dakota needs an oil price of $55/bbl and a fleet of at least 140 rigs to sustain production at the current level of 1.2M bbl/day, according to a presentation from the state's chief mineral resources regulator.
- Breakeven rates for new wells range from $29 in Dunn county and $30 in McKenzie to $36 in Williams and $41 in Mountrail; these four counties account for 90% of drilling in the state.
- The number of rigs operating in the state already has fallen to 165, down from 191 in October.
- The projections confirm North Dakota's oil output will start to fall by year's end unless prices rise from current depressed levels.
- Top Bakken producers: CLR, EOG, WLL, HES, XOM, OAS, NOG, EOX, MRO
Thu, Jan. 8, 3:29 PM
- News reports about crude oil futures prices plunging through $50/bbl have been plentiful but many U.S. physical crude producers are receiving far less and would be thrilled if they could get $50, Reuters' John Kemp writes.
- Case in point: Prices received by oil producers in North Dakota's Williston Basin have averaged less than $34/bbl so far this month, according to Plains Marketing, falling by almost two-thirds since June when Plains posted an average price of nearly $92/bbl for Williston Sweet.
- The recent decline has been almost as rapid and brutal as 2008-09 when Williston prices crashed from $116 to less than $17.
- Kemp says past experience suggests extreme prices tend be relatively short-lived phenomena and followed by at least a partial correction, and thinks some sort of rebound is likely this time around in the next 2-3 months.
- Top Bakken producers: CLR, EOG, WLL, HES, XOM, OAS, NOG, EOX, MRO.
Tue, Jan. 6, 6:28 PM
- Thomson Reuters StarMine data ranks the energy sector as having the worst analyst sentiment, using a model that lists equities by aggregating metrics that include changes in sell-side estimates for company earnings and revenue.
- Chevron (NYSE:CVX) registered the lower score, with analysts lowering estimates more than for 99% of companies; six different analysts have lowered Q4 EPS expectations by an average of 14.3% in the past month.
- Expected Q4 earnings growth in the energy sector is at -19.8%, according to Thomson Reuters data, down from a 6.4% growth expectation on Oct. 1, with Q1 looking even worse at -32.2%.
- Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO), HollyFrontier (NYSE:HFC) and QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP) are among the other handful of energy companies with the lowest possible score.
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
Fri, Jan. 2, 11:57 AM
- Marathon Oil (MRO +0.5%) and OMV (OTC:OMVJF) were the big winners as Croatia's government awarded 10 licenses for offshore oil exploration and drilling in the Adriatic Sea in its first round of bidding.
- The government sees total investments by the groups during the five-year-long exploration phase totaling $630M.
- With estimated crude and gas reserves of as much as 3B boe in Croatian waters in the Mediterranean - among the highest mix of underwater energy deposits in the European Union - the government hopes potential deposits worth billions of dollars may turn the tourism-centered economy into a regional energy heavyweight.
Dec. 23, 2014, 4:42 PM
- Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) has evacuated non-essential workers from a pair of production platforms at the Brae complex in the North Sea following a Monday power outage.
- BBC reported earlier that ~75 workers were transferred to shore from the Brae Alpha and Brae Bravo platforms, but ~170 people remained.
Dec. 17, 2014, 5:35 PM
- Marathon Oil (NYSE:MRO) says it expects a 2015 capital spending budget of $4.3B-$4.5B, or ~20% below 2014 levels, adding that it needs extra time to finalize the budget given continuing changes in oil prices and the expected impact on oilfield service costs.
- MRO says the capital program will reflect a significant weighting to its high return investment opportunities in its U.S. resource plays and lower exploration spending, with total 2015 production growth (excluding Libya) anticipated in the high single digits.
Dec. 9, 2014, 6:20 PM
- North Dakota issues strict new oil standards that will require energy companies operating in the state to strip explosive gases from crude oil that shows a high vapor pressure reading, in an effort to make crude-by-rail transport safer.
- Under the new mandate, North Dakota oil can’t be transported unless it has a vapor pressure reading of 13.7 lbs./sq. in. or lower.
- The rule, which will take effect on April 1, 2015, is the first major move by regulators to address the role of gaseous, volatile crude oil in railroad accidents which have been linked to several fiery explosions, including one last year in Quebec that killed 47 people.
- Top Bakken producers: CLR, EOG, KOG, WLL, HES, XOM, OAS, NOG, EOX, MRO.
MRO vs. ETF Alternatives
Marathon Oil Corp is an energy company engaged in the exploration, production and marketing of liquid hydrocarbons and natural gas, production and marketing of products manufactured from natural gas and oil sands mining.
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