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Tim's Corner: High Yields Concerns For An 'Oil Spike'

Sep. 18, 2019 10:19 AM ETMTR, PBT, SBR4 Comments
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An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.”― John Marshall

Image result for Balance GIFThis instablog post comes from Tim Plaehn, expert on income investing and a friend & colleague of mine at Investors Alley as well as a contributor here on SeekingAlpha. Tim runs the Dividend Hunter newsletter which offers a solid & diverse selection of attractive high yield plays. The service now has 9,000 active subscribers and can be had HERE for the rock bottom price of $49 (It usually is $99) for the first year. There are few better bargains around for those looking for solid income plays to balance their high beta holdings especially when equities get volatile!

Taxation is just a sophisticated way of demanding money with menaces.” ― Terry Pratchett, Night Watch

Tim's Corner:

By Tim Plaehn,

I wrote this article, and it was published two weeks ago. Little did I expect the attack on the Saudi oil infrastructure and the effect on oil prices. Here it is again with additional comments.

For the last three months, crude oil has been stuck in a $50 to $60 per barrel trading range. The WTI benchmark price has lulled traders into thinking that this trend will continue. I have contact with many investors, and I find that many have the viewpoints and beliefs that trends will continue indefinitely. It’s hard for many to envision a change in the trend.

The drone attack over the weekend in Saudi Arabia has taken 5 million bpd of production off the table. At least for a short period of time. On Monday the price of crude oil traded up over $5 per barrel or 10%.

When you look at this price WTI crude oil price chart, from the start of 2018, you can see two price run-ups to $75 and $65 per barrel. With the price trending around $55, oil traders are thinking more about the next recession rather than continued economic growth.

I think that $65 to $75 oil will be the next range, once the investing world gets over the belief a recession is right around the corner. Royalty trusts are one investment type that will do very well when oil prices move higher.

Final thought. Most of the financial news is focused on how fast the Saudis can get production back online. I don’t see anyone asking how many more drones are out there pointed at the world’s crude oil chokepoint. The weekend attack may not be the last.

Royalty trusts produce income derived from the production and sales of commodities, typically oil and natural gas. This type of investment will produce both a nice income and capital gains as the price of crude oil moves higher.

An energy royalty trust earns all or most of the profits from oil and gas production out of acreage designated to the trust. These are not companies, and there are no management teams. A trustee collects the trust’s shares of earned royalties or profits and passes them on to investors.

When you invest in a trust, you purchase units, not shares. Most royalty trusts pay monthly distributions which vary from payment to payment.

The amount you earn from a royalty trust can go up with rising energy prices and if the operator of the trust properties increases the amounts produced. Some of these trusts have existed since the 1970s and have paid distributions for decades.

Newer recovery techniques developed over the past decade allow operators to “restart” production in older wells, boosting trust income. Keep in mind, as a trust unit owner, you are not investing in the oil company operating the wells. You are receiving a portion of the profits from the oil and/or gas produced by the wells.

The obvious downside to these trusts is that if energy commodity prices fall, so will the distributions and the trust unit prices. These commodities are priced based on global supply and demand forces — especially crude oil, with natural gas moving towards a global system.

The International Energy Agency forecasts that the current oil demand of 98 million barrels per day will grow by an average of 1.2 million barrels per day per year for the next five years. Energy royalty trust prices, as well as distributions, move in parallel with the cost of crude.

I view these trusts as a way to get direct exposure to energy commodity prices and to own assets with values not driven by stock market sentiment. The May-June price drop in crude oil has put these trusts on sale. Here are three trusts to consider.

Mesa Royalty Trust (MTR), incorporated on November 1, 1979, owns property interests in the Hugoton Area (Kansas) and the San Juan Basin (Northwestern New Mexico and Southwestern Colorado).

The Trust does not engage in any operations.

An average of the last three distributions gives MTR a 7.7% yield on the current $7.8 unit price.

Remember that for all royalty trusts, monthly distributions will vary, sometimes dramatically.

Sabine Royalty Trust (SBR) was established as of December 31, 1982. The trust holds royalty and mineral interests in producing and proved undeveloped oil and gas properties in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

The total distributions paid from 2014 through 2017 show how the payments mirror the change in the price of crude oil.

Note that oil reached its recent peak in 2014 and low in early 2016. Here are the total distributions per unit for the four year period:

2017: $2.368370

2016: $1.93403

2015: $3.10520

2014: $4.09779.

Recent distributions give SBR a current yield of 7.2%.

Permian Basin Royalty Trust (PBT) incorporated in 1980. The trust owns royalty interests in 33 Texas counties with most of the production coming from the Waddell Ranch properties located in Crane County, which is in the heart of the Permian oil play.

Six major fields on the Waddell Ranch properties account for more than 80% of the total production.

The Waddell Ranch properties are mature, producing properties, and all the major oil fields are currently being waterflooded to facilitating enhanced recovery.

Based on recent distributions, the PBT current yield is 10.2%

Never open the door to a lesser evil, for other and greater ones invariably slink in after it.”― Baltasar Gracian, The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Tim Plaehn of The Dividend Hunter recently published a new free report covering three cheap dividend stocks he likes right now and that should be long term holdings in 401Ks and retirement accounts. The new research can be downloaded free HERE.

These include:

  • A real estate powerhouse that has doubled their dividend payout in just 5 years
  • A double-digit yield (13%) energy company that’s trading at a 66% discount
  • Tim's $6 ‘no-brainer’ play that sends you monthly dividend checks

Thank You & Happy Hunting,

Bret Jensen

Founder, The Biotech Forum, The Busted IPO Forum & The Insiders Forum

Seeking Alpha's Disclosure: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. Any views or opinions expressed above may not reflect those of Seeking Alpha as a whole. Seeking Alpha is not a licensed securities dealer, broker or US investment adviser or investment bank. Our analysts are third party authors that include both professional investors and individual investors who may not be licensed or certified by any institute or regulatory body.

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