No Rapid Rebound for Oil Prices ( MorningStar Energy Forecast )

Energy: No Rapid Rebound for Oil Prices

The rapid decline in oil prices has created significant investment opportunities, but downside risk remains in the short term.
  • The United States has rapidly become the critical source of incremental supply for global oil markets, and growth has come overwhelmingly from unconventional drilling. The large increases in U.S. output did not upset global supply/demand balances over the past few years, largely because significant amounts of supply were disrupted by political/security issues (Libya and Iran, for example). But in 2014 the scales finally tipped: Combined with weakening demand and OPEC’s decision not to reduce its own production, major supply imbalances resulted that, as of today, have yet to dissipate.
  • In the current market environment of high costs and low oil prices, upstream firms face extremely challenged economics where new investment is not value-creative. Such conditions are not sustainable over the long term, however, and we expect the combination of rising oil prices and falling costs to provide significant relief in the coming years.
  • Despite our belief that tight oil has considerable running room from here, it can’t completely meet future global demand. The marginal barrel, therefore, will come from higher up the global cost curve. Our forecasts show that higher-quality deep-water projects will be the highest-cost source of supply needed during the rest of the decade. As a result of this meaningful move down the cost curve, our midcycle oil price forecast for Brent is $75 per barrel (WTI: $69/bbl), meaningfully below 2014 highs.
  • Although U.S. gas production is likely to slow in the near term as oil-directed drilling hits the brakes, the wealth of low-cost inventory in areas like the Marcellus points to continued growth through the end of this decade and beyond. Abundant supply is holding current prices low, but in the long run we anticipate relief from incremental demand from LNG exports as well as industry. Our midcycle U.S. natural gas price estimate is $4/mcf.

Given both its remaining growth potential and ability to scale up and down activity quickly, tight oil has effectively made the United States the world’s newest swing producer. Drastic spending cuts will lead to a meaningful decline in near-term production, but the strong economics of the major U.S. liquids plays means production will begin growing again as soon as oil prices recover.

David Meats is an equity analyst for Morningstar.

Based on our belief that U.S. unconventionals will continue to be able to meet 35%-40% of incremental new supply requirements in the coming years, we believe that additional volumes from high-cost resources such as oil sands mining and marginal deep-water will not be needed for the foreseeable future. This disruptive force that already has upended global crude markets isn’t going away anytime soon. U.S. shale once again is proving truly to be a game changer.

Meanwhile, demand tailwinds from exports and industrial consumption will help balance the domestic gas market eventually, but ongoing cost pressures from efficiency gains and excess services capacity–as well as the crowding out of higher-cost production by world-class resources such as the Marcellus Shale and associated volumes from oil-rich areas such as the Eagle Ford and Permian–are weighing on near-term prices. Even under these circumstances, however, undervalued, cost-advantaged investment opportunities remain.

Top Energy Sector Picks
Star Rating
Fair Value
Estimate
Economic
Moat
Fair Value
Uncertainty
Consider
Buying
Encana
$16
Narrow
Very High $8
ExxonMobil
$98
Wide
Low $78.40
Cabot Oil & Gas
$43
Narrow
High $25.80
Data as of June 22, 2015

Encana (ECA)
Encana is our top pick within the U.S. oil-focused exploration and production group. The company’s growth is underpinned by high-quality Permian and Eagle Ford acreage. The company has transformed dramatically in the past 12 months, with two major acquisitions and a string of divestitures and is emerging leaner and meaner. The company now has a footprint in several top-quality oil plays in the United States and Canada.

ExxonMobil (XOM)
We view ExxonMobil as offering the best combination of value, quality, and defensiveness. Exxon will see its portfolio mix shift to liquids pricing as gas volumes decline and as new oil and liquefied natural gas projects start production. The company historically set itself apart from the other majors as a superior capital allocator and operator, delivering higher returns on capital than its peers as a result.

Cabot Oil & Gas (COG)
On the gas side, Cabot controls more than a decade of highly productive, low-cost drilling inventory targeting the dry gas Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. Fully loaded cash break-even costs are less than $2.50 per mcf.

ADD UPDATE at close of market:

Each week we look at the level of crude oil located in U.S. storage tanks around the country, which offers a glimpse into the inner workings of production and consumption levels. After peaking earlier this spring, U.S. crude inventories have undergone successive weeks of drawdowns, indicating slowing production and higher demand from consumers. In Europe, however, the story is different. Crude storage is reaching a multi-year high at the trading hub of Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp, known as ARA. In fact, storage levels have spiked since the beginning of the year to 60.6 million barrels in June. European storage is growing so rapidly because a lot of oil coming from Africa is having trouble finding interested buyers, forcing it into storage.

Growing storage levels in the U.S. pushed down oil prices earlier this year, and the same could hold true for European storage. That points to a persistent glut in global oil markets, with production exceeding demand by around 2 million barrels per day according to IEA estimates. Even if some of that supply can get soaked up by extra demand, there is a lot of oil sitting idle in tanks right now. That means oil prices likely won’t jump in the near term because the markets will need to work through the excess sitting in storage first.

While inventories are drawing down in the U.S., a group of companies are proposingincreased storage along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Magellan Midstream Partners and LBC Tank Terminals are proposing a $95 million oil storage facility near Houston. The facility would be able to hold around 700,000 barrels of crude and would be connected to existing distribution infrastructure. If it moves forward, the site could be completed by 2017. Magellan’s project would greatly expand storage along the Gulf Coast, helping refiners access and store product.

In another major construction project along the Gulf Coast, Cheniere Energy (NYSE: LNG) announced that it would take on $5.8 billion in new debt to build a fifth LNG train at its Sabine Pass facility in Louisiana. Lining up financing is a crucial step before construction can begin. Cheniere hopes to further expand by building a sixth LNG train, but has not secured financing for that yet. The company expects to liquefy and ship its first load of LNG later this year when its first train finishes construction, kicking off a new era in which the U.S. becomes a natural gas exporter.

Cramer Rates Chesapeake Energy : SELL SELL SELL

Our favorite AVOID gets a celebrity endorsement:

Chesapeake Energy is an oil and natural gas company based in Oklahoma City with positions in the Eagle Ford, Utica, Granite Wash, Cleveland, Tonkawa, Mississippi Lime, and Niobrara unconventional liquids plays.

TheStreet Ratings team rates CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP as a Sell with a ratings score of D. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

“We rate CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP (CHK) a SELL. This is driven by several weaknesses, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company’s weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.”

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 979.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $425.00 million to -$3,739.00 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP’s return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $423.00 million or 67.23% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm’s growth is significantly lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock’s performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 59.08%, worse than the S&P 500’s performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company’s earnings per share are down 1159.25% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock’s sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. This company has reported somewhat volatile earnings recently. We feel it is likely to report a decline in earnings in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, CHESAPEAKE ENERGY CORP increased its bottom line by earning $1.83 versus $0.68 in the prior year. For the next year, the market is expecting a contraction of 109.8% in earnings (-$0.18 versus $1.83).
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CHK Ratings Report

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Energy Investors Cling To False Hopes : The Lost Decade

It has been a very challenging time for investors in the energy space, but we find their resiliency impressive, considering they have endured a decade of little to no returns.

Oil companies say there will be a price to pay — a much higher price — for all the cost cutting being done today to cope with the collapse in the crude market.

Investors haven’t made any money over the past decade with the S&P TSX Capped Energy Index gaining a paltry 0.3 per cent annually while the Canadian dollar-adjusted West Texas Intermediate oil price is up only 0.7 per cent per year. This compares to the S&P TSX Index that has gained just over seven per cent per year over the same period.

Even though it remained fairly flat over the past 10 years, the energy index has experienced tremendous volatility with an average standard deviation of 30 per cent, more than double the TSX’s 14 per cent.

It is doubtful that many investors rode out the entire period, instead we think they pulled the ripcord during some of the periods of excess volatility. It’s even worse for those who purchased at its recent peak in mid-2014.

Which is why we find it rather amazing that investors plowed a whopping $5.5 billion into the Canadian exploration and production sector through bought-deal equity financings in the first quarter, and an additional $1.4 billion raised so far this quarter.

Which is why we find it rather amazing that investors plowed a whopping $5.5 billion into the Canadian exploration and production sector through bought-deal equity financings in the first quarter, and an additional $1.4 billion raised so far this quarter.

FP0623_TotalReturns_C_JR

Looking Ahead

With regards to oil prices, we think there could more downside than upside on the horizon especially in this environment of a prolonged global supply-demand imbalance.

On the positive side, global oil demand has been improving and is up 1.2 per cent from last May. However, this may not be enough as global supply has exceeded demand for the past five quarters and could soon see the longest glut since 1985, according to financial news provider Bloomberg.

Not helping matters is OPEC production growth as the group aims to protect its market share against North American producers that have yet to curtail output despite the oil price being halved in the past year. Over the past four weeks the Lower 48 oil production has averaged 229,000 barrels a day higher than the previous four weeks.

With regard to Canadian oil producers, many companies have implied commodity prices at or near the forward curve and some a little bit higher such as Suncor Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

 

We find this to be a useful exercise at times as a large divergence or disconnect either way can be indicative of a sector bottom like in mid-2012 or the peaks of early 2011 and mid-2014.

But today’s signals suggest more uncertainty and are creating a very challenging environment to make an investment decision in.

The bad news is that this may mean we have not yet seen the final capitulation usually needed before the start of a new bull cycle.  This is because high CAD-denominated forward prices, low interest rates and the large capital flow into the sector are providing an artificial sense of hope for marginal producers.

That said, there are still opportunities in the sector, but one has to work extra hard to mitigate the risks of uncertainty.

We continue to stay away from Alberta oil and gas producers as there is still way too much jurisdictional uncertainty. They could under perform like they did during the last royalty review and as a result have a higher cost of capital.

Instead, we look to own those well-funded, non-Alberta producers such as Crescent Point Energy Corp. that are looking to gain market share in this challenged environment.

Read more on protecting your portfolio and capital at hignnetworth.wordpress.com

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Is SandRidge Energy Built to Last? By Investopedia

When SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD) announced last month that it was raising $1.25 billion in new debt, the move came as a surprise. This is a company whose CEO readily admitted earlier this year that if the current oil price was the new normal that it would, “probably want to remove $1 billion of debt from the balance sheet.” However, instead of focusing on ways to do just that, the company went out and piled on even more debt. It’s a move that certainly begs the question of whether or not SandRidge Energy is building a company that will last.

Piled high and deep
No matter which way we slice it, SandRidge Energy is over its head in debt. After accounting for the recent debt issuance, SandRidge Energy now has roughly $4.6 billion in net debt outstanding. If we add in its equity market value and its preferred equity, the company’s total enterprise value sits at roughly $5.7 billion.

To put that into perspective, SandRidge Energy now has almost as much net debt as EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG), which is a company roughly 10 times its size, since EOG Resources has a $53 billion enterprise value. Another way to look at it, debt as a percentage of SandRidge Energy’s enterprise value is 81% while it’s only 9% of EOG Resources’ enterprise value.

SandRidge added the new debt as a stop gap measure to boost its liquidity and therefore buy it more time to deal with the situation. However, it’s a move that could be its undoing should oil prices stay weak for the next couple of years. That’s because the company needs higher oil prices to push its cash flow higher so that it can support its debt over the long term.

$60 oil is the new $80, but that’s not enough
One of the reasons SandRidge Energy wanted to buy itself some more time is because it’s working feverishly to get its well costs down to $2.4 million per lateral. That cost represents a 20% saving from last year’s well cost and, more important, would enable SandRidge Energy to earn a 50% internal rate of return at a $60 oil price. For perspective, that’s the same return the company had been earning at a $80 oil price when its well costs were over $3 million per lateral. The problem is the fact the company still has a ways to go as its current well costs are $2.7 million.

Furthermore, even if SandRidge can meet its lofty goal of a $2.4 million well cost, the returns it would earn would still be well below what other peers like EOG Resources are already earning. In fact, EOG Resources is actually enjoying better well economics right now than when oil prices were $95 per barrel. As an example, the company’s after tax rate of return is 73% for wells drilled in the western Eagle Ford Shale while the company’s wells in the Delaware Basin Leonard now earn a 71% after tax rate of return, which are above the previous returns of 60% and 36%, respectively.

Investor takeaway
SandRidge Energy’s mountain of debt alone suggests the company isn’t built to last as it has almost as much debt as EOG Resources, a company nearly 10 times its size. Its problems are further compounded by the fact that the company’s asset base simply can’t produce returns on the same level as EOG Resources. Clearly, the company faces a daunting task as it won’t survive unless the price of oil moves meaningfully higher so that it can better support its mountain of debt.

Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/stock-analysis/062215/sandridge-energy-built-last-sd-eog.aspx#ixzz3dsSG8k

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Cramer Says : Sell Apache

 

Apache Corp. (APAGet Report)
Market Cap: $22.3 billion
Sector: Energy/Oil & Gas Explorations & Production
TheStreet Ratings: Sell, D
Beta: 1.48
Year-to-date return: -5.8%

Apache Corporation, an independent energy company, explores, develops, and produces natural gas, crude oil, and natural gas liquids.

TheStreet Ratings said: “We rate APACHE CORP (APA) a SELL. This is driven by some concerns, which we believe should have a greater impact than any strengths, and could make it more difficult for investors to achieve positive results compared to most of the stocks we cover. The company’s weaknesses can be seen in multiple areas, such as its deteriorating net income, disappointing return on equity, weak operating cash flow, generally disappointing historical performance in the stock itself and feeble growth in its earnings per share.”

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 2070.8% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $236.00 million to -$4,651.00 million.
  • Return on equity has greatly decreased when compared to its ROE from the same quarter one year prior. This is a signal of major weakness within the corporation. Compared to other companies in the Oil, Gas & Consumable Fuels industry and the overall market, APACHE CORP’s return on equity significantly trails that of both the industry average and the S&P 500.
  • Net operating cash flow has significantly decreased to $650.00 million or 71.65% when compared to the same quarter last year. In addition, when comparing the cash generation rate to the industry average, the firm’s growth is significantly lower.
  • Despite any intermediate fluctuations, we have only bad news to report on this stock’s performance over the last year: it has tumbled by 39.06%, worse than the S&P 500’s performance. Consistent with the plunge in the stock price, the company’s earnings per share are down 749.47% compared to the year-earlier quarter. Naturally, the overall market trend is bound to be a significant factor. However, in one sense, the stock’s sharp decline last year is a positive for future investors, making it cheaper (in proportion to its earnings over the past year) than most other stocks in its industry. But due to other concerns, we feel the stock is still not a good buy right now.
  • APACHE CORP has experienced a steep decline in earnings per share in the most recent quarter in comparison to its performance from the same quarter a year ago. The company has reported a trend of declining earnings per share over the past two years. However, the consensus estimate suggests that this trend should reverse in the coming year. During the past fiscal year, APACHE CORP swung to a loss, reporting -$13.07 versus $5.95 in the prior year. This year, the market expects an improvement in earnings (-$1.03 versus -$13.07).

Natural Gas Futures Plunge 4% after bearish storage data

© Reuters.  U.S. natural gas prices tumble to 3-week low after supply report

Investing.com – Natural gas futures plunged sharply to hit a three-week low on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies rose more than expected last week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in July tumbled 11.8 cents, or 4.16%, to trade at $2.729 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours. Prices were at around $2.790 prior to the release of the supply data.

A day earlier, natural gas prices shed 0.2 cents, or 0.07%, to close at $2.847. Futures were likely to find support at $2.710 per million British thermal units, the low from May 7, and resistance at $2.915, the high from May 27.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended May 22 rose by 112 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for an increase of 99 billion and following a build of 92 billion cubic feet in the preceding week.

Supplies rose by 113 billion cubic feet in the same week last year, while the five-year average change is an increase of 95 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.101 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 737 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 18 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.119 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

Meanwhile, weather forecasting models called for slightly warmer than average temperatures across the U.S. over the next ten days, although not yet enough to significantly boost cooling demand.

Spring usually sees the weakest demand for natural gas in the U.S, as the absence of extreme temperatures curbs demand for heating and air conditioning.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, crude oil for delivery in July fell 79 cents, or 1.37%, to trade at $56.72 a barrel, while heating oil for July delivery dropped 0.41% to trade at $1.852 per gallon.

Iraq About to Flood Oil Market in New Front of OPEC Price War

(Bloomberg) — Iraq is taking OPEC’s strategy to defend its share of the global oil market to a new level.

The nation plans to boost crude exports by about 26 percent to a record 3.75 million barrels a day next month, according to shipping programs, signaling an escalation of OPEC strategy to undercut U.S. shale drillers in the current market rout. The additional Iraqi oil is equal to about 800,000 barrels a day, or more than comes from OPEC member Qatar. The rest of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to rubber stamp its policy to maintain output levels at a meeting on June 5.

While shipping schedules aren’t a promise of future production, they are indicative of what may come. The following chart graphs planned tanker loadings (in red) against exports.

As in previous months, Iraq might not hit its June target – export capacity is currently capped at 3.1 million barrels a day, Deputy Oil Minister Fayyad al-Nimaa said on May 18. Still, any extra Iraqi supplies inevitably mean OPEC strays even further above its collective output target of 30 million barrels a day, Morgan Stanley says. The following chart shows OPEC increasing output in recent months against its current target.

Defying the threat from Islamic State militants, Iraq has been ramping up exports from both the Shiite south – where companies like BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc operate – and the Kurdish region in the north, which last year reached a temporary compromise with the federal government on its right to sell crude independently.

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