Energy Valuation Insights

A weekly update on issues important to the Energy industry


A Bright Spot at the Bottom of the Barrel

Asphalt and road oil are used primarily by the construction industry for roofing and waterproofing and for road construction. Asphalt is a byproduct of petroleum refining. During the distillation process of crude oil, asphalt does not boil off and is left as a heavy residue. Generally around 90% of crude is turned into high margin products such as gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and petrochemicals while the other 10% is converted into asphalt and other low margin products. Petroleum refiners sell asphalt to asphalt product manufacturers who produce retail products such as asphalt paving mixtures and blocks; asphalt emulsions; prepared asphalt and tar roofing and siding products; and roofing asphalts and pitches, coating, and cement.

Thoughts of a Non “Oil Price Guru”

On February 27, 2017 the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “The Rise of a Global Oil-Price Guru”. Simply put, Gary Ross knows anyone and everyone in the energy world. From the west coast of California, east to the Arab Sheiks and beyond, there is no one better connected. While we do not claim to have the same network or prediction abilities as Ross, our predictions for oil prices come with a lower price tag (none at all) than Ross’ more than $50k consulting fee.

Are S&P Energy Stock Valuations Really Crazy Right Now?

A few days ago the Wall Street Journal published an article discussing what the author described as “crazy” stock valuations, and in particular the inflated valuations of oil and gas stocks from the perspective of operating earnings ratios. While we certainly are believers that value is driven by future operating earnings, and that earnings in the energy sector have fallen precipitously since 2014, is this all that determines the market’s pricing of the S&P 500 energy sector? As we reflect on this for a moment, a few additional considerations came to mind that may explain these “crazy” valuations more fully.

Refining Overview

There are four main components to refined product prices: (1) Input Prices (i.e. crude oil), (2) Wholesale Margins, (3) Retail Distribution Costs, and (4) Taxes. Generally, input prices and wholesale margins drive fluctuations in product prices as the last two are relatively stable. Thus, in order to understand refined product prices we consider the macroeconomics trends in the global oil and gas market which drive input prices.

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