Energy Valuation Insights

A weekly update on issues important to the oil and gas industry


Domestic Production

Current Events

Themes from Q1 Earnings Calls

Upstream (E&P) and Oilfield Service (“OFS”) Companies

In our prior earnings call post, Themes from Q4 2023 Earnings Calls, we touched on the global focus of both the Upstream and OFS segments and the persistent drive to optimize efficiency in well operations and services with technological advancements, durable inventory, and more. This week, we explore the Q1 2024 earnings calls of upstream and OFS companies, highlighting the appearance of this quarter’s themes across the entire sector: dividends and buybacks and a boost to the gas market.

Current Events Special Topics

The Inside “SCOOP”

The SCOOP/STACK is a significant oil and gas play found in the Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma. Historically, the Anadarko Basin has been a prolific area for oil and gas extraction. It spans approximately 70,000 square miles across Western Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and parts of Southwestern Kansas and Southeastern Colorado. The basin’s geology features some of the thickest and highest-quality shale reservoirs in the United States, making it an attractive site for drilling and production. Given that fact pattern, it might surprise some to learn that activity in the SCOOP/STACK has been sluggish, to say the least, in recent times.

Special Topics

Oil & Gas Roadblocks: Prices, Production, and People Holding Sway

There are always going to be barriers to success in an industry. Barriers to entry, barriers to growth, barriers to profitability, and barriers to progress can lurk to name a few. The upstream industry has its share. For gas, its own oversupply and low prices are an issue. For oil, capital constraints are reining in investment. Both commodities also thirst for quality labor to fuel growth and longer-term underlying optimism, but that workforce does not exist right now and may take a while to develop. What does this mean for the future of the industry?

Mergers, Acquisitions, & Divestitures

Themes from Q4 2023 Earnings Calls

Upstream (E&P) and Oilfield Service (“OFS”) Companies

Our latest analysis of Q4 2023 earnings calls in the energy sector reveals a consistent focus on efficiency and the impact of global demand. Upstream companies are capitalizing on international demand for LNG and LPG, while oilfield service firms are benefiting from efforts to enhance energy security worldwide. The industry’s commitment to operational effectiveness is evident in investments in durable inventory, conversion efficiency, and the integration of advanced technologies, positioning companies for future success in a market increasingly driven by sustainable energy solutions.

Special Topics

Texas Statewide Rule 8 Overhaul

What's in Store for Texas Oilfield Waste Disposal Operators?

The Railroad Commission of Texas is overhauling its primary rule for water protection, Statewide Rule 8, to address environmental standards and oil and gas industry practices that have evolved significantly since the rule’s last major revision in 1984. The proposed changes aim to streamline regulations, update requirements for waste management, and enhance the Commission’s ability to track and collect data on oilfield waste transport. These modifications are expected to impact the economics of oil and gas drilling projects, particularly for smaller operators, and could lead to increased demand for oilfield waste disposal services. to understand more, read this week’s post.

Haynesville Shale Special Topics

Just Released | 4Q23 Exploration & Production Newsletter


The 4Q23 issue of Mercer Capital’s Exploration & Production newsletter focuses on the Haynesville Shale. Haynesville production held up reasonably well during the 2023 review period, particularly considering the sharp fall-off in the basin’s rig count. Despite the Henry Hub natural gas front month futures prices ending the year well below their starting point, the outlook for the Haynesville basin is favorable and anticipated to continue growing due to rising demand from LNG facilities and petrochemical plant development along the U.S. Gulf Coast.

In addition to our overview of the Haynesville, this newsletter also contains:

– Oil and Gas Commodity Price Update
– 2024 Outlook for the Industry
– Industry M&A Activity
– Public Company Performance
– Production Update
– Rig Counts

Download the newsletter to stay up to date on the industry.

Haynesville Shale

Haynesville DUCs Buoy Production Despite Rig Count Decline

The economics of oil & gas production vary by region.  Mercer Capital focuses on trends in the Eagle Ford, Permian, Haynesville, and Marcellus and Utica plays.  The cost of producing oil and gas depends on the geological makeup of the reserve, depth of reserve, and cost to transport the raw crude to market.  We can observe different costs in different regions depending on these factors.  This quarter, we take a closer look at the Haynesville shale.

Haynesville Shale

Initiating Coverage of the Haynesville Shale

In 2023, the Haynesville shale, a significant natural gas source in the U.S., experienced a downturn in drilling activity due to low natural gas prices (70% price drop from August 2022). This decline also affected rig counts and day rates, with a notable decrease in both. Despite the market volatility, some M&A activity occurred, including WhiteHawk Energy’s acquisition of mineral interests. Rumored activity included Chevron’s potential sale of its Haynesville assets, indicating a continued interest in this region’s natural gas potential.

Special Topics

Leading America Toward Energy Independence

Hart Energy LIVE’s America’s Natural Gas Conference 2023

The recent America’s Natural Gas conference shed light on crucial themes in the energy sector, highlighting an increasing demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) amid challenges like insufficient pipeline and storage infrastructure, which poses a substantial hurdle to meeting the soaring need both domestically and internationally. Noteworthy initiatives, such as Mexico Pacific’s strategic LNG facility, aim to bridge infrastructural gaps by delivering responsibly sourced natural gas from the Permian Basin to Asian markets, while also focusing on a sustainable and strategic location to optimize shipping and pricing. The discourse at the conference also underscored the notable reduction of CO2 emissions with the rising market share of natural gas, as well as the pragmatic and logistical challenges faced by renewable energy endeavors, indicating that a balanced, multi-faceted approach to energy transition is imperative in ensuring reliability, sustainability, and affordability in global energy supply.

Mergers, Acquisitions, & Divestitures Special Topics

Earnings Stability and Geopolitical Volatility

Two Foes Are Battling Once More

In the mire of much of the chaotic goings on of the world energy markets and Ukraine over the past year, a lot of things have changed. Uncertainty has ruled the day. Commodity prices have now dropped significantly in the last six months. Yet, between the lines, there is optimism for the upstream industry as profitability and cash flows remain, and the possibility for acquisition premiums for target companies re-emerges in 2023.

Special Topics

DUC Clock Ticks On Cheap Production: Low-Cost Cash Flow Won’t Last

As we await second quarter earnings for publicly traded upstream producers, there are several markers and trends that suggest cash flows and profits will swell. Investment austerity and the recently resulting profits will almost certainly be bandied about on management calls. However, what might not be touted as loudly will be how much longer this can last?

Special Topics

Out of the Crude Abyss

It has been almost a year since crude prices went into the abyss on last April 20th. Markets are fast moving and unforgiving at times, but it appears with $60+ oil prices for 2021, that the upstream business can now start to slow down, look around, and evaluate what direction to go next.

Special Topics

An Overview of Salt Water Disposal

Part 3 | Valuation Considerations

Our previous posts on salt water disposal provided an overview of the sector and detailed the economics of the industry. In this post, we take a deeper dive into specific considerations that are critical to understanding the value of salt water disposal companies.

Special Topics

An Overview of Saltwater Disposal

Part 2 | Economics of the Industry

In a prior blog post, we provided an overview of the saltwater disposal (SWD) industry, detailing the source of demand for SWD services, the impact of the shale boom, geographic distribution, site selection, construction, and regulation.  We now take a look at the economics of the SWD industry and the trends that impact the economics.

Special Topics

An Overview of Salt Water Disposal

Over the last 12 years the oilfield waste water disposal industry has grown exponentially, both on an absolute basis, and by rank of its importance/size among the oilfield services. This growth has been largely driven by the increased volumes of waste water generated in the production of oil from shale plays. This post discusses the basics of salt water disposal that has become so important given the rise of hydraulic fracturing.

Was 2014 a Lesson Learned?

The oil and gas market continued to show improvement in the first quarter of 2018.  Positive momentum in production growth in the U.S. continued and prices increased from an average of $55 in Q4 2017 to an average of $63 in Q1 2018. Oil prices are ticking up, domestic production has increased to a 50 year high, and the U.S. is exporting more crude oil than ever before. If you are like me, then you can’t ignore the wary feeling in your gut that makes you ask, “Is it too good to be true?”

What a Steady Oil and Gas Industry in 2017 Points to in 2018

“Steady as she goes.” At least that is what I think all captains of most vessels say…except maybe a car. For captains navigating the 2018 oil and gas industry, a repeat of 2017’s relatively calm waters is vocal wish. In this post, we review the past year for insight into what the new year may hold.

Trends in the Oil and Gas Industry

Then & Now

You don’t need an expert to tell you that the oil and gas industry has significantly changed over the past three years. Simply looking at crude oil and natural gas prices from 2014 versus today can confirm this. However, understanding how the change in oil prices has affected the value of your oil and gas business is a little more difficult.


Are Oil and Gas Bankruptcies a Thing of the Past?

Since the start of the oil downturn, more than 120 upstream and oilfield service companies declared bankruptcy. However, as we described in a previous post, the decision to file for bankruptcy did not always signal the demise of the business. Now more prepared, many E&P companies who reorganized are looking to grow.

Special Topics

Why Aren’t We Talking About the Gulf of Mexico?

Artem Abramov, of Rystad Energy, recently published an article in the Oil and Gas Financial Journal comparing shale and offshore drilling. He claims, the “Gulf of Mexico [is] as important as [the] Permian Basin for U.S. oil production” but it has been overlooked since the advancement of shale gas. The EIA reports that offshore drilling accounts for 17% of total domestic crude oil production. So, why aren’t we talking more about oil and gas production from the Gulf of Mexico (GoM)?

Oil & Gas

Mercer Capital provides oil and gas companies, oil and gas servicers, and mineral & royalty owners with corporate valuation, asset valuation, litigation support, transaction advisory, and related services