It’s been tough out there for equity capital markets bankers covering the upstream sector. Since 2016, there have only been five U.S. E&P company IPOs. The dearth of activity is driven by a number of factors which we discuss further in this week’s blog post.
The economics of Oil & Gas production vary by region. 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. In this post, we take a closer look at the Permian.
Pocketbooks Open for More Deals and Larger Positions
Transaction activity in the Permian Basin picked up in earnest this past year, indicating greater optimism in extracting value from the West Texas and Southeast New Mexico basin.
Like a small boat navigating a big sea, oil & gas valuations are impacted by a plethora of factors that can change almost instantly. Some factors help in arriving at a shareholder’s destination, others do not. Some factors the crew can control, others not so much (and some factors are more predictable than others). As this vessel heads for the destination shores of high returns, it must navigate through natural economic influencers such as production risk, commodity prices, supply logistics and demand changes. In addition, it also must face regulatory shifts that the Biden Administration is and could generate in the future such as tax changes, policy shifts and more. Most likely, these policies will create some volatility and headlines, but in the aggregate will not change valuations much. In this post we examine a few of these regulatory items and how they might change the course of an oil and gas company’s valuation going forward.
With Market Data as of May 26, 2021
Mercer Capital has its finger on the pulse of the minerals market. An important trend has been the rise of mineral aggregators, which have largely supplanted the trusts as the primary method of publicly traded minerals ownership. Due to a variety of corporate structures (including master limited partnerships and Up-Cs) and complex capital structures (including preferred equity and non-traded common units), mineral aggregator enterprise values pulled from databases are often missing meaningful components of value, leading to skewed valuation multiples.
Mercer Capital has thoughtfully analyzed the corporate and capital structures of the publicly traded mineral aggregators to derive meaningful indications of enterprise value. We have also calculated valuation multiples based on a variety of metrics, including distributions and reserves, as well as earnings and production on both a historical and forward-looking basis.
Part 2: Mineral Aggregators
Last week, we reviewed the first quarter earnings calls for a select group of E&P companies and briefly discussed the macroeconomic factors affecting the oil and gas industry. In this post, we focus on the key takeaways from mineral aggregator first quarter 2021 earnings calls.
Things appear to be on the upswing, albeit with cautious optimism, in the exploration and production space. Most of the eight E&P operators we tracked reported that operations in the first quarter were relatively stable in spite of winter storm Uri. The ultimate trending phrase in E&P operators’ earnings calls was “positive free cash flow.” Deleveraging remains a primary goal for many operators. In addition, few E&P operators seemed overly concerned with the potential tax implications stemming from regulatory changes brought forth by the Biden Administration.
The rise of SPACs, or special purpose acquisition companies, has been the hottest trend in capital markets during the past year.
In this blog, we take a look at a few oil & gas companies that were early adopters of the SPAC structure, review the recent pivot of SPACs towards energy transition companies, and see what the future might hold for the few remaining oil & gas-focused SPACs.
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.
After what felt like an eternity of quiet transaction activity in the O&G industry, the M&A market in 2021 has been off to a more active start in 2021. In this post, we discuss the Pioneer-DoublePoint transaction that could foreshadow for more M&A activity to come.
Regardless of whether a company files for Chapter 11, is party to an M&A transaction, or executes some other form of capital restructuring–such as new equity funding rounds or dividend recaps–one fundamental question takes center stage. Will the company remain solvent? This week we discuss the four tests that are used by professionals when performing a solvency opinion, and questions to consider for oil and gas companies.
The economics of oil and gas production vary by region. Mercer Capital focuses on trends in the Eagle Ford, Permian, Bakken, 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 Eagle Ford.
Transaction Activity Slows Amid Challenges of 2020
M&A transaction activity in the Eagle Ford was fairly quiet throughout 2020 before Chevron’s $13 billion deal with Noble Energy. The Chevron-Noble Energy transaction and the Ovintiv-Validus deal could be foreshadowing a busier M&A market in 2021.
Volatile asset returns in the oil patch were commonplace last year. Those returns often got amplified in entities utilizing equity distribution waterfall allocation techniques. It all depended on the structure and how optionality was treated.
Market Data as of March 12, 2021
Mercer Capital has thoughtfully analyzed the corporate and capital structures of the publicly traded mineral aggregators to derive meaningful indications of enterprise value. We have also calculated valuation multiples based on a variety of metrics, including distributions and reserves, as well as earnings and production on both a historical and forward-looking basis. Check out our report in this post.
Last week, we reviewed the fourth-quarter earnings calls for a select group of E&P companies and briefly discussed the macroeconomic factors affecting the oil and gas industry. In this post, we focus on the key takeaways from mineral aggregators’ fourth-quarter 2020 earnings calls.
In this post, we capture the key takeaways from fourth quarter 2020 earnings calls from E&P operators.
Oftentimes differences are a matter of perspective. Put another way – one person’s loss can be another person’s gain. One of the thematic differences between producers and mineral owners is their perspective on “Held By Production.” It elicits very different reactions depending on what side of the term one is on, and has a leverageable impact on value. With rig counts dropping to around half of last year’s count, how much acreage will be available for re-leasing this year? In this post, we decided to spend some time exploring this concept and its impact on the energy industry.
Irrespective of what industry or sector a company may operate in, a fundamental question arises as mergers and acquisitions persist and company boards and management teams survey their options when a proposed transaction is put on the table: is it fair to all direct stakeholders? This post reviews the basics of fairness opinions and when you should obtain one.
The recent rise of oil prices is a welcome sign to mineral and royalty holders across the board. Low valuations may not last for much longer though. In the meantime, let us expound a bit on the forces keeping mineral and royalty valuations in their existing state.
Public transactions do not disclose the value associated with PUDs and unproven reserves, but instead, they indicate an aggregate value for a bundle of assets. The allocation of that value across the various assets acquired is up for debate. Recent transaction sheds some light on asset pricing in the current environment.
Reduced Valuations Present Possibilities for Tax-Efficient Transfers
Year-end 2020 saw a flurry of tax-purposed project activity across all of Mercer Capital’s offices, with clients’ Estate Planning Counsel having recommended numerous gifts and other estate planning related transactions before 2020 came to a close. While we are all happy to have put 2020 in the rearview mirror, the passing of December 31st does not mean that the gifting opportunity has elapsed. Despite some level of recovery for parts of the Oilfield Services industry during Q4-2020, valuations remain at significantly depressed levels from where they were prior to March 2020. In addition, early indications of the Biden Administration’s intentions in regard to estate taxation indicate that the benefit of estate planning transactions will likely be greater in 2021 than in 2020.
Factors That Led to a Rush of Estate Planning Activity in 2020 Largely Remain
December was a busy month at Mercer Capital, and at business valuation firms across the country. Clients sought to make gifts and perform other estate planning transactions ahead of year-end. But the changing of the calendar does not mean that the window for gifting is over. The factors that led to a rush of estate planning transaction activity during 2020 largely remain. The combination of depressed E&P valuations, the potential for future tax changes, and the ability to utilize minority interest and marketability discounts are still present in 2021.
Energy Valuation Insights’ Top Blog Posts
As we hope for a better 2021, we look back at 2020 to see what was popular with you – our readers. This post includes a list of some of our top posts of 2020.