Energy Valuation Insights

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


Energy Valuation Insights

Special Topics

Mineral Aggregator Valuation Multiples Analysis

Market Data as of August 14, 2020

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. As shown in the report, mineral aggregators’ stock prices have declined substantially over the past twelve months, but have rebounded from lows seen earlier in the year. 

Permian Basin

Q2 2020 Exploration & Production Newsletter Release

Region Focus: Permian Basin

This week on the blog we feature our quarterly newsletter, which focuses on the Permian Basin. Notable items include an unprecedented decline in oil prices, the Texas Railroad Commission’s proration discussions, and Pure Acquisition Corporation’s announced acquisition of HighPeak Energy.


Bridging Valuation Gaps With Options

How Option Pricing Can Be Used to Understand the Future Potential of Assets Most Affected by Low Prices, PUDs and Unproven Reserves

Due to the precipitous drop in oil prices in 2020, oil E&P companies in the U.S. have struggled to pay their debts, and in many cases already have had to file for bankruptcy. In this post, we re-examine how option pricing, a sophisticated valuation technique, can be used to understand the future potential of the assets most affected by low prices, PUDs and unproven reserves. Whether companies are looking to sell these reserves to improve their cash balance, or are trying to generate reorganization cash flow projections during a Chapter 11 restructuring, understanding how to value PUDs and unproven reserves is crucial to survival in a down market.

Bankruptcy COVID-19 Coverage

Valuation Considerations in Bankruptcy Proceedings

An Overview for Oil & Gas Companies

For oil & gas companies, the decision to file for bankruptcy does not necessarily signal the demise of the business.  If executed properly, Chapter 11 reorganization affords a financially distressed or insolvent company an opportunity to restructure its liabilities and emerge from the proceedings as a viable going concern. Although the Chapter 11 process can seem burdensome, a rigorous assessment of cash flows, and a company’s capital structure can help the company as it develops a plan for years of future success.  The purpose of this post is to provide an explanation of the key valuation-related steps of a Chapter 11 restructuring and help managers realize this potential.

Permian Basin

Current Environment Challenges America’s Most Prolific Basin

Permian Basin Update

While commodity prices have recovered from recent lows, they remain below levels at which certain E&P companies can operate sustainably.  Two Permian operators have filed for bankruptcy, and more are likely coming.  However, the Permian’s economics remain superior relative to most basins.

Mergers, Acquisitions, & Divestitures Permian Basin

M&A in the Permian Basin

The Road Ahead: Deal Count and Deal Motives Changing in Challenging Times

Transaction activity in the Permian Basin is in a unique and potentially critical situation as companies are facing unpredictable consequences and uncertain futures. Only four deals have been announced post-March and while the sample is small, they could be the best indication of what is to come, assuming prices remain depressed.

Special Topics Valuation Issues

Impairment Testing of Oil & Gas Reserves

2020 Global Events Causing Significant Reserve Write-Downs

The oil & gas market and the energy sector as a whole have taken a beating and experienced unprecedented events due to the global impacts from the pandemic and international price wars. While the scale of the full economic effects from these events has yet to be seen, companies are having to question and consider the need for interim impairment testing on reserves. The purpose of this post is to help oil & gas companies discern whether they may need to make interim impairment assessments and to discuss the impairment testing process.

Special Topics

Mercer Capital’s Mineral Aggregator Valuation Multiples Analysis

Market Data as of June 2, 2020

Mercer Capital has its finger on the pulse of the minerals market. We have 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. Download our analysis here.

Bankruptcy COVID-19 Coverage

2020 Commodity Prices Upend 2019 E&P Bankruptcies

The recent historic decline in oil prices has strained the balance sheets of E&P companies.  Whiting Petroleum Corporation, the first publicly traded U.S. E&P company to declare bankruptcy in 2020, announced its Chapter 11 reorganization process on April 1.  More are expected to follow.

Despite a much more benign commodity price environment of ~$50-$60/bbl in 2019, a number of E&P companies declared bankruptcy last year and have seen their reorganization processes derailed in 2020 as a result of low oil prices.

COVID-19 Coverage Valuation Issues

Uncharted Valuation Territory: What Is A Barrel Or An Acre Worth Today?

Times are tumultuous for the oil and gas industry. News earlier this month was met with no rise in West Texas Intermediate pricing at the time. It hovered around $20.00 per barrel. Last week it fell to the seemingly unconscionable negative territory. It was worse in other places. In Western Canada heavy select oil was around $4.50 per barrel and dropped to $0 last week. It went negative as well. World demand for oil has dropped somewhere between 20% and 35% by some estimations, and excess supply has been building for weeks.

Something must give, and something will. While global supply and demand imbalance has the industry scrambling in unseen territory, how does this convert to what upstream companies and reserves are worth amid the situation? Is it a 1:1 price to value change ratio? Depending on perspective, the answer is both simple and complicated.

Special Topics Uncategorized

Saudi Arabia, Russia, or the United States – Did One of the Players Blink?

It’s been a truly dizzying time in the rough-n-tumble world of oil production.  Like they say, if you miss a day, you miss a lot.  For now, it at least appears that someone may have just blinked.  The Trump administration seems to be on the verge of a truly historic deal to cut worldwide oil production and bring oil prices up to a modestly workable level.  And that with the U.S. not committing to forcing domestic producers to cut production levels but indicating that U.S. production would “naturally” decline without the government’s intervention. That coupled with a potential side-deal with Mexico to “cover” part of the production decrease that was being sought from that country, but that Mexico is unwilling to shoulder on its own. Will it work?  Will the deal be accomplished? Although an agreement was reached to reduce oil production in light of demand destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic, oil markets appear to remain oversupplied.  Will OPEC+ and other nations agree to another deal to further reduce production?  Will U.S. production decline faster than anticipated due to low oil prices? Will the Texas Railroad Commission implement proration orders for Texas producers? All we can say is, stay tuned – and expect the unexpected.

Eagle Ford Shale

Eagle Ford Update

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.

Domestic Production 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.

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