Energy Valuation Insights

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


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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.

Mercer Capital’s Mineral Aggregator Valuation Multiples Analysis

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.

Themes from Q1 2020 Earnings Calls

Part 2: Mineral Aggregators

In this post, we examine some of the most discussed items and trends from the Q1 2020 earnings calls, specifically those in the mineral aggregator space.


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.

Themes from Q4 Earnings Calls

In this post, we examine some of the most discussed items and trends from the Q4 earnings calls, specifically E&P companies and those in the mineral aggregator space.

Domestic Production

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.

Exploration & Production Purchase Price Allocations

A Review of E&P Transactions Analyzed in Mercer Capital’s 2019 Energy Purchase Price Allocation Study

Last week, Mercer Capital released its 2019 Energy Purchase Price Allocation Study. In this post, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into the Exploration & Production transactions reviewed in the analysis.

Coming Soon: Mercer Capital’s 2019 Energy Purchase Price Allocation Study

We at Mercer Capital love movies.  One fun aspect of a movie is the anticipation for new releases that comes from watching movie trailers, which inform and tease simultaneously.  If done well, they can build anticipation for the show to come.  While not quite a movie trailer, we wanted to introduce you to a new study from our energy team that we are excited about: Mercer Capital’s Energy Purchase Price Allocation Study. 

Q4 2019 Global Macro Review

U.S. Production Hits Milestones Amid Continued Global Political Tensions

Brent crude prices began the quarter around $59 per barrel and have steadily risen to around $68 to close out 2019. WTI pricing has risen at a similar pace although it continues to trail Brent pricing by about $7 per barrel. Natural gas, however, has been trending in the opposite direction as prices have steadily declined since the end of October. In this post, we will examine the macroeconomic factors that have affected prices in the fourth quarter.

The Best of 2019

Energy Valuation Insights' Top Blog Posts

As we plan for a new year and a new decade, we look back at 2019 to see what was popular with you ­– our readers. This week’s post includes a list of the top posts of 2019 grouped by topic (Transactions, Saltwater Disposal, Oilfield Services Companies, Royalty and Mineral Markets, and Basin-Specific posts). If you missed one or two posts during the year, now is the time to catch up on your reading.

Themes from Q3 2019 Earnings Calls

The energy sector in the third quarter has experienced a general decline as crude prices have exhibited volatility and have remained depressed relative to last year. U.S. producers continue to cut rigs and capital expenditures due to continued excess supply and concerns of declining demand. In this post, we examine some of the most discussed items and trends from the Q3 earnings calls, specifically E&P companies and those in the mineral aggregator space.

Valuation Issues

How to Perform a Purchase Price Allocation for an Oilfield Services Company

When performing a purchase price allocation for an oilfield services company, careful attention must be given to both the relevant accounting rules and the specific nuances of the oil and gas industry. Oilfield services companies can entail many unique characteristics that are not present in non-oilfield related businesses such as manufacturing, wholesale, non-energy related services, or retail. We will explore the unique factors in future entries. In this blog post, we discuss the guidelines for purchase price allocations that all companies must adhere.

Valuation Issues

The Fair Market Value of Oil & Gas Reserves

Oil and gas assets represent the majority of value of an E&P company. The Oil and Gas Financial Journal describes reserves as “a measurable value of a company’s worth and a basic measure of its life span.” Thus, understanding the fair market value of a company’s PDP, PDNP, and PUDs is key to understanding the fair market value of the Company.

Themes from Q2 2019 Earnings Calls

Will “Capital Efficiency” Prevent Bankruptcy and Maintain Production as E&P’s Reduce CapEx?

While large, rapid commodity price declines are certainly harmful for near-term profits and long-term planning, persistently low prices may be more ominous for industry operators and investors. Prices rebounded from a low of $45/bbl, but crude has been below $60 for nearly 3 months. Natural gas prices have similarly languished, remaining below $2.50/mmbtu in that time. Two Houston-based E&P companies (Halcon & Sanchez) recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy within days of each other, raising questions about the state of the industry. Size and operational efficiency may enable some players to stave off issues, while others may be forced into difficult decisions between preserving capital and investing over budget to produce enough debt-servicing cash flow.

Domestic Production

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.

Natural Gas Takeaway Constraints

A Tale of Two Basins

Appalachia and the Permian are responsible for much of the United States’ surging natural gas production, resulting in relatively low benchmark prices. However, difficulties capturing, storing, and transporting natural gas mean that large regional price differentials can occur.

While Appalachia price differentials have narrowed significantly, Permian pricing differentials have widened, often resulting in $0 or sometimes negative realized prices. Going forward, futures prices imply a modest widening of the Appalachia basis over time, while the Permian basis will not stabilize until 2021.

Q2 2019 Macro Overview

Uncertainties Engulf Global Oil Amid Political Tensions

Brent crude prices began the quarter around $69 per barrel and peaked at nearly $75 in late-April before declining to just below $60 on June 12th, 2019. Prices have since increased to $65, with WTI continuing to trail by about $8 per barrel. In this post, we will assess global supply and demand factors that have caused these price fluctuations.

Forecasting Future Operating Results for an Oilfield Services Company

In our prior two blog posts, we detailed the specifics of “what is” and “what are the characteristics of” an oilfield equipment/services company (“OFS”), and detailed the typical approaches and methodologies utilized in valuing OFS companies.  This week, we’ll address some of the special considerations that must be given attention in the appraisal of OFS companies.  Specifically, the challenges in forecasting the future operating results for an OFS company.

How to Value an Oilfield Services Company

When valuing a business, it is critical to understand the subject company’s position in the market, its operations, and its financial condition. A thorough understanding of the oil and gas industry and the role of oilfield service (“OFS”) companies is important in establishing a credible value for a business operating in the space. Our blog strives to strike a balance between current happenings in the oil and gas industry and the valuation impacts these events have on companies operating in the industry. After setting the scene for what an OFS company does and their role in the energy sector, this post gives a peek under the hood at considerations used in valuing an OFS company.

What is an Oilfield Service Company?

This week’s post is the first in a series related to oilfield service companies. In this first post, we describe what an oilfield service company is, their place in the broader industry, and their key drivers.

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