What 2023 Might Have in Store
As we have now put a bow on 2022 and have turned our attention to 2023, we suspect that the dreaded “R word” is on the mind of many of our readers as they contemplate the myriad challenges and obstacles their businesses will face in 2023. Now is the time to think critically about how your business is positioned for a potential economic slowdown. This post offers a few practical steps business owners, directors, and their advisors can take to ensure their business continues to thrive.
In this week’s post, we share a recent piece from our Family Business Director blog on the topic of Family Limited Partnerships. While the post speaks directly to family-owned businesses, the content is applicable to many because the individual estate tax exemption reverts to $6 million in 2026 from its current level of $12 million. As a result, many estates are beginning to plan now.
Three years ago, Bryce Erickson wrote an article about struggling Appalachian gas companies amid depressed valuations. They would still be struggling if that world had remained. It has not remained. A lot has changed since then, and the future looks very bright indeed.
Part 2: Oilfield Service Companies
In part 2 of this Q3 earnings calls series, we focus on key takeaways from Oilfield Service Companies such as the expanding role of international business segments, long-term sustainable growth, and E&P production growth plans.
This week, we focus on the key takeaways from the Q3 2022 Upstream earnings calls including the continued focus on share buybacks, moderate production growth, and how inflation is limiting that growth.
One of the key pieces of the Inflation Reduction Act was the “upsizing” of the 45Q tax credit from $50 to $85 per ton. This instantly bumps the value of carbon capture sequestration projects. However, there are still lots of issues and hurdles to overcome before getting off the ground.
Strong Industry Fundamentals, Capital Markets Showing Signs of Resurgence, and Energy Security
In the past week, several energy-related gatherings have been held in the Dallas area. We attended two of them: the D-CEO Energy Awards and Hart Energy’s Energy Capital Conference. We had numerous discussions with company representatives, dealmakers, and service providers. The marketplace appears excited about the potential for the upcoming year amid challenges. At both events, several industry themes were evident including: the energy industry has strong fundamentals, capital markets are showing signs of a resurgence in needed capital, and energy security is returning to the lexicon.
Mercer Capital is pleased to announce the release of the “2022 Energy Purchase Price Allocation Study.” This study provides a detailed analysis and overview of valuation and accounting trends in different subsectors of the energy space for the 2021 calendar year. This study researches and observes publicly available purchase price allocation data for four sub-sectors of the energy industry: (i) exploration & production; (ii) oilfield services; (iii) midstream; and (iv) refiners and marketers.
This study is unlike any other in terms of energy industry specificity and depth. The study provides a detailed analysis and overview of valuation and accounting trends in each sub-sector. This study also enables key users and preparers of financial statements to better understand the asset mix, valuation methods, and useful life trends in the energy space as they pertain to business combinations under ASC 805 and GAAP fair value standards under ASC 820. We utilized transactions that closed and reported their purchase allocation data in calendar year 2021.
Upstream and oilfield service companies have bucked investment trends most of this year. While other industries have had stagnant to negative returns, the oil patch has outperformed them all. Several realities have come to the forefront to build this wave: world, production, and capital realities.
Part 2: Oilfield Service Companies
This week we focus on the key takeaways from Oilfield Service Operators’ Q2 2022 earnings calls. We discuss how COVID impacted the OFS industry, a shift in strategy due to limited supply, and the industry’s outlook in the face of a potential recession.
This week, we focus on the key takeaways from the Q2 2022 Upstream earnings calls including strong balance sheets, the increasing role of share buybacks, and supply and demand in the global oil & gas commodities market.
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.
In each “Meet the Team” segment, we highlight a different professional on our Energy team. This week we highlight David Smith, Senior Vice President of Mercer Capital and a senior member of the Oil and Gas Industry Team. The experience and expertise of our professionals allow us to bring a full suite of valuation, transaction advisory, and litigation support services to our clients. We hope you enjoy getting to know us a bit better.
Part 2: A Closer Look at Projected U.S. LNG Export Terminal Capacity
In Part 1 of our analysis on U.S. LNG Export Terminal Facilities, we examined trends in the number of LNG export facility applications and approval rates from 2010 through 2021, and examined the projected export capacity relative to the projected export volumes of U.S. LNG from 2022 through 2031. In Part 2 of our analysis, we take a closer look at the anticipated export capacity proposed to come online over the near and mid-term horizons to better understand the underlying factors that have spurred so many projects, seemingly far in excess of projected level of LNG exports from the U.S.
Acquirers of companies can learn a valuable lesson from the same approach that pro sports teams take in evaluating players. Prior to draft night, teams have events called combines where they put prospective players through tests to more accurately assess their potential. In this scenario, the team is akin to the acquirer or investor and the player is the seller. While a player may have strong statistics in college, this may not translate to their future performance at the next level. So it’s important for the team to dig deeper and analyze thoroughly to reduce the potential for a draft bust and increase the potential for drafting a future all-star.
A similar process should take place when acquirers examine acquisition targets. Historical financial statements may provide little insight into the future growth and earnings potential for the underlying company. One way that acquirers can better assess potential targets is through a process similar to a sports combine called a Quality of Earnings Study (QoE).
Part 2: Oilfield Service Companies
This week we take a look at the key takeaways from the OFS Q1 2022 earnings calls. Themes from these calls include short-cycle projects to bolster near-term production, margin expansion, and the growing importance of relationships with private operators. Read more in this week’s post.
This week, we take a holistic upstream perspective on the themes of both the E&P operator and mineral aggregator earnings calls for Q1 of 2022.
Part I: The Current State of U.S. LNG Export Terminal Facilities and Projected Export Capacity
Based on the eye-ball test, it’s pretty clear that projected export capacity could far outstrip demand for U.S. LNG, based on the EIA’s export projections (as of early 2021), only if all that capacity were to come online. Free Market Economics 101 theory would indicate, rather decisively, that such excessive capacity would clearly not be worth building out given the export volumes projected as of early 2021. Then, on February 24, 2022, Russia – the largest supplier of LNG to Europe – invaded Ukraine. For an in-depth discussion, read this week’s post.
The upstream oil and gas sector is highly capital intensive; production requires expensive equipment and constant maintenance. Despite higher oil and gas prices, E&P operators have refrained from increasing capital investment, and instead, are delivering cash to shareholders. In this post, we explore recent capex trends in the oil & gas industry and the outlook for 2022 through 28 selected public companies.
Update, Trends, and the Future
The Oilfield Services industry has long been known for its cyclicality, sharp changes in “direction,” and demand-driven technological innovation. One segment of the OFS industry that is among those most subject to recent, rapid change is the Oilfield Water segment – including water supply, use, production, infrastructure, recycling, and disposal. In this week’s post, we look to key areas of the Oilfield Water segment – oilfield water disposal and oilfield water recycling – and address both recent trends and where the segment is going in the near-future.
The economics of Oil & Gas production vary by region. Mercer Capital focuses on trends in the Eagle Ford, Permian, Bakken, and Marcellus and Utica plays. In this post, we take a closer look at the Eagle Ford. Specifically, we take a look at production and activity levels, the rise of commodity prices amid geopolitical tension, the financial performance of our Eagle Ford public comp group, and the economic advantage of wells in the Eagle Ford.
Part 3: Oilfield Service Companies
After summarizing the key topics from Q4 earnings calls from public E&P operators and Mineral Aggregators, this week, we turn our attention to the Q4 earnings calls from Oil Field Service companies. Key themes include 1) macroeconomic headwinds, such as labor shortages and supply chain constraints; 2) the anticipation of greater M&A activity and industry consolidation in 2022; and 3) ESG, including recognition of OFS operator initiatives from outside the industry, the mitigation of environmental impacts on local communities at present, and projections of continued demand for ESG-focused services.
Part 2: Mineral Aggregators
In Part 1: Themes from Q4 E&P Operator Earnings Calls last week, we noted themes of cost inflation, a shift in production focus from natural gas to liquids, and macro policy headwinds. This week, we focus on the key takeaways from the mineral aggregator Q4 2021 earnings calls – specifically discipline in an elevated pricing environment, stagnant production, and strength in position amid inflationary environment.
In the last round of earnings calls for 2021, cost inflation was discussed with a bit more granularity than in recent quarterly calls, strengthening oil prices sparked a shift in focus towards the liquid hydrocarbon streams, and commentary regarding macro policies targeting hydrocarbons were prevalent in E&P management discussions.