Energy Valuation Insights

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


Special Topics

Valuation Issues

Understanding Oilfield Services Companies & How to Value Them

Understanding the value of an oilfield services (OFS) company is by its very nature, a complex matter. The unpredictable cyclicality of the oilfield services industry requires careful consideration of many industry-wide and company-specific factors in developing a reasonable forecast of future operating results. In our blog this week we feature a whitepaper that provides invaluable guidance in regard to these aspects of the OFS industry.

Valuation Issues

Are You Ready for the Next Recession?

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.

All in the Family Limited Partnership

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.

Themes from Q3 2022 Earnings Calls

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.

Themes from Q3 2022 Earnings Calls

Part 1: Upstream

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.

Takeaways from Two Recent Energy Events in Dallas

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.

Now Available: Mercer Capital’s 2022 Energy Purchase Price Allocation Study

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.

How Waves Of Reality Are Swelling Upstream Returns

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.

Themes from Q2 2022 Earnings Calls

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. 

Themes from Q2 2022 Earnings Calls

Part 1: Upstream

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.

Meet the Team: J. David Smith, ASA, CFA

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.

Valuation Issues

U.S. LNG Exports

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.

The Importance of a Quality of Earnings Study

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).

Themes from Q1 Earnings Calls

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.

Themes from Q1 2022 Earnings Calls

Part 1: Upstream

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.

Valuation Issues

U.S. LNG Exports

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.

Bakken Shale Eagle Ford Shale Marcellus and Utica Shale Permian Basin Valuation Issues

E&P Capital Expenditures Set to Rise, but Remain Below Pre-Pandemic Levels

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.

Permian Basin Valuation Issues

Oilfield Water Markets

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.

Eagle Ford Shale

Modest Production Growth for Eagle Ford

With More on the Way

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.

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