Energy Valuation Insights

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

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Valuation Issues


Special Topics

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.

Have Reserve Reports Been Relegated To Investor Footnotes?

For decades, an oil and gas company (all else being equal) often expected to have an enterprise value somewhat close to their PV-10 calculations in their annual reserve report. That’s not the case these days. Consigned to back pages, footnotes, and appendices, the reserve report’s relevance has waned. It is not that reserve reports are obsolete, but investors are focused on other things – namely returns to shareholders, free cash flow and deleveraging

Special Topics

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 Special Topics

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 Special Topics

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.

Mineral and Royalty Rights Special Topics

Themes from Q4 Earnings Calls

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.

Mineral and Royalty Rights Special Topics

Themes from Q4 Earnings Calls

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.

Special Topics

Themes From Q4 Earnings Calls

Part 1: E&P Operators

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.

Special Topics

Oilfield Services 2022

The Rise of the OFS Bulls

In our Energy Valuation Insights from last week, Bryce Erickson focused on Oilfield Services (OFS) company valuations. This week we follow the same OFS theme, but with a focus on OFS “expectations” and the question: “Has the OFS industry turned the corner to a more prosperous outlook?” 

Special Topics

Oilfield Service Valuations: Dawn Is Coming

“The dawn is coming!” This phrase comes to mind as we observe valuations and prospects for oilfield service companies. It has been tough sledding for OFS companies during COVID. At the end of 2020, rig counts were around 350 and DUC counts were high.

However, as we’ve been talking about for the past several weeks, things have changed for the positive as far as the industry is concerned, and it’s going to get better according to presenters at the recent NAPE Global Business Conference in Houston.  The current U.S. rig count is now at 613 and may be heading to 800 this year if OFS companies can fill a real labor shortage gap.

However, when it comes to valuations, assuming oilfield service companies will join the recovery has not always been true in the shale era.  That said – this time may be different.

In this week’s post, we note the past and current performance of oilfield service companies and discuss the valuation trends for the industry.

Special Topics

What a Difference a Year Makes: Part II

Analyst Projections

We continue the “what a difference a year makes” theme, but now with a focus on analyst projections, then-and-now (then being as of year-end 2020, and now being as of year-end 2021) and energy stock valuation multiples. For the purpose of our analysis, we identified publicly traded energy companies trading on the NYSE and NASDAQ exchanges and operating in three broad areas – exploration and production (E&P), oilfield services (OFS), and midstream. So, what are the analysts expecting? Find out in this week’s post.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Special Topics

What a Difference a Year Makes: Part I

Key Aspects of the Energy Industry in 2021

The close of 2021 marked the end of a long upward march for the energy sector.  With oil closing up the year at $75 and gas at nearly $4 per mmbtu, the commodity markets driving the energy sector were much more economically attractive to producers. Stock indices such as the XLE was up over 50% for 2021 and was by far the best performing sector. Rig counts rose along with prices. Crude production also rose to 11.7 million bbls/day with room to grow. In addition, OPEC+ has signaled it will continue its scheduled output growth. All of this growth is coming alongside the ascent of wind and solar. Even though the Omicron variant affected prices in December, most analysts believe that COVID won’t stop the growth. In this post, we review the industry at the end of 2021 and look forward to 2022.

Special Topics

What Is a Reserve Report?

In this post we discuss the most important information contained in a reserve report, the assumptions used to create it, and what factors should be changed to arrive at Fair Value or Fair Market Value.

Downstream Analysis Special Topics

How to Value an Oilfield Services Company

As the volatility continues with oil field service companies (the OSX has nearly doubled since November 2020), valuation and techniques associated therewith are important to consider right now.  Therefore, this week we are reposting our blog post and whitepaper as it pertains to how to understand and value oil field service companies.

Special Topics

What Is a Reserve Report?

A reserve report is a fascinating disclosure of information. This is, in part, because the disclosures reveal the strategies and financial confidence an E&P company believes about itself in the near future. Strategies include capital budgeting decisions, future investment decisions, and cash flow expectations. In this post, we provide a general overview of a reserve report, detailing why they’re important, what they contain, and how they’re prepared.

How to Use an EV/Production Multiple

Oil and gas analysts use many different metrics to explain and compare the value of an oil and gas company, specifically an exploration and production (E&P) company. The most popular metrics (at least according to our eyeballs) include (1) EV/Production; (2) EV/Reserves; (3) EV/Acreage; and (4) EV/EBITDA(X). Enterprise Value (EV) may also be termed Market Value of Invested Capital (MVIC) and is calculated by the market capitalization of a public company plus debt on the balance sheet less cash on the balance sheet. In this post, we will dive into one of these four metrics, the EV/Production metric, and explore the most popular uses of it.

Special Topics

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.

Hedging And Bank Retreats Complicate Royalty Aggregators’ Valuation

As the clouds begin to clear from the oil patch storm that began three months ago, management, analysts and investors are wondering what is going to happen next. Has the proverbial storm system passed? Is it time to venture out and rebuild, or are we still in the eye of the hurricane, with the back wall on its way? Both are possibilities.

COVID-19 Coverage

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.

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