Get Out of The Oil Patch Part 3 :Goldman Sachs : How Oil Projects Are Stranded

Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

Please see our first Get Out of The Oil Patch dated Nov.30 for our 2015 forecast – here is a portion of that article:

– quote  Oil/ Energy I am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL – unquote

Kostin, for his part, is recommending that it’s time to load up on energy companies if you’re a patient (there’s that word again) investor with a 12-month time horizon. He and the elves at Goldman have identified 27 energy stocks in the Russell 1000 Index whose prices have declined more than their 2015 earnings estimates and trade at below-average forward-looking valuations.

With capital expenditures in the capex-heavy energy industry sure to take a hit and oil prices likely to remain volatile, oil-service companies probably aren’t the way to go, according to Kostin. Rather, the Goldman team recommends refiners such as Marathon Petroleum Corp. (MPC) and Phillips 66 (PSX) as well as midstream companies that are less sensitive to oil prices and offer the potential for dividend growth. They include EQT Midstream Partners LP (EQM), Kinder Morgan Inc. (KMI)and Cheniere Energy Inc. (LNG)

If you can’t keep your paws off the service stocks, Goldman recommends what it considers the more high-quality and defensive names such as Atwood Oceanics Inc., Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) andOceaneering International Inc. (OII)

Our advice beat several Wall Street Gurus: 

Oil’s drop has punished Icahn, Paulson • 10:37 AM

Carl Surran, SA News Editor
  • Even some of Wall Street’s big boys are taking a beating in the oil sector: Carl Icahn’s holdings of Talisman Energy (NYSE:TLM) have tumbled $230M since late August, and John Paulson’s firm had one of its largest losses of the year on a bet that big oil companies would buy smaller ones.
  • Before TLM agreed to be bought by Repsol, which boosted TLM shares, Icahn’s losses stood at more than $540M as recently as Dec. 11, and he still will have lost ~$290M at the deal price; Icahn also holds stakes in hard-hit Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) and Transocean (NYSE:RIG).
  • Paulson was the biggest shareholder in Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL) and Oasis Petroleum (NYSE:OAS) at the end of Q3, but his strategy could yet pay off, as many analysts expect consolidation in the energy sector as lower oil prices pressure smaller firms.
  • Also caught flat-footed by the oil price pullback was Prosperity Capital’s Mattias Westman, a longtime investor in Russia whose firm has lost more than $1B this year, in part on stakes in Russian energy companies Gazprom (OTCPK:OGZPY) and Lukoil (OTCPK:LUKOY, OTC:LUKOF)

There are zombies in the oil fields.

After crude prices dropped 49 percent in six months, oil projects planned for next year are the undead — still standing upright, but with little hope of a productive future. These zombie projects proliferate in expensive Arctic oil, deepwater-drilling regions and tar sands from Canada to Venezuela.

In a stunning analysis this week, Goldman Sachs found almost $1 trillion in investments in future oil projects at risk. They looked at 400 of the world’s largest new oil and gas fields — excluding U.S. shale — and found projects representing $930 billion of future investment that are no longer profitable with Brent crude at $70. In the U.S., the shale-oil party isn’t over yet, but zombies are beginning to crash it.

The chart below shows the break-even points for the top 400 new fields and how much future oil production they represent. Less than a third of projects are still profitable with oil at $70. If the unprofitable projects were scuttled, it would mean a loss of 7.5 million barrels per day of production in 2025, equivalent to 8 percent of current global demand.

How Profitable Is $70 Oil?

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research. Annotated by Tom Randall/Bloomberg

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research. Annotated by Tom Randall/Bloomberg

Making matters worse, Brent prices this week dipped further, below $60 a barrel for the first time in more than five years. Why? The U.S. shale-oil boom has flooded the market with new supply, global demand led by China has softened, and the Saudis have so far refused to curb production to prop up prices.

It’s not clear yet how far OPEC is willing to let prices slide. The U.A.E.’s energy minister said on Dec. 14 that OPEC wouldn’t trim production even if prices fall to $40 a barrel. An all-out price war could take up to 18 months to play out, said Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners LLC, a financial research group in Washington.

If cheap oil continues, it could be a major setback for the U.S. oil boom. In the chart below, ClearView shows projected oil production at four major U.S. shale formations: Bakken, Eagle Ford, Permian and Niobrara. The dark blue line shows where oil production levels were headed before the price drop. The light blue line shows a new reality, with production growth dropping 40 percent.

Even $75 Oil Crashes the Shale-Oil Party

Source: ClearView Energy Partners LLC

Source: ClearView Energy Partners LLC

The Goldman tally takes the long view of project finance as it plays out over the next decade or more. But the initial impact of low prices may be swift. Next year alone, oil and gas companies will make final investment decisions on 800 projects worth $500 billion, said Lars Eirik Nicolaisen, a partner at Oslo-based Rystad Energy. If the price of oil averages $70 in 2015, he wrote in an email, $150 billion will be pulled from oil and gas exploration around the world.

An oil price of $65 dollars a barrel next year would trigger the biggest drop in project finance in decades, according to a Sanford C. Bernstein analysis last week.

A pause in exploration and development may sound like good news for investors concerned about climate change. A vocal minority have been warning for years that potentially trillions of dollars of untapped assets may become stranded due to climate policies and improved energy efficiency. The challenges faced by oil developers today may provide a small sense of what’s to come.

However, these glut-driven prices can’t stay low forever. Oil production hasn’t slowed yet, but as zombie projects go unfunded, it will. This is how the boom-bust-boom of the oil market goes: prices fall, then production follows, pushing prices higher again. The longer this standoff goes, the more zombies will languish and the sharper the rebounding price spike may be.

How are you going to reduce your taxes in 2015

Tax website http://www.youroffshoremoney.com for 2015 tax planning

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