Sunday, March 10, 2013

Received As A Comment To An Earlier Post

The following was a comment to an earlier post ("array" fracking). One cannot easily search comments, so I wanted to bring the comment forward where it could be more easily found.
I like your comparisons of the forward looking PE's. I too don't understand why the market values these Bakken growth companies similar to XOM from an earnings perspective. The only logical explanation that I can up with is the perceived risk that the market must see in these Bakken companies.

Going with that assumption, I don't see risk in the reserve estimates, in fact I see significant upside for all the reasons that you state. "Array" fracking only adds the potential for upside. Early data points from these companies, both what they have stated publicly along with the data that one can see from the NDIC site are certainly positive indicators that we'll see an increase in EUR's as knowledge around the correct spacing evolves.

And then you look at the Lynn Helms discussion around the "gusher" NW of Watford City. Whether that turns out to be a step function in EUR's or not, it illustrates to me that there is the very real potential that a step function could occur in the near future. Certainly a huge financial incentive for the oil companies as well as the service companies to innovate.

There certainly is the risk around regulatory interference in fracking, which should be considered. And there are the macro economic risks that the price of oil could collapse. Hedging helps in the near term, but if prices stay low for too long the hedging won't provide indefinite protection.

I've also read some analyst who worry that the 'break even' point for Bakken oil is quite high. In my view, those analysts have it wrong. They are looking at current returns against current expenditures and concluding that the cost to produce oil is very high. The companies IRR numbers are very strong. If I could get 50%-80% IRR on every dollar I invest, I think I'd be extremely happy.

And then consider cost improvements, differential improvements and additional efficiency gains,and you start to really drive the bottom line figures which only drive the PE down or the share price up.
Up until this past year (or so), some of the Bakken-centric companies (particularly KOG) had outlandish P/Es, but now they seem to have swung to the other end of the continuum.

We may be seeing low P/E's for three reasons:
  • most agree the Bakken-centric companies are priced to "perfection." Any glitch (regulatory, global economy, falling oil price, etc) and share prices will fall precipitously (based on history);
  • everyone agrees one needs deep pockets to pay for these very expensive Bakken wells; pad drilling makes each well less expensive, but each pad becomes much more expensive; and, 
  • relatively unknown to mutual fund managers and retail investors.
Two other thoughts:
  • for growth, there are much better opportunities; many feel the "easy" money has been made in the Bakken; considering that one could have bought KOG for 60 cents/share several years ago, and that was before share dilution when additional shares were issued; and, 
  • for value, there has been a noticeable turn to dividend-paying companies, which does not include many Bakken-centric operators. 
At least that's my 2 cents worth.

Disclaimer: this is not an investment site; do not make any investment decisions based on what you read here. 


  1. Canadian juniors seem to be way down. I don't expect a fracking issue there. Transport is a big issue. Price is bad. Any gas they have is almost worthless.

    A major issue seems to be lack of buyers for companies. They would build them for a few years and sell out. Fewer buyers now.

    US companies might be doing better, but some may be affected by the same issues.

    anon 1

  2. To me, the interesting part of "array" frac is the part where all they do is shut in the nearby wells during the frac and the resultant pressure effects improve perm in he older wells that had already been cracked. Really a very low cost deal (can't say no cost because at a minimum, some production is deferred .
    All in all tho a very innovative thing that someone
    (or probably some team) came up with. There are some very bright and capable folks out there (we already knew that tho)

  3. Another example of the oil and gas energy revolution the country is in and it is changing everyday. The justifications for alternative or renewable energy gets more difficult to make every day. The renewables have tried to implement old technology that was proved a failure along time ago. Wind and solar are not new. The only improvements made are in the devices used but they have not been able to over come the inefficiencies to any great degree. All the advances are in conventional energy sources of energy.

    By the time all the new technology and improved ability to extract have been implemented to these resource basins and formation the amount recovered will be amazing. Peak oil what peak oil.

    Coming up, maybe new technology and its implementation will make coal a clean energy source.
    When it comes to energy we are in a very strong era of creativity. And it has only began.

    1. I'm sure there's been technology improvements in wind and solar but they pale in comparison to those made in wind and solar based on the little I've seen written about the various subjects. For solar, the biggest costs savings have come in mass production/volume production in China.

  4. I have royalties in the Ivan Hoff well in the Strandahl field, sec 28-157-103. I see the well is producing and active. Also, I'm in on a well drilled by Oasis Petroleum in the Bull Butte field in section 1-156-104, the Jenna well, on confidential status until April.

    It is my understanding that this is just the beginning of the development of these fields. Although these wells are projected to be good producers they are not monsters, but good, solid wells.

    I have had offers (probably like a lot of you out there) to sell my royalties. My question to you, the readers: what are your thoughts on this?