Deep Dive: These U.S. oil companies are most at risk in the danger zone

Deep Dive: These U.S. oil companies are most at risk in the danger zone

22 Apr    Finance News

Updated with late Tuesday afternoon WTI prices for June and September delivery.

Oil producers seem to face black-swan events that can destroy demand or greatly increase supply at any time. So far this year the pain is only getting worse.

Below is a list of U.S. oil producers and oilfield servicers with the highest leverage that are low on cash. Some of them may not survive 2020.

U.S. oil producers are reeling from a vast reduction in demand from the coronavirus shutdown, but also from the decision by Saudi Arabia and Russia to increase output.

On Monday, the price of West Texas Intermediate crude oil for May delivery sank below zero. However, that May contract expires Tuesday, April 21, which, as William Watts explained, led to “traders scrambling to exit long positions that would require them to take physical delivery of crude amid dwindling storage space.”

WTI for June delivery US:CLM20 fell 35% to $13.25 a barrel Tuesday, following an 18% decline Monday. Meanwhile, WTI for September delivery US:CLU20 was down 17% to $24.64 on Tuesday, after falling 7% on Monday. Investors obviously expect oil demand to bounce back over the next five months.

That puts even more pressure on prices, as producers scramble to store as much oil as possible to sell later. Myra Saefong provided a full explanation of this “super contango.”

Mitch Rubin, a managing director at RiverPark Advisors in New York, said during an interview on April 17 that he had “shorted” — or betted against — energy companies for a year and a half heading into the coronavirus crisis, because “when you own something and do not control the price of the product, you do not control your destiny.” (He has since covered those short positions.)

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At a time of plunging cash flow, highly indebted oil companies will do everything they can to shore up liquidity, lower production and cut any costs they can.

The S&P 500 energy sector has already dropped 43% this year through April 17. That is, by far, the worst performance among the S&P sectors, with the full S&P 500 Index US:SPX declining 11%.

Despite that tremendous decline, nobody can say for sure when oil demand will recover sufficiently to take highly leveraged U.S. producers out of the danger zone.

To take a broad look at the energy sector, the following list is derived from the S&P 1500 Composite Index, which includes the S&P 500, the S&P 400 Mid Cap Index US:MID and the S&P Small Cap 600 Index US:SML. The S&P 1500 energy sector includes 82 companies. Here are the 30 with the highest ratios of net debt (total debt minus cash) to total capital:

Company Ticker Net debt/ equity Total return – 2020 through April 17 Industry
Tetra Technologies Inc. US:TTI 94.5% -87% Oilfield Services/Equipment
Equitrans Midstream Corp. US:ETRN 89.2% -42% Oil & Gas Pipelines
Apache Corp. US:APA 71.3% -67% Oil & Gas Production
Oneok Inc. US:OKE 67.1% -61% Oil & Gas Pipelines
Par Pacific Holdings Inc. US:PARR 66.9% -69% Oil Refining/Marketing
Core Laboratories NV US:CLB 66.2% -69% Oilfield Services/Equipment
Archrock Inc. US:AROC 63.0% -61% Oilfield Services/Equipment
Williams Companies Inc. US:WMB 61.9% -21% Oil & Gas Pipelines
Denbury Resources Inc. US:DNR 61.1% -87% Oil & Gas Production
Gulfport Energy Corp. US:GPOR 60.6% -76% Oil & Gas Production
Range Resources Corp. US:RRC 58.0% -4% Oil & Gas Production
Cnsol Energy Inc. US:CEIX 57.9% -64% Coal
U.S. Silica Holdings Inc. US:SLCA 57.8% -75% Other Metals/Minerals
Laredo Petroleum Inc. US:LPI 56.8% -85% Oil & Gas Production
Nabors Industries Ltd. US:NBR 54.6% -90% Contract Drilling
Exterran Corp. US:EXTN 52.1% -40% Oilfield Services/Equipment
Penn Virginia Corp. US:PVAC 51.0% -87% Oil & Gas Production
SM Energy Co. US:SM 50.2% -85% Oil & Gas Production
Callon Petroleum Co. US:CPE 50.1% -91% Oil & Gas Production
Noble Corp. PLC US:NE 50.0% -83% Contract Drilling
Occidental Petroleum Corp. US:OXY 49.2% -65% Oil & Gas Production
Kinder Morgan Inc. Class P US:KMI 49.1% -28% Oil & Gas Pipelines
Antero Midstream Corp. US:AM 47.9% -51% Oil & Gas Pipelines
Halliburton Co. US:HAL 47.3% -69% Oilfield Services/Equipment
Matador Resources Co. US:MTDR 45.9% -81% Oil & Gas Production
Marathon Petroleum Corp. US:MPC 45.8% -57% Oil Refining/Marketing
Noble Energy Inc. US:NBL 45.0% -72% Oil & Gas Production
Oasis Petroleum Inc. US:OAS 42.7% -92% Oil & Gas Production
Southwestern Energy Co. US:SWN 42.4% 10% Oil & Gas Production
CNX Resources Corp. US:CNX 41.2% 20% Integrated Oil
 Source: FactSet
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You can click on the tickers for more about each company.

You will need to scroll the table to see all of the data.

All of the net debt/capital ratios are as of Dec. 31. Companies that have taken significant measures to increase liquidity will have made announcements in the meantime, so it’s important to do your own research if you are interested in any of the companies mentioned here. The situation for many will no doubt be quite different when the March 31 figures are reported.

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