Natural gas is used as a fuel to make materials and chemicals. It is also used for electricity generation, heating, cooking, and as a transportation fuel. In the United States, natural gas accounts for about 30% of the energy used. The exploration, drilling, and production of natural gas affect the environment and is one of the significant contributors to climate change.
The ambitious Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) project has been in the news lately. It is a natural gas pipeline system that spans about 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia. It will be regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
The pipeline has faced several challenges since construction began in 2018. The project found opposition from groups that claimed it would contribute to climate change by increasing the use of natural gas.
The project got a boost after President Biden signed the debt limit bill, which canceled the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. Raising the national debt ceiling helped acquire the necessary permits, authorization, and verifications for Mountain Valley’s construction and initial operation at full capacity.
Earlier this year, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, in a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said, “MVP project will enhance the Nation’s critical infrastructure for energy and national security.”
On August 11, 2023, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, rejected a challenge to the federal approvals for the Mountain Valley Pipeline, ending the long legal battles which have delayed its construction and operation.
On July 27, the U.S. Supreme Court lifted orders of temporarily blocking construction issued by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the final 3.5-mile section of the pipeline, dealing a blow to the environmental groups protesting against the pipeline construction. The pipeline will transport natural gas from the Marcellus and Utica shale formations to the growing markets of the mid-Atlantic and southeastern regions of the United States.
The MVP will have a delivery capacity of 2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas, approximately one-third of marketed natural gas produced in West Virginia. The MVP will ensure reliable and affordable access to domestic energy while providing national energy security at the same time.
Although the project is due for completion this year, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration have notified MVP’s owner Equitrans Midstream to undertake safety inspections across the 300-mile project. The agency wants the safety inspections to be conducted as the segments of pipe left exposed or buried since the project’s inception could pose a safety risk.
In a Notice of Proposed Safety Order, the agency said, “The commissioning and operation of the MVP pipeline without appropriate inspection and corresponding corrective measures first being undertaken would pose a pipeline integrity risk to public safety, property, and the environment.”
Despite the order, the MVP project will likely come live this year. This is expected to benefit fundamentally strong natural gas companies like Shell plc (SHEL), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY), Cheniere Energy, Inc. (LNG), and Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK).
Let’s discuss these stocks in detail.
Headquartered in London, the United Kingdom, SHEL operates as an energy and petrochemical company. The company operates Integrated Gas, Upstream, Marketing, Chemicals and Products, and Renewables and Energy Solutions segments. It explores for and extracts crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids; markets and transports oil and gas; produces gas-to-liquids fuels and other products.
On February 20, 2023, SHEL’s wholly owned subsidiary Shell Petroleum NV, announced the completion of the acquisition of 100% of the shares of Nature Energy Biogas A/S (Nature Energy). Nature Energy is Europe’s largest renewable natural gas (RNG) producer. The acquisition would help SHEL build an integrated RNG value chain globally and profitably grow its low-carbon offerings to customers across different sectors.
On July 25, 2023, SHEL’s subsidiary Shell Upstream Overseas Services (I) Limited, announced that it had agreed to sell its participating interest in Indonesia’s Masela Production Sharing Contract to Indonesia’s PT Pertamina Hulu Energi and Petronas Masela Sdn. Bhd. SHEL’s Integrated Gas and Upstream Director said, “The decision to sell our participation in the Masela PSC is in line with our focus on disciplined capital allocation.”
In terms of the trailing-12-month levered FCF margin, SHEL’s 8.72% is 42.3% higher than the 6.13% industry average. Likewise, its 12.27% trailing-12-month Return on Total Capital is 18% higher than the industry average of 10.40%. Furthermore, the stock’s 0.83x trailing-12-month asset turnover ratio is 36.1% higher than the industry average of 0.61x.
In terms of forward non-GAAP P/E, SHEL’s 7.33x is 29.9% lower than the 10.45x industry average. Its 3.56x forward EV/EBITDA is 38.7% lower than the 5.80x industry average. Likewise, its 5.32x forward EV/EBIT is 44.3% lower than the 9.56x industry average.
SHEL’s revenue for the second quarter ended June 30, 2023, declined 25.5% year-over-year to $74.58 billion. Its adjusted earnings decreased 55.8% year-over-year to $5.07 billion. Its adjusted EBITDA declined 37.6% over the prior-year quarter to $14.44 billion. The company’s adjusted EPS came in at $0.75, representing an increase of 51.3% year-over-year.
Analysts expect SHEL’s EPS and revenue for fiscal 2024 to increase 2.5% and 3.3% year-over-year to $8.49 and $352.16 billion, respectively. It surpassed the consensus EPS estimates in three of the trailing four quarters. Over the past year, the stock has gained 15.1% to close the last trading session at $60.68.
OXY engages in acquiring, exploring, and developing oil and gas properties. It operates through three segments: Oil and Gas, Chemical, and Midstream and Marketing.
On August 15, 2023, OXY announced the acquisition of Carbon Engineering Ltd. for $1.1 billion to help it develop a string of carbon-capture sites. OXY President and CEO Vicki Hollub said, “We expect the acquisition of Carbon Engineering to deliver our shareholders value through an improved drive for technology innovation and accelerated DAC cost reductions.”
“The technology partnership also adds new revenue streams in the form of technology licensing and royalties. Importantly, the acquisition enables Occidental to catalyze broader development partnerships for DAC development in the most capital-efficient and valuable way,” she added.
In terms of the trailing-12-month net income margin, OXY’s 21.55% is 53.3% higher than the 14.06% industry average. Likewise, its 51.70% trailing-12-month EBITDA margin is 38.2% higher than the industry average of 37.40%. Furthermore, the stock’s 18.31% trailing-12-month Capex/Sales is 33.9% higher than the industry average of 13.68%.
In terms of forward non-GAAP P/E, OXY’s 17.01x is 62.7% higher than the 10.45x industry average. Its 6.02x forward EV/EBITDA is 3.8% higher than the 5.80x industry average. Likewise, its 2.69x forward Price/Book is 60.8% higher than the 1.67x industry average.
For the second quarter ended June 30, 2023, OXY’s revenues and other income declined 37.3% year-over-year to $6.73 billion. Its adjusted income attributable to common stockholders decreased 79.6% over the prior-year quarter to $661 million. Its adjusted EPS came in at $0.68, representing a decline of 78.5% year-over-year.
Street expects OXY’s EPS for the quarter ending March 31, 2024, to increase 6.2% year-over-year to $1.16. Its revenue for fiscal 2024 is expected to increase 3.3% year-over-year to $28.81 billion. Over the past three months, the stock has gained 7.6% to close the last trading session at $62.55.
LNG is an energy infrastructure company that is engaged in LNG-related businesses. The company provides clean, secure LNG to integrated energy companies, utilities, and energy trading companies worldwide. The company owns and operates two natural gas liquefaction and export facilities at the Sabine Pass LNG and Corpus Christi LNG terminals. It also owns the Creole Trail pipeline.
On June 26, 2023, LNG announced that its subsidiary Cheniere Marketing, LLC, entered into a long-term liquefied natural gas sale and purchase agreement with ENN LNG (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ENN Natural Gas Co., Ltd. ENN agreed to purchase approximately 1.8 million tonnes per annum of LNG under the sale and purchase agreement.
In terms of the trailing-12-month EBIT margin, LNG’s 48.11% is 98.9% higher than the 24.18% industry average. Likewise, its 52.11% trailing-12-month EBITDA margin is 39.3% higher than the industry average of 37.40%. Furthermore, the stock’s 0.70x trailing-12-month asset turnover ratio is 14.8% higher than the industry average of 0.61x.
In terms of forward non-GAAP P/E, LNG’s 7.83x is 25.1% lower than the 10.45x industry average. Its 5.12x forward EV/EBIT is 46.5% lower than the 9.56x industry average.
On the other hand, its 7.57x forward EV/EBITDA is 30.4% higher than the 5.80x industry average.
LNG’s revenues for the second quarter ended June 30, 2023, declined 48.8% year-over-year to $4.10 billion. Its consolidated adjusted EBITDA decreased 26.5% over the prior-year quarter to $1.86 billion. The company’s net income attributable to common stockholders rose 84.8% year-over-year to $1.37 billion. Also, its EPS came in at $5.61, representing an increase of 93.4% year-over-year.
For fiscal 2023, LNG’s EPS is expected to increase 479.3% year-over-year to $32.67. It surpassed the Street EPS estimates in three of the trailing four quarters. Over the past three months, the stock has gained 12.1% to close the last trading session at $160.19.
CHK is an independent exploration and production company that engages in acquiring, exploring, and developing properties to produce oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids from underground reservoirs in the United States. The company holds an interest in natural gas resource plays in the Marcellus Shale in the northern Appalachian Basin in Pennsylvania and the Haynesville/Bossier Shales in northwestern Louisiana.
On August 14, 2023, CHK announced its agreement to sell its remaining Eagle Ford assets to SilverBow Resources, Inc. (SBOW) for $700 million, taking the total proceeds from the Eagle Ford exit to more than $3.5 billion.
CHK’s President and CEO Nick Dell’Osso said, “We are pleased to have successfully completed the exit of our Eagle Ford asset, allowing us to focus our capital and team on the premium rock, returns, and runway of our Marcellus and Haynesville positions.”
In terms of the trailing-12-month net income margin, CHK’s 58.38% is 315.4% higher than the 14.06% industry average. Likewise, its 60.28% trailing-12-month EBITDA margin is 61.2% higher than the industry average of 37.40%. Furthermore, the stock’s 19.55% trailing-12-month Capex/Sales is 43% higher than the industry average of 13.68%.
In terms of forward EV/EBITDA, CHK’s 4.95x is 14.8% lower than the 5.80x industry average. Its 8.33x forward EV/EBIT is 12.9% lower than the 9.56x industry average. Likewise, its 1.11x forward Price/Book is 33.5% lower than the 1.67x industry average.
On the other hand, its 2.79x forward Price/Sales is 87.3% higher than the 1.49x industry average. Its 3.10x forward EV/Sales is 39.2% higher than the 2.23x industry average.
CHK’s total revenues and other income for the second quarter ended June 30, 2023, declined 46.3% year-over-year to $1.89 billion. Its net income available to common stockholders decreased 68.4% year-over-year to $391 million. Also, its EPS came in at $2.73, representing a decline of 67% year-over-year.
Analysts expect CHK’s EPS and revenue for fiscal 2024 to increase 45.5% and 1.5% year-over-year to $6.28 and $3.98 billion, respectively. It surpassed the consensus EPS estimate in each of the trailing four quarters. Over the past three months, the stock has gained 4.1% to close the last trading session at $82.58.