By Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch
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 fell 35% to $13.25 a barrel Tuesday, following an 18% decline Monday. Meanwhile, WTI for September delivery /zigman2/quotes/209726595/delayed CLU20 +0.42% 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.)
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 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +1.34% 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 /zigman2/quotes/210599897/delayed MID +1.61% and the S&P Small Cap 600 Index /zigman2/quotes/210599868/delayed SML +1.67% . 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.||/zigman2/quotes/209715792/composite TTI||94.5%||-87%||Oilfield Services/Equipment|
|Equitrans Midstream Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/205653347/composite ETRN||89.2%||-42%||Oil & Gas Pipelines|
|Apache Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/200648444/composite APA||71.3%||-67%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Oneok Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/205201756/composite OKE||67.1%||-61%||Oil & Gas Pipelines|
|Par Pacific Holdings Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/207364768/composite PARR||66.9%||-69%||Oil Refining/Marketing|
|Core Laboratories NV||/zigman2/quotes/207238091/composite CLB||66.2%||-69%||Oilfield Services/Equipment|
|Archrock Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/206867288/composite AROC||63.0%||-61%||Oilfield Services/Equipment|
|Williams Companies Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/205467183/composite WMB||61.9%||-21%||Oil & Gas Pipelines|
|Denbury Resources Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/206163509/composite DNR||61.1%||-87%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Gulfport Energy Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/203981280/composite GPOR||60.6%||-76%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Range Resources Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/205059849/composite RRC||58.0%||-4%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Cnsol Energy Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/208773703/composite CEIX||57.9%||-64%||Coal|
|U.S. Silica Holdings Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/206361964/composite SLCA||57.8%||-75%||Other Metals/Minerals|
|Laredo Petroleum Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/201779769/composite LPI||56.8%||-85%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Nabors Industries Ltd.||/zigman2/quotes/202661377/composite NBR||54.6%||-90%||Contract Drilling|
|Exterran Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/202051283/composite EXTN||52.1%||-40%||Oilfield Services/Equipment|
|Penn Virginia Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/200301793/composite PVAC||51.0%||-87%||Oil & Gas Production|
|SM Energy Co.||/zigman2/quotes/209677692/composite SM||50.2%||-85%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Callon Petroleum Co.||/zigman2/quotes/201917664/composite CPE||50.1%||-91%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Noble Corp. PLC||/zigman2/quotes/207690683/composite NE||50.0%||-83%||Contract Drilling|
|Occidental Petroleum Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/207018272/composite OXY||49.2%||-65%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Kinder Morgan Inc. Class P||/zigman2/quotes/208455654/composite KMI||49.1%||-28%||Oil & Gas Pipelines|
|Antero Midstream Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/208787863/composite AM||47.9%||-51%||Oil & Gas Pipelines|
|Halliburton Co.||/zigman2/quotes/210488727/composite HAL||47.3%||-69%||Oilfield Services/Equipment|
|Matador Resources Co.||/zigman2/quotes/204387276/composite MTDR||45.9%||-81%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Marathon Petroleum Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/209634297/composite MPC||45.8%||-57%||Oil Refining/Marketing|
|Noble Energy Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/210375673/composite NBL||45.0%||-72%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Oasis Petroleum Inc.||/zigman2/quotes/207530975/composite OAS||42.7%||-92%||Oil & Gas Production|
|Southwestern Energy Co.||/zigman2/quotes/208301463/composite SWN||42.4%||10%||Oil & Gas Production|
|CNX Resources Corp.||/zigman2/quotes/208647486/composite CNX||41.2%||20%||Integrated Oil|
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.