Anadarko Petroleum's Strategic Settlement

The Gulf of Mexico oil-spill saga is finally reaching a settlement of sorts. After 18 months of haggling and legal tussles, Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE: APC  ) has agreed to pay $4 billion to BP (NYSE: BP  ) for its stake of 25% in the tragic well. But is it a loss for Anadarko? I don't think so.

Pretty intriguing
Despite the incident, the Texas-based company made sure that its business remained fundamentally sound. A couple of months back, I mentioned the company's growing prospects following a fantastic second quarter. And now, by consenting to pay $4 billion, the company has the monkey off its back that had kept investors lying low.

Anadarko's share price did see pre-crisis levels early this year after a 50% wipeout following the incident. However, nothing really deterred management from pursuing a sound business strategy. Record liquids sales and expanding international operations backed by some hugely potential projects in the Gulf make me bullish on growth. I have a strong feeling that share prices have never really reflected the company's performance in the past 12 months.

But why all of a sudden?
So what made Anadarko relent after 18 months? Transocean (NYSE: RIG  ) and Halliburton (NYSE: HAL  ) -- the more responsible partners in the well blowout -- are yet to accept their roles. Yet a non-operating partner has responded by shelling out $4 billion, which even required raising funds using a $5 billion credit line. And again, it seems investors have let out a sigh of relief by pushing up the stock nearly 6% following the arrangement. Is something else brewing in the background?

The answer might lie in the Gulf of Mexico.

No pain, no gain
Deepwater exploration figures right at the top of management's current scheme of things. The Gulf holds more oil than what most people are assuming there will be. Management expects to find more than half a billion barrels of oil buried here.

Anadarko has already signed long-term contracts with Diamond Offshore (NYSE: DO  ) to build two drill-ships in the region. With highly successful well tests already conducted, it's just a matter of receiving a sanction, which is expected later this year.

Foolish bottom line
Management is surely anticipating something big later this year. Investors should be on the lookout for a pop in Anadarko's shares. With the company's third-quarter earnings due in a couple of weeks, the settlement seems to have come at the right time. Fools, keep your fingers crossed. If you're looking for other great stocks to profit off the energy boom, check out The Motley Fool's special report, "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." You can download it for free.

Fool contributor Isac Simon owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Transocean. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2011, at 9:53 PM, Avatar910 wrote:

    I believe that this will clear the way for APC to be acquired by a Major.

  • Report this Comment On October 20, 2011, at 10:03 PM, gratianus wrote:

    You might want to consider that Transocean under the terms of its contract with BP is indemnified for pretty much anything and everything that happened at the time of the explosion and the subsequent spill. I sincerely doubt that RIG will be making any significant contribution given the terms of its contract. To say "Transocean (NYSE: RIG ) and Halliburton (NYSE: HAL ) -- the more responsible partners in the well blowout -- are yet to accept their roles." suggests you are unaware of the contractual relationship between BP and at least RIG (and probably Halliburton, though I don't know how its contract with BP reads). If you were aware of this aspect, I'd expect you to include it in your article. It is possible that RIG will make a token payment to give BP some cover, but that possibility is a fraction of what has happened to RIG's shares since the April catastrophe.

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