Track the companies that matter to you. It's FREE! Click one of these fan favorites to get started: Apple; Google; Ford.



EOG Resources Is Running Away From the Competition

I simply can't avoid bringing Fools up to date on the key trends and metrics that EOG Resources (NYSE: EOG  ) laid out for attendees at last week's Howard Weil's Annual Energy Conference. After you've considered the company's heady information, I think you'll agree that an extensive search is unlikely to yield a more successful independent producer than the Houston-based operator.

The company's accomplishments aren't on the proverbial come, awaiting a ratcheting up of commodities prices, as is the case with, say, Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) . Solely for the sake of perspective, I'll remind you that in its most recent quarter, EOG topped the analysts' per-share earnings consensus by an unusually high $0.24, or 17%. And when compared with its year-earlier per-share results, the differential was 40%.

EOG Resources is hardly tethered to North America. It currently is involved in the promising Neuquen Basin of Argentina, China's Sichuan Basin, offshore Trinidad and Tobago, and the Irish Sea. In addition, the company operates in several smaller or more nascent U.S. onshore plays. But the areas that have made it especially power-packed are the Eagle Ford of south Texas, the Bakken and Three Forks of North Dakota, and the revitalized Permian Basin of southwestern Texas and southeastern New Mexico.

Scoring with an eagle
As CEO Mark Papa said during the company's post-release conference call last month: "The Eagle Ford continues to be our flagship oil asset..." And why not? Taking into account all of the companies that are working in the hot play, total production was 373,000 barrels a day in January, up from 248,403 barrels daily for the same month of 2012. That, if my calculation is correct, represents a 50% hike. EOG is the Eagle Ford's leader, with a total of 644,000 net acres. That's more than 30% above Chesapeake's 490,000 net acres.

But not only does EOG own sizable acreage in the play, it also conducts its operations there wisely and efficiently. In part for that reason, it is the largest horizontal crude oil producer in the U.S. by a whopping two-to-one ratio. Further, with natural gas prices remaining in the doldrums and unlikely to emerge anytime soon, it's noteworthy that fully 88% of EOG's revenues for 2013 are expected to be tied to oil and natural gas liquids.

As the company has become more familiar with the Eagle Ford, it's become convinced of the efficacy of decreased spacing between wells. That clearly has been the case. From 130-acre spacing, management has moved to a range of 65-acre to 90-acre spacing, with 40-acrer to 65-acre spacing probably in the offing.

A key result last year was an impressive jump from the previously estimated 900 million barrels of recoverable oil from EOG's Eagle Ford acreage to 1.6 billion barrels. That number could move to about 2.2 billion barrels. And with its production infrastructure (e.g. roads, etc.) already in place, the present value of the company's production in the play has risen since 2009 from slightly less than $24 per barrels to more than $34.

Building in the Bakken
Similarly, in the Bakken and Three Forks oil plays in the Williston Basin the company is testing a move from 320-acre spacing to a 160-acre approach. Plans for 2013 call for the drilling of 53 net wells, which are expected to benefit from the application of new fracking techniques.

Most of those wells will be drilled in the core areas that have been demonstrably prolific, along with the promising Antelope Extension, which runs from western North Dakota into Montana. From a cost perspective, the company is benefiting from an innovative crude-by-rail system -- unless and until TransCanada's (NYSE: TRP  ) Keystone XL pipeline becomes reality -- by which it is able to ship its production to Louisiana. It also benefits from the ability to use self-sourced sand in the fracking process.

New life in the Permian Basin
EOG has also had notable success in the Wolfcamp Shale and Leonard Shale portions of the Permian Basin. In the former play, for instance, it estimates its reserve potential (as opposed to proved reserves) at about 800 million barrels of oil equivalent from its 114,000 net acres.

In the Leonard Shale, its estimated potential reserves have been upgraded from 65 million barrels of oil equivalent net to the company to about 550 million equivalent barrels. It anticipates drilling about 16 net wells on its 73,000 net Leonard acres during 2013.

The Foolish bottom line
As indicated, the company is involved in several other North American plays, including the Powder River Basin and DJ Basin of Colorado, along with the Marcellus Shale, largely in Pennsylvania. But clearly most of its funding will be poured into the three above-mentioned plays for the foreseeable future. In fact, last year management decided to sell its 30% interest in Canada's Kitimat LNG facility to Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) in order to increase the funds available for its big U.S. plays.

Fully 26 of the 35 analysts who follow EOG actively rate the company at least a buy. I'm strongly inclined to agree with their conclusions. I also suggest that Fools with a bent for energy investments monitor closely this rather amazing independent producer.

In many respects, EOG is the polar opposite of Chesapeake Energy. However, energy investors would be hard-pressed to find another company trading at a deeper discount than Chesapeake Energy. Its share price depreciated after negative news surfaced concerning the company's management and spiraling debt picture. While the debt issues still persist, giant steps have been taken to help mitigate the problems. To learn more about Chesapeake and its enormous potential, you're invited to check out The Motley Fool's brand-new premium report on the company. Simply click here now to access your copy.

Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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 March 27, 2013, at 10:50 AM, unclemike7 wrote:

    I to believe that EOG is heads and shoulders above the competition, from the largest to the smallest. EOG has had a great deal of exposure over the last 2 years and I'm long EOG but wonder why the stock doesn't have a $140 handle on it by now (maybe I'm overly optimistic or greedy). Will continue to add to my holdings on the rare dips.

Add your comment.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2332785, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 5/28/2016 12:09:52 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 14 hours ago Sponsored by:
DOW 17,873.22 44.93 0.25%
S&P 500 2,099.06 8.96 0.43%
NASD 4,933.51 31.74 0.65%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

5/27/2016 4:00 PM
CHK $4.16 Down -0.07 -1.65%
Chesapeake Energy CAPS Rating: ***
CVX $102.02 Up +0.52 +0.51%
Chevron CAPS Rating: ****
EOG $81.57 Down -0.73 -0.89%
EOG Resources, Inc… CAPS Rating: ****
TRP $41.85 Up +0.30 +0.72%
TransCanada CAPS Rating: ****