Investors in oil and gas MLP EV Energy Partners (NASDAQ:EVEP) have endured a very rough year. The company's units have been cut by nearly a third since the year started. With units now trading at a much lower price, let's look at three reasons why you might want to add these units to your portfolio.
Strong asset base
EV Energy has built a solid asset base over the past few years. The company has total reserves of 905 billion cubic feet equivalent, which are long-lived reserves, and have an estimated reserve-life index of 15 years. The only problem, given the current commodity price environment, is that 67% of these reserves are natural gas.
A bulk of the company's reserves are in the Barnett Shale of Texas. The company has 532.5 billion cubic feet equivalent of proved reserves here and, last year, it produced 70.5 million cubic feet equivalent per day from the play. The company's position in the play is dwarfed by Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), which has 14 trillion cubic feet equivalent of net-risked resource, and a drilling inventory of over 2,500 wells. Last quarter, the oil and gas giant produced 1.4 billion cubic feet equivalent per day, while growing its liquids production to 24% of the total production. What this means for EV Energy is that there is tremendous potential for it to grow in its core play, even as it captures opportunities to expand its portfolio.
Upside to the Utica
One of the top potential growth opportunities within its portfolio is in its Utica Shale acreage. The company is participating in the joint venture with Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) and Total (NYSE:TOT) in the play, as well as having 177,000 net acres of its own. That's on top of a couple of midstream projects that it's investing in to help alleviate the infrastructure problems in the play.
The venture with Chesapeake and Total is planning to drill 540 wells through 2014, which could yield significant production growth. The venture currently has just 67 wells producing, with another 75 waiting for pipeline capacity. As the midstream bottleneck disappears over this year thanks to processing capacity coming online, we should get a much better idea what to expect from the Utica, as well as its impact on EV Energy's future.
Yielding more than 8%
Because its units have been hit so hard this year, the distribution yield has fallen to around 8%. That's a very good current yield in today's low-yield environment, and one that's likely to continue to grow, as EV Energy increased its payout every quarter since it started paying distributions. While the rate of growth is slow, you can't complain about the consistency of that growth.
Foolish bottom line
With its units on sale, EV Energy Partners is becoming an interesting investment candidate if for no other reason than to pick up that 8% distribution. The company has an excellent core position in the Barnett, as well as an emerging position in the Utica, which could lead to significant upside. There is, however, a reason why these units have gone on sale, so stay tuned to Fool.com for three reasons why investors have been selling off their holdings of EV Energy Partners.
Fool contributor Matt DiLallo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Total SA. (ADR). The Motley Fool owns shares of Devon Energy and has the following options: Long Jan 2014 $20 Calls on Chesapeake Energy, Long Jan 2014 $30 Calls on Chesapeake Energy, and Short Jan 2014 $15 Puts on Chesapeake Energy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not 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.