Why Devon Energy Corp Could Quickly Become a Cash Gusher

Devon Energy's strategy to focus on liquids, as well as its aggressive asset acquisitions, will pay off handsomely in short order.

Jan 23, 2014 at 12:50PM

Energy investors would do themselves a favor by getting to know the new Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), which is quickly transforming itself. Devon's new strategic initiatives are designed to capitalize on the rapidly growing Eagle Ford and Permian Basin shale plays in the United States, as well as on the highly profitable liquids corner of the energy market. It recently acquired a slew of high-growth assets at cheap prices, and is in the process of shedding non-performing assets.

Devon's visionary management team sees a modern-day gold rush forming across America. In preparation, it's charted a path going forward that is sure to pay off for the company and its investors. Even better, Devon is likely to profit from its transformation sooner rather than later.

Devon's future production set to skyrocket
Devon is setting itself up extremely well to keep doing what it does best: namely, oil and gas exploration and production. In addition, it's enhancing its excellence in these pursuits with wise asset acquisitions at extremely attractive prices.

Devon Energy purchased $6 billion worth of assets in the Eagle Ford region from privately held GeoSouthern Energy. The portfolio includes at least 1,200 undrilled locations across 82,000 net acres. Current production capacity is pegged at 53,000 barrels of oil equivalents per day, and in total, the assets hold an estimated 400 million barrels of oil equivalent.

Even better, this deal is very likely to be accretive to shareholders in the near term. That's because Devon Energy paid a very attractive price for GeoSouthern's assets, valuing the properties at just 2.5 times estimated 2015 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). 

Devon enhancing its liquids profile
Devon management's vision going forward is to expand on liquids production. This was the primary motivator behind its decision to create a new midstream business by combining its own existing midstream assets with those of Crosstex Energy, (NYSE:ENLC). The new company will hold 7,300 miles of pipelines and 13 processing plants in the highly productive Barnett Shale, Permian Basin, and Gulf Coast regions.

Once again, Devon's strategy will be immediately beneficial to shareholders. That's because the new midstream business will produce an estimated $700 million in adjusted EBITDA this year. Plus, significant synergies will be achieved in the forms of cost and financing savings. In total, synergies are expected to be $45 million annually.

Devon's asset grabs in the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin regions make a great deal of sense. These are two of the highest-producing onshore plays in the United States, and are highly coveted by the major exploration and production companies. ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) has targeted the Eagle Ford formation as its biggest domestic opportunity.

The region represents ConocoPhillips' biggest locale in terms of total investment. The company will spend $8 billion over five years to produce 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2017. In addition, ConocoPhillips plans $3 billion worth of investments in the Permian Basin, which should add 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to its production totals by 2017.

Devon adding to its sterling business model
Devon's initiatives only complement its already-spectacular production profile, meaning the next year should be huge. Devon delivered outstanding 38% growth in U.S. oil production in the third quarter, which allowed it to increase cash flow by 18% year over year. Investors should expect this caliber of results to continue in the year ahead.

Devon and its shareholders should benefit very soon from its aggressive expansion into liquids production, as well as its decision to acquire attractive assets across the United States. It's very likely that Devon's talented management team will produce higher cash flow for many quarters ahead.

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Bob Ciura has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Devon 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.

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