3 Reasons Why Chevron Is a Top Dividend Stock

As most investors are probably aware, integrated oil companies are struggling to grow their oil and gas production in an environment in which the so-called "easy" reserves have already been depleted or are zealously protected by foreign governments.

While the production outlook for the integrated majors as a whole is rather weak, one company is a cut above the rest: Chevron (NYSE: CVX  ) . Let's look at the three key areas that should allow this energy giant to deliver peer-leading production growth and boost its 3.3% dividend payout over the next few years.

Photo credit: ConocoPhillips.

The Gulf of Mexico
The first key is the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, where Chevron boasts a leading position. It has already discovered some 24 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or BOE, in the Gulf, and expects to discover another 14 billion BOE in the future. With three major Gulf of Mexico projects slated to begin this year and next, the region will provide a massive boost to the company's oil production and cash flow.

These three projects -- Chevron-operated Jack/St. Malo and Big Foot and Hess-operated Tubular Bells -- will contribute over 150,000 BOE per day of net production at full capacity, more than doubling Chevron's 2012 deepwater Gulf production of 125,000 BOE per day. Assuming Gulf crude benchmark differentials don't weaken significantly, these projects should generate significant cash flow for the company.

LNG projects
The second key driver of Chevron's production will be its two major liquefied natural gas projects in Australia: Gorgon and Wheatstone. Gorgon, which will have a capacity of 15.6 million metric tons of LNG per year, is expected to begin shipping its first LNG cargos by mid-2015. The first LNG train at Wheatstone, which will have a production capacity of 8.9 million metric tons per year, is slated to go into service in 2016.

When operating at full capacity, the two projects will contribute roughly 400,000 barrels a day of net production. Due to the stable production profile of LNG projects, Gorgon and Wheatstone should generate a strong and stable cash flow for decades to come, while requiring very little capital investment after start-up. Indeed, Chevron views the projects as two of its most important future legacy assets.  

Shale/tight oil
Last but not least are Chevron's shale/tight oil operations mainly in West Texas' Permian Basin and Argentina's Vaca Muerta shale. Chevron, which has emerged as the largest acreage holder in the Permian's Delaware Basin, commanding roughly 1.3 million net acres, expects to nearly double its Permian production to some 250,000 BOE per day by 2020 from 135,000 BOE per day last year.

Meanwhile, Chevron is working with state-owned YPF to develop the Vaca Muerta shale, which is believed to be one of the largest shale oil reservoirs in the world. Current gross production from Vaca Muerta is only about 15,000 BOE per day, but is expected to rise sharply in coming years. Chevron and YPF plan to drill 140 wells in the play using a 17-rig drilling program this year.

Investor takeaway
These three key growth drivers should allow Chevron to increase its production to 3.1. million BOE per day by 2017, representing a compound annual growth rate of 4%. That's notably better than the 1%-3% annual growth expected by peers such as ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell.

In addition to its stronger production growth prospects, Chevron also boasts the highest upstream price realizations per BOE in its peer group, the highest upstream return on capital employed, and the second-lowest upstream costs per BOE, thanks in part to its heavily oil- and liquids-weighted production profile, which features 80% oil-linked pricing.

Assuming oil prices remain high and Chevron can avoid further delays and cost overruns at key growth projects, it should be able to deliver above-average dividend growth roughly in line with its 11% annualized average over the past decade. Investors looking for strong, oil-levered growth would do well to take a closer look at the company.

More top dividend stocks for the next decade
The smartest investors know that dividend stocks simply crush their non-dividend paying counterparts over the long term. That’s beyond dispute. They also know that a well-constructed dividend portfolio creates wealth steadily, while still allowing you to sleep like a baby. Knowing how valuable such a portfolio might be, our top analysts put together a report on a group of high-yielding stocks that should be in any income investor’s portfolio. To see our free report on these stocks, just click here now.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (6)

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.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

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: 3084557, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/2/2015 3:26:45 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...

Arjun Sreekumar

Arjun is a value-oriented investor focusing primarily on the oil and gas sector, with an emphasis on E&Ps and integrated majors. He also occasionally writes about the US housing market and China’s economy.

Today's Market

updated Moments ago Sponsored by:
DOW 16,246.96 188.61 1.17%
S&P 500 1,930.58 16.73 0.87%
NASD 4,706.52 70.42 1.52%

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

9/2/2015 3:10 PM
CVX $78.01 Down -0.18 -0.23%
Chevron CAPS Rating: ****