Last week all eyes were on Hurricane Harvey, which barreled through southeast Texas leaving destruction in its wake. The storm caused significant flooding at several refineries, but many have since restarted. As of yesterday, only 12.8% of the country's refining capacity was still offline due to the storm, a marked improvement from the more than 20% that shut down immediately following the hurricane. As a result, gasoline prices have started coming off their highs while oil has held steady.
The battered Gulf Coast appears to have been spared from a second hit as the powerful Hurricane Irma seems poised to turn into Florida. That, of course, is no solace for those who live in the Sunshine State as they brace for what could be a devastating impact. While the thoughts and prayers of the nation are with Florida, the market has quickly turned its heartless attention back toward other news, like company-specific developments. In fact, some of the biggest energy market movers, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, were fueled by news-driven catalysts instead of by hurricane impacts.
Matrix Service Company (NASDAQ:MTRX) was a big winner this week after its shares jumped more than 17% on the heels of reporting its fiscal fourth-quarter and year-end results. Overall, the energy-focused engineering company reported a loss of $0.04 per share for the quarter and $0.01 per share for the fiscal year. The losses were driven by challenging market conditions in the company's end markets, and were consistent with management's prior forecast. Yet the stock bounced due to the company's outlook. Matrix Service noted that project awards were up 34% versus the prior year, which fueled the company's belief that it could turn things around and earn between $0.55 to $0.75 per share in fiscal 2018.
Natural gas company Tellurian (NASDAQ:TELL) also rallied shapely this week, rising more than 15% after announcing the acquisition of natural-gas-producing assets and undeveloped acreage in the Haynesville shale of Louisiana. The deal provides Tellurian with access to low-cost natural gas that could eventually support its proposed Driftwood liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, which would export natural gas from the Louisiana coast to global markets. The ability to produce its own gas would save the company money and improve Driftwood's margins.
Oil-field service company Basic Energy Services (OTC:BASX) also rose double-digits this week. Fueling the move was the fact that an analyst at Evercore ISI resumed coverage of Basic Energy Services and gave the stock an outperform rating while setting a $19 price target. The bullish view rests on the upside potential the Evercore ISI analyst sees in the company's well completion product lines, as well as its exposure to the red-hot Permian Basin. The analyst believes that those two factors will more than offset some headwinds in Basic Energy Services' well servicing and fluid management services businesses, enabling the company to deliver improving results.
Of this trio, the news that has the potential to make the most impact for investors over the long term is Tellurian's decision to get into the natural gas production business, because it should enable the company to earn higher returns at Driftwood. That said, construction for the project wouldn't start until next year -- and that's assuming the company gets regulatory approval -- while operations at the first LNG plant wouldn't start until 2022. Therefore, investors need to have a very long-term mindset before jumping aboard.