I recently shared with the Fool my concern that Hess (NYSE:HES) needs to play offense and not simply rely on the Bakken shale play or the divestiture of non-core assets for financial strength. While Hess did raise its dividend in recent weeks, I believe the company needs to do much more to justify its present valuation. This has me now thinking it could be a good time to take profits in Hess and look at Statoil (NYSE:EQNR).
Statoil has been in the rumor mill as a potential acquirer of Hess. However, I really believe that argument has more bark than bite, particularly since Statoil already has a big presence in the Bakken region, a recent bright spot for Hess. Keep in mind Statoil paid over $4.4 billion for Brigham Exploration just a few years back, and that move gave it great exposure to the Williston Basin of the Bakken formation.
Statoil has over $10 billion in cash and could look to reward patient shareholders by boosting its dividend. The company could also look for growth through smaller acquisitions. Also, contrary to reports of the company leaving a Maine wind project, our below video makes a case for Statoil exploring new renewable opportunities; this only enhances my bullish sentiment toward shares of Statoil, which have largely been out of favor with investors in 2013.