Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) is one of the fastest-growing natural gas producers in the Marcellus shale. Over the past five years, the company's natural gas production has grown by a compound annual rate of 40%. While that heady growth rate might be slowing as the company's overall production rises, one thing is certain: Cabot is simply loaded with natural gas growth opportunities in this shale play.
Cabot Oil & Gas is growing natural gas production and reserves
In 2014, Cabot Oil & Gas expects to grow overall production by 28%-41%, with most of that output being natural gas. Looking ahead to 2015, the company expects production to grow by another 20%-30%. That's pretty strong growth, but what's even more remarkable is how fast Cabot is increasing its oil and natural gas reserves.
By the end of 2015, Cabot Oil & Gas expects that it will have proved oil and gas reserves equivalent to 9 trillion cubic feet. That's up from just 5.5 trillion cubic feet equivalent at the end of last year. For some perspective on how much natural gas we're talking about here, 9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas is enough to meet the energy needs of 9 million households for 15 years. So, the company is finding an awful lot of natural gas.
And Cabot Oil & Gas is not only growing its natural gas production to meet America's energy needs today, it's finding even more natural gas to meet tomorrow's energy needs as well.
Cabot Oil & Gas still has plenty of drilling locations left
Investors in Cabot Oil & Gas shouldn't expect this trend of production and reserve growth to slow anytime soon. At its current drilling pace, the company is sitting on a more than 25-year drilling inventory. Its drilling inventory currently includes more than 3,000 high-impact natural gas well locations in the very best spot of the Marcellus.
As good as that sounds, it doesn't tell the whole story. Cabot has steadily increased the performance of its wells, so that those drilled today are better than those drilled just a few years ago. As the following chart notes, Cabot made enhancements to its wells in the Marcellus shale, enabling the company to pump out more of the gas trapped in the shale than ever before.
In just the past couple years, Cabot Oil & Gas has realized a 25% improvement in output from its Marcellus shale natural gas wells. However, Cabot and its drilling peers are still just scratching the surface of the potential of shale -- these companies still leave a lot of gas trapped in these tight plays. This suggests there is great potential for future well improvements as the company drills its next 3,000 wells.
Cabot Oil & Gas is loaded with natural gas growth. Not only is it growing its reserves and production at a rapid pace, but the company has the potential to sustain that growth even as the company becomes larger. With this potential, Cabot Oil & Gas is an excellent stock for investors seeking natural gas-fueled growth.
Matt DiLallo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.