Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: The price of crude oil resumed its rally today as the U.S. benchmark price was up more than 6.5% in early afternoon trading. This is fueling another rally in oil-related stocks, including BreitBurn Energy Partners L.P. (NASDAQ:BBEP), which is enjoying another double-digit rally today -- it's now up over 35% in just the last week.
So what: As the largest oil-weighted MLP in America, oil prices matter to BreitBurn, but not as much as the market's reaction would seem to indicate. This is because 75% of BreitBurn Energy Partners' oil and liquids production is hedged this year at an average oil price of $93.51 per barrel. That locked-in cash flow will provide the company with ample income to fuel its now-lowered distribution as well as its capital spending.
That said, the 25% of its unhedged production will benefit from any rally in the price of oil. Furthermore, that additional cash flow would provide the company with a little bit more wiggle room on its debt as the company's credit facility is close to being tapped out. BreitBurn also does have a redetermination of its credit facility coming up in April and a higher oil price at that time will ensure that the facility isn't reduced, which could cause the company to scramble to find the capital it needs to fund its business.
Now what: BreitBurn Energy Partners is highly leveraged, not just to oil but because of the debt it's carrying. That leverage is going to cause a lot of volatility when the price of oil makes a big move. However, the thing that really matters is where the price of oil goes over the long term, as BreitBurn's oil hedges provide it with fairly decent cash flow protection for the next two years.
Matt DiLallo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends BreitBurn Energy Partners. 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.