The plunging price of crude crushed oil stocks again this week. After some initial enthusiasm, crude fell from $38 at the start of the week to just over $33 per barrel by Friday. That led to another awful showing for oil stocks. Some of the worst performers, according to S&P Capital IQ data, were Clayton Williams Energy (NYSE: CWEI), Enable Midstream Partners (NYSE:ENBL), Hornbeck Offshore Services (NYSE:HOS), Carrizo Oil & Gas (NASDAQ:CRZO), and Cobalt International (NYSE: CIE).
The only thing fueling these double digit drops was the price of oil. With crude now trading at around $33 per barrel it not only is crimping cash flow, but it has made huge swaths of drilling inventory uneconomic. For example, only 55% of Carrizo Oil & Gas' drilling locations were even economic at a sub-$45 oil price. Likewise, Clayton Williams Energy is seeing its drilling locations disappear with each dollar the price of crude drops. The other big problem with the current price is that it is making it harder for both Clayton Williams and Carrizo Oil & Gas to sell assets, with Clayton Williams rumored to be looking for a buyer for the entire company, while Carrizo Oil & Gas was said to be seeking a buyer for its Colorado assets. Meanwhile, the drop in the oil price will lead to much lower cash flow than expected from Cobalt International's first offshore oil development, which is expected to come online next year. That will leave Cobalt International with less cash flow to reinvest in its other offshore projects.
Even non-producers like Enable Midstream Partners and Hornbeck Offshore Services are feeling the pinch from the drop in oil prices because of how it uniquely impacts their businesses. Hornbeck Offshore Services, for example, has had to stack its vessels, which means that they are not out making money for the company. Enable Midstream Partners, on the other hand, will see a direct impact to its cash flow if commodity prices continue to fall. That might cause the company to not grow its distribution as fast as planned, or worse yet, cut the payout.
To learn more about why these stocks moved so sharply this week, check out the following slideshow.