I have to say, oil and gas player Devon
Production was up 10% across the board, with crude oil carrying the somewhat slower-growing natural gas flows. The gas-bearing Barnett Shale region hurtled 32% higher, so you'll have to point that finger elsewhere if you're looking for a gas laggard. Though I hate to kick a country while it's down, Canadian decline rates certainly didn't help matters.
Devon pegged its operating cash flow at $1.8 billion before balance-sheet changes. Virtually all of this money was reinvested in the form of capital expenditures. A reader asked me why we bother investing in these firms if they don't generate free cash flow. The short answer: So long as an E&P company generates strong returns on that cash, it's creating value for shareholders. I could elaborate, but that's another article entirely.
Devon is virtually unhedged, so it took a hit from lower natural gas prices in the quarter. XTO Energy
I'm not worried about Devon's spot market exposure. Nabors Industries
If you are going to fixate on one aspect of an E&P business, make it the company's cost structure. Devon's per-barrel lifting costs are up 14% through the first three quarters of the year, which is running a hair ahead of production growth. That's not ideal, but it's also not enough to set off alarm bells, particularly given the industry's inflationary environment.
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