Top 200 North American Exploration and Production (E&P) Companies - Operational and Financial Review 2010

04 Aug 2010 • by Natalie Aster

GlobalData’s report “Top 200 North American Exploration and Production (E&P) Companies - Operational and Financial Review 2010” provides analysis on the financial and Operational parameters of top 200 North American Exploration and Production (E&P) Companies. Top 200 North American exploration and production companies issue report is a compilation and analysis of operational and financial parameters as reported by companies. The report analyses the performance of companies based on indicators such as reserves & production, capital expenditure, costs, acreage, performance metrics, and results of oil & gas operations. The report also provides analysis of the top 20 large-cap North American independent E&P companies based on key financial and operational metrics.

Top 200 North American Exploration and Production (E&P) Companies - Operational and Financial Review 2010 report is based on publicly available data filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and other similar agencies worldwide.

Crude Oil Price Rebounded in Second Half of 2009, but the Gas Price Weakness Continued

Extreme commodity price volatility is a major concern for the E&P companies. Prices rose from around $80 per barrel in October 2007 to $147 per barrel in July 2008 and then fell to less than $40 per barrel by the end of 2008. 2009 saw a steady crude oil price recovery due to signs of global economic recovery and concerted efforts by OPEC in cutting crude oil production output. However, increasing natural gas production, in part driven by the emergence of unconventional gas plays, together with weak demand has ensured that natural gas prices have continued to remain depressed. The average 2009 Henry Hub natural gas price was $3.9/Mcf, or 30% below the December 2008 price, and the average 2009 WTI oil price was $79.4 per barrel, up nearly 39% over December 2008.

Oil and Gas Capital Expenditure Fell in 2009, However, Expected To Rise in 2010 Production of top 200 North American Oil and Gas Companies

In the beginning of the 2009, almost all of the biggest E&P companies’ started cutting back on the capex plans for 2009 they had announced earlier, and they realigned their capital budgets in line with their internal cash flows. However, GlobalData expects capital expenditure to rise in 2010, driven by the announced 2010 budget by E&P companies, increasing crude oil price prices and the strong balance sheets of companies.

Total cost incurred on upstream operations by the leading 200 North American companies decreased by 31% from $221.9 billion in 2008 to $153.4 billion in 2009. Total acquisition cost decreased by 33% from $59.7 billion in 2008 to $40.1 billion in 2009.

Gas Focused Assets and Corporate Deals Multiples Have Declined with the Drop in Natural Gas Prices

The average deal multiples collapsed rapidly after third quarter of 2008. The US E&P sector is heavily weighted towards natural gas production as natural gas contributed to around two-thirds of the total oil and gas production. The average price paid by companies to acquire a thousand cubic feet equivalent of oil and gas reserve ($/Mcfe) reduced by half by the second quarter of 2009. This has started to recover but is still quite low as compared to the peak levels of Q3, 2008. The deal multiples average to date in 2010 is around $2.33 per Mcfe ($1.90 per Mcfe, if we remove PetroBakken Energy’s deal to acquire Berens Energy.), lower than the average of $2.7 per Mcfe in 2007-2009.

Total Oil and Gas Reserves Reached 100 billion barrels of Oil Equivalent in 2009

The crude oil and natural gas reserves of top 200 oil and gas North American companies increased 4.1% in 2009, rising from 96.7 Bboe in 2008 to 100.6 Bboe in 2009. Negative revisions as a result of lower gas prices more than offset the upward revisions due to higher crude oil prices and any potential positive performance revisions from improved drilling techniques.

The estimation of proved reserves is highly sensitive to price, so a one-day price and a 12-month average are likely to result in two different totals. In 2009, for example, the year-end oil price was around $79 a barrel compared to average of $62 a barrel. However in 2008, the year-end oil price was around $45 a barrel – roughly half the average for the whole year. The oil reserves of the top 200 North American E&P companies increased 5% in 2009, rising from 50 billion barrels of oil in 2008 to 52.7 billion barrels of oil in 2009. The gas reserves of the top 200 North American E&P companies increased 3% in 2009, rising from 275 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 2008 to 283 Tcf in 2009. Gas reserves have grown in each year during the last five year period at a CAGR of 6% (2005-2009).

Lower Commodity Price Impacted the Profitability of Oil and Gas Companies

In 2009, exploration and production companies were impacted by significant volatility in the commodity price movement. The total oil and gas revenue per boe of the top 200 North American companies decreased significantly from $60.3 per boe in 2008 to $36.4 per boe in 2009, a decrease of around 40%.

The fall in the commodity prices also pushed down the operating costs (lease operating expense plus transport) for the oil and gas companies. In 2009, the total lifting costs for the top 200 North American based companies decreased by 16% from $15.4 per boe in 2008 to $12.9 per boe in 2009, marking the first year-on-year decline in many years.

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