Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014

Chevrolet Volt. Photo credit: General Motors Co.

Few cars have taken more flak from media critics in recent years than General Motors’ (NYSE: GM  ) innovative green car, the Chevrolet Volt.

Of course, few of those critics are auto reviewers. Those reviewers, like most folks who try a Chevy Volt, tend to like the car. It’s a great product, one of GM’s best — and believe it or not, GM’s best are now as good as anybody’s. It’s comfortable, well made, and does what GM says it will.

I’ve talked to plenty of Volt owners, and every single one sings the car’s praises. That’s apparently typical: The Volt is tops among compact cars in J.D. Power’s APEAL customer-satisfaction survey.

In fact, the Volt has delivered on every one of GM’s major goals for it. Every goal, that is, except one: the sales goal.

And that’s where the problems start.

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: QEP Resources Inc (QEP)

QEP Resources, Inc. (QEP), incorporated on May 17, 2010, is a holding company. The Company operates in three lines of business: gas and oil exploration and production, midstream field services, and energy marketing. It conducted through three principal subsidiaries: QEP Energy Company (QEP Energy) acquires, explores for, develops and produces natural gas, oil, and natural gas liquids (NGL); QEP Field Services Company (QEP Field Services) provides midstream field services, including natural gas gathering, processing, compression and treating services for affiliates and third parties; andQEP Marketing Company (QEP Marketing) markets affiliate and third-party natural gas and oil, provides risk-management services, and owns and operates an underground gas-storage reservoir. QEP operates in the Northern and Southern Regions of the United States and is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Principal offices are located in Denver, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; Oklahoma City, Oklah oma, and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

QEP’s exploration and production business is conducted through QEP Energy in two core regions, the Northern Region (including the states of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and North Dakota) and the Southern Region (including the states of Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana). QEP Energy has approximately 50,800 net acres of Haynesville Shale lease rights in northwest Louisiana and additional lease rights that cover the Hosston and Cotton Valley formations. The depth of the top of the Haynesville Shale ranges from approximately 10,500 feet to 12,500 feet across QEP Energy’s leasehold and is below the Hosston and Cotton Valley formations that QEP Energy has been developing in northwest Louisiana for over a decade. As of December 31, 2011, QEP Energy had three operated rigs drilling in the project area. QEP Energy’s Midcontinent properties cover all properties in the Southern Region except the Haynesville/Cotton Valley area of northwes t Louisiana and are distributed over an area, including the ! Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. QEP Energy has approximately 77,000 net acres of Woodford Shale lease rights in western Oklahoma. QEP Energy has approximately 38,700 net acres of Granite Wash/Atoka Wash lease rights in the Texas Panhandle and western Oklahoma and has been drilling vertical Granite Wash/Atoka Wash wells. The Company estimates that up to 1,100 additional wells will be required to fully develop its Pinedale acreage on a combination of 5 and 10-acre density. In addition to QEP Energy’s gross producing wells, QEP Energy had an overriding royalty interest in an additional 21 wells at Pinedale. QEP Energy owns interests in approximately 255,200 net leasehold acres in the Uinta Basin. The remainder of QEP Energy Northern Region leasehold interests, productive wells and proved reserves are distributed over a number of fields and properties managed as the Rockies Legacy division. Exploration and development activity during the year ended December 31, 2011, includes wells in the Powder River and Greater Green River Basins in Wyoming and the Williston Basin in North Dakota. QEP Energy has approximately 90,000 net acres of lease rights in the Williston Basin in western North Dakota, where the Company is targeting the Bakken and Three Forks formations.

QEP Energy Company

QEP Energy is actively involved in several of North America’s hydrocarbon resource plays. QEP’s exploration and production activities are conducted through QEP Energy. P Energy operates in two core regions: the Northern Region (including the states of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and North Dakota) and the Southern Region (including the states of Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana). The Southern Region contributed approximately 56% of 2011 production while the Northern Region contributed the remaining 44%. QEP Energy reported 3,614 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent of estimated proved reserves as of December 31, 2011. Of those estimated proved reserves, approximately 64%! , or 2,31! 2 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent, were located in the Northern Region at December 31, 2011. The remaining 36%, or 1,302 billion cubic feet of natural gas equivalent at December 31, 2011, were located in the Southern Region. QEP Energy has an inventory of identified development drilling locations, primarily on the Pinedale Anticline in western Wyoming; the Haynesville/Cotton Valley area in northwestern Louisiana; the Midcontinent area with properties primarily in Oklahoma and Texas; the Uinta Basin in eastern Utah, and the Rockies Legacy, which includes the Bakken/Three Forks area in western North Dakota and other properties in Wyoming.

QEP Field Services Company

QEP invests in midstream (gathering, processing and treating) systems to complement its natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids (NGL) operations in regions where QEP Energy has production. In addition, QEP’s midstream business also provides midstream services to third-party customers, including independent producers. QEP Field Services owns various natural gas gathering, treating and processing facilities in the Northern and Southern Regions as well as 78% of Rendezvous Gas Services, LLC, (RGS), a partnership that operates gas gathering facilities in western Wyoming. The FERC-regulated Rendezvous Pipeline Co., LLC (Rendezvous Pipeline), a wholly owned subsidiary of QEP Field Services, operates a 21-mile, 20-inch-diameter pipeline between QEP Field Services’ Blacks Fork gas-processing plant and the Muddy Creek compressor station owned by Kern River Gas Transmission Co. (Kern River Pipeline). RGS gathers natural gas for Pinedale Anticline and Jonah Field producers for delivery to various interstate pipelines. QEP Field Services also owns 38% of Uintah Basin Field Services, LLC (UBFS) and 50% of Three Rivers Gathering, LLC (Three Rivers). These two partnerships operate natural gas gathering facilities in eastern Utah.

QEP Marketing Company

QEP Marketing provides wholesale market! ing and s! ales of affiliate and third-party natural gas, oil and NGL. As a wholesale marketing entity, QEP Marketing concentrates on markets in the Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest and Midcontinent that are either close to affiliate reserves and production or accessible by pipelines. QEP Marketing contracts for firm-transportation capacity on pipelines and firm-storage capacity at Clay Basin, a baseload-storage facility. QEP Marketing, through its subsidiary Clear Creek Storage Company, LLC, owns and operates an underground gas-storage reservoir in southwestern Wyoming. QEP Marketing uses owned and leased storage capacity together with firm-transportation capacity.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    QEP Resources Inc.(QEP) plans to separate its midstream business, QEP Field Services Co., into a separate entity, including its interest in QEP Midstream Partners LP(QEPM).

  • [By Aimee Duffy]

    QEP Midstream Partners is about to become a real, live master limited partnership. Parent company QEP Resources (NYSE: QEP  ) has filed the appropriate paperwork with the SEC, and while we don’t know specifics regarding the number of shares, or how the offering will be priced, the S-1 is chock-full of information for prospective investors.

  • [By Eric Volkman]

    QEP Resources (NYSE: QEP  ) is letting its dividend flow. The company has declared a quarterly payout of $0.02 per share, to be paid on June 22 to shareholders of record as of June 3. That amount is in line with all of the firm’s previous distributions stretching back to the first one it handed out in September 2010.

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: Husky Energy Inc (HUSKF.PK)

Husky Energy Inc. (Husky), incorporated on June 21, 2000, is an international integrated energy company. The Company operates in two segments: Upstream and Downstream. Upstream includes exploration for, development and production of crude oil, bitumen, natural gas and natural gas liquids and other producers’ crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, sulphur and petroleum coke, pipeline transportation and processing of heavy crude oil and natural gas, storage of crude oil, diluents and natural gas and cogeneration of electrical and thermal energy (infrastructure and marketing). Downstream includes upgrading of heavy crude oil feedstock into synthetic crude oil (upgrading), refining in Canada of crude oil and marketing of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, diesel, ethanol blended fuels, asphalt and ancillary products, and production of ethanol (Canadian refined products) and refining in the United States of crude oil to produce and market gasoline, jet fuel and diesel fuels that meet United States clean fuels standards (United States refining and marketing).

During the year ended December 31, 2012, the Company had 512 retail locations in its light refined products operations, which consisted of 361 owned or leased locations (husky controlled) and 151 independent retailer locations. The Company is continually monitoring the owned and leased locations for environmental protection or to address regulatory compliance requirements, such as reporting

Upstream Operations

Husky’s portfolio of Upstream assets includes properties with reserves of light crude oil (30° API and lighter), medium crude oil (between 20° and 30° API), heavy crude oil (liquid between 20° API and 10° API), bitumen (solid or semi-solid with a viscosity greater than 10,000 centipoise at original temperature in the deposit and atmospheric pressure), NGL, natural gas and sulphur. The Wenchang field is located in the we stern Pearl River Mouth Basin, approximately 400 kilometers ! south of Hong Kong and 100 kilometers east of Hainan Island. The Wenchang 13-1 and 13-2 oil fields are producing from 32 wells in 100 meters of water into an FPSO vessel stationed between fixed platforms located in each of the two fields. In December 2012, Husky signed a joint venture contract with CPC Corporation, Taiwan for an exploration block in the South China Sea. The exploration block is located 100 kilometers southwest of the island of Taiwan and covers approximately 10,300 square kilometers.

Husky has a 40% interest in approximately 621,700 acres (2,516 square kilometers) of the Madura Strait block, located offshore East Java, south of Madura Island, Indonesia. Husky’s two partners are CNOOC which is the operator and has a 40% working interest, and Samudra Energy Ltd., which holds the remaining 20% interest through its affiliate, SMS Development Ltd. Husky’s offshore East Coast Canada exploration and development program is focused on the Jeanne d’ Arc Basin on the Grand Banks, which contains the Hibernia and Terra Nova fields, as well as the White Rose field and satellite extensions including the North Amethyst, West White Rose and the South White Rose extensions. The White Rose oil field is located 354 kilometers off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and approximately 48 kilometers east of the Hibernia oil field on the eastern section of the Jeanne d’Arc Basin. Husky is the operator of the White Rose field and satellite tiebacks, including the North Amethyst, West White Rose and South White Rose extensions. The Terra Nova oil field is located approximately 350 kilometers southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Terra Nova oil field is divided into three distinct areas, known as the Graben, the East Flank and the Far East. As of January 16, 2013, Husky held a working interest in 17 Exploration Licences (ELs) offshore Newfoundland, Labrador and Greenland. Husky is the operator of 13 of these ELs and has working interests ranging from 35% to 100%.

Hus! ky is the operator of two ELs offshore the west coast of Disko Island, Greenland. Tucker is an in-situ SAGD oil sands project located 30 kilometers northwest of Cold Lake, Alberta. Husky holds in excess of 550,000 acres in undeveloped oil sands leases and has a 100% working interest in all leases except in Athabasca South in which it has a 50% working interest. Husky’s heavy oil assets are primarily concentrated in a large producing region in the Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan area. The Company maintains a land position of approximately two million gross acres within this area. Over 90% of Husky’s proved reserves in the region are contained in the heavy crude oil producing areas of Pikes Peak, Edam, Tangleflags, Celtic, Bolney, Paradise Hill, Westhazel, Big Gully, Mervin, Marwayne, Lashburn, Gully Lake, Vermilion, Swimming, Morgan, Lindbergh, Aberfeldy, Marsden, Epping, Furness and Rush Lake, and in the medium gravity crude oil producing fields of Wildmere and Wainwr ight. As of December 31, 2012, the Company produces from oil and gas wells ranging in depth from 450 meters to 650 meters and holds a 100% working interest in the majority of these wells. In the Lloydminster area, the Company owns and operates 21 oil treating facilities which are tied into the Husky heavy oil pipeline systems. Husky operates 67 facilities in the area. Husky is the operator of a number of properties in southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan. The Foothills Northwest Plains area is located in western and northern Alberta and British Columbia. The area is made up of five distinct districts: Rainbow Lake, Northern Alberta, Northern Alberta & British Columbia Plains, Ansell-Galloway and Foothills.

Husky provides heavy crude oil feedstock to its Upgrader and its asphalt refinery, which are located at Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan. The combined dry crude feedstock requirements of the Upgrader and asphalt refinery are approximately equal to Husk y’s heavy crude oil production from the Lloydminster area.! Husky al! so purchases third party volumes. Husky markets heavy crude oil production directly to refiners located in the mid-west and eastern United States and Canada. Husky markets its light and synthetic crude oil production to third-party refiners in Canada, the United States and Asia in addition to Husky’s Lima Refinery. NGL are sold to local petrochemical end users, retail and wholesale distributors and refiners in North America.

The Company holds a 50% interest in a 90 megawatts natural gas fired cogeneration facility adjacent to Husky’s Rainbow Lake processing plant. The cogeneration facility produces electricity for the Power Pool of Alberta and thermal energy (steam) for the Rainbow Lake processing plant. It provides power directly to the Power Pool of Alberta under an agreement with the Alberta Electric System Operator to provide additional electricity generating capacity and system stability for northwestern Alberta. The Company also operates and has a 50% interest in a natural gas storage facility at East Cantuar near Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

Downstream Operations

The Lima Refinery, located in Ohio between Toledo and Dayton, has an atmospheric crude throughput capacity of 160 thousand of barrels/day. The refinery produces gasoline, gasoline blend stocks, diesel, jet fuel, petrochemical feedstock and other by-products. The feedstock is received via the Mid-Valley and Marathon Pipelines and the refined products are transported via the Buckeye and Inland pipeline systems and by rail car to primary markets in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and southern Michigan. During 2012, crude oil feedstock throughput at the Lima Refinery averaged 150 thousand of barrels/day. Production of gasoline averaged 77 thousand of barrels/day, total distillates averaged 56 thousand of barrels/day and total butanes averaged 17 thousand of barrels/day. The BP-Husky Toledo Refinery, in which Husky holds a 50% interest, has an atmospheric crude throughput capacity of 160 thousand of barrels/day. Pr! oducts in! clude low sulphur gasoline, ultra low sulphur diesel, aviation fuels, propane, kerosene and asphalt. The refinery is located in one of the highest energy consumption regions in the United States. Husky owns and operates the Husky Lloydminster Upgrader, a heavy oil upgrading facility located in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. The Upgrader is designed to process blended heavy crude oil feedstock into high quality, low sulphur synthetic crude oil. Production at the Upgrader averaged 61 thousand of barrels/day of synthetic crude oil, 13 thousand of barrels/day of diluent and 4 thousand of barrels/day of low sulphur diesel in 2012.

Husky’s Canadian Refined Products operations include refining of light crude oil, manufacturing of fuel and fuel grade ethanol, manufacturing of asphalt products from heavy crude oil and acquisition by purchase and exchange of refined petroleum products. Husky’s retail distribution network includes the wholesale, commercial and retail mar keting of refined petroleum products and provides a platform for non-fuel related convenience product businesses. Husky’s Pounder Emulsions division has a market share in Western Canada for road application emulsion products. Additional non-asphalt based road maintenance products are also marketed and distributed through Pounder Emulsions. Husky’s asphalt distribution network consists of emulsion plants and asphalt terminals located at Kamloops, British Columbia, Edmonton and Lethbridge, Alberta, Yorkton, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg, Manitoba and three emulsion plants located at Watson Lake, Yukon and Lloydminster and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Husky’s ethanol production supports its ethanol-blended gasoline marketing program. When added to gasoline, ethanol promotes more complete fuel combustion, prevents fuel line freezing and reduces carbon monoxide emissions, ozone precursors and net emissions of greenhouse gases.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Caiman Valores]

    But as highlighted earlier Whitecap’s Canadian light sweet crude is not as heavily discounted as Canadian heavy oil or bitumen. This does not leave it exposed to the same price risks and volatility as those companies that have a significant portion of their production made up by Canadian heavy oil and Bitumen, such as Husky Energy (HUSKF.PK), Suncor (SU), Imperial Oil (IMO) and Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ).

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: CVR Energy Inc (CVI)

CVR Energy, Inc. (CVR Energy), incorporated September 2006, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, acts as an independent petroleum refiner and marketer of transportation fuels in the mid-continental United States. In addition, the Company, through its majority-owned subsidiaries, acts as an independent producer and marketer of nitrogen fertilizer products in North America. As of December 31, 2011, the Company owned the general partner and approximately 70% of CVR Partners, LP (the Partnership), a limited partnership which produces nitrogen fertilizers in the form of ammonia and an aqueous solution of urea and ammonium nitrate used as a fertilizer (UAN). The Company operates in two segments: the petroleum segment and the nitrogen fertilizer segment. On December 15, 2011, the Company acquired Gary-Williams Energy Corporation and its subsidiaries (GWEC).

Petroleum Business

The Company operates a 115,000 barrels per day complex full coking medium-sou r crude oil refinery in Coffeyville, Kansas and, as of December 15, 2011, a 70,000 barrels per day crude oil unit refinery in Wynnewood, Oklahoma. Its combined production capacity represents approximately 15% of its region’s output during the year ended December 31, 2011. The Coffeyville facility is situated on approximately 440 acres in southeast Kansas, approximately 100 miles from Cushing, Oklahoma, a crude oil trading and storage hub. The Wynnewood facility is situated on approximately 400 acres located approximately 65 miles south of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and approximately 130 miles from Cushing, Oklahoma. During 2011, its Coffeyville refinery’s product yield included gasoline (mainly regular unleaded) (44%), diesel fuel (42%), and pet coke and other refined products, such as natural gas liquids (NGL) (propane and butane), slurry, sulfur and gas oil (14%). Its Wynnewood refinery’s product yield included gasoline (54%), diesel fuel (31%), asphalt (6%), jet fuel (3%) an d other products (6%) during 2011.

The Company! owns and operates a crude oil gathering system serving Kansas, Oklahoma, western Missouri and southwestern Nebraska. The system has field offices in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Plainville, Kansas and Winfield, Kansas. The system consists of approximately 350 miles of feeder and trunk pipelines, 100 trucks, and associated storage facilities for gathering sweet crude oils purchased from independent crude oil producers in Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Missouri. It also leases a section of a pipeline from Magellan Midstream Partners, L.P. (Magellan), which is incorporated into its crude oil gathering system. During 2011, the Company’s crude oil gathering system had a gathering capacity of approximately 38,000 barrels per day. During 2011, it gathered an average of approximately 35,000 barrels per day.

CVR Energy owns a pipeline system capable of transporting approximately 145,000 barrels per day of crude oil from Caney, Kansas to its refinery. Crude oils sourced out side of its gathering system are delivered by common carrier pipelines into various terminals in Cushing, Oklahoma, where they are blended and then delivered to Caney, Kansas via a pipeline owned by Plains Pipeline L.P. (Plains). The Company also owns associated crude oil storage tanks with a capacity of approximately 1.2 million barrels located outside its Coffeyville refinery, 0.5 million barrels of crude oil storage at Wynnewood, Oklahoma, and lease an additional 3.3 million barrels of storage capacity located at Cushing, Oklahoma and other locations. In addition to crude oil storage, it owns approximately 4.5 million barrels of combined refinery related storage capacity.

CVR Energy has access to foreign crude oil from Latin America, South America, West Africa, the Middle East, the North Sea and Canada. It purchases domestic crude oil from Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas, North Dakota, Missouri, and offshore deepwater Gulf of Mexico production. During 2011 , its Coffeyville crude oil supply blend consisted of approx! imately 8! 0% light sweet crude oil, 2% light/medium sour crude oil and 18% heavy sour crude oil. During 2011, Wynnewood’s crude oil supply blend consisted of approximately 88% sweet crude oil and 12% light/medium sour crude oil.

During 2011, approximately 35% of the Coffeyville refinery’s products were sold through the rack system directly to retail and wholesale customers, while the remaining 65% was sold through pipelines via bulk spot and term contracts. The Company makes bulk sales (sales into third party pipelines) into the mid-continent markets via Magellan and into Colorado and other destinations utilizing the product pipeline networks owned by Magellan, Enterprise Products Operating, L.P. (Enterprise) and NuStar Energy, LP (NuStar). Approximately 60% of the Wynnewood refinery’s finished products sold are distributed in Oklahoma. Customers for its petroleum products include other refiners, convenience store companies, railroads and farm cooperatives.

The Company competes with BP, Conoco Phillips, HollyFrontier, NCRA, Valero, Flint Hills Resources, CHS and Shell.

Nitrogen Fertilizer Business

The nitrogen fertilizer business, operated by the Partnership, is the nitrogen fertilizer plant in North America. It utilizes a pet coke gasification process to produce nitrogen fertilizer. The nitrogen fertilizer facility’s primary input is pet coke. The nitrogen fertilizer facility includes a 1,225 ton-per-day ammonia unit, a 2,025 ton-per-day UAN unit and a gasifier complex having a capacity of 84 million standard cubic feet per day. Linde LLC (Linde) owns, operates, and maintains the air separation plant that provides contract volumes of oxygen, nitrogen and compressed dry air to the gasifier for a monthly fee.

The primary geographic markets for the nitrogen fertilizer business’ fertilizer products are Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Colorado and Texas. The nitrogen fertilizer bu siness markets the ammonia products to industrial and agricu! ltural cu! stomers and the UAN products to agricultural customers. The nitrogen fertilizer business sells ammonia to agricultural and industrial customers. Agricultural customers include distributors such as MFA, United Suppliers, Inc., Brandt Consolidated Inc., Gavilon Fertilizer LLC, Transammonia, Inc., Agri Services of Brunswick, LLC, Interchem and CHS Inc. Industrial customers include Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc., National Cooperative Refinery Association, and Dyno Nobel, Inc. The nitrogen fertilizer business sells UAN products to retailers and distributors.

The Company competes with Agrium, Koch Nitrogen, Potash Corporation and CF Industries.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Susan J. Aluise]

    The company, whose earnings have been blistered by low natural gas prices, has reworked its business model to focus more on boosting profitability in its regulated utility operations. That’s a solid strategy for FE, given the state of the energy market. Also, the bad news has been priced in, providing a potentially attractive entry point for investors.

    CVR Energy (CVI)

    CVR Energy (CVI) stock is down 9% since Jan. 2. CVI stock has a lofty dividend yield of 8%, and its valuation is attractive now with a puny forward P/E of 9.4. CVI shares soared by more than 3% on Thursday after the company reported fourth-quarter and full-year earnings.

  • [By Hibah Yousuf]

    Snyder also pointed out that Take-Two was not that big of a holding for Icahn. It represented less than 1% of Icahn Enterprise’s (IEP, Fortune 500) total portfolio. The firms’ largest holdings include CVR Energy (CVI), Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500), Chesapeake Energy (CHK, Fortune 500) and Herbalife (HLF).

  • [By Robert Rapier] In last week’s issue I discussed the basics of the refining sector. Today I will provide an overview of four MLPs that hold refining assets.

    To review, the refining sector was very profitable in 2012 thanks to unusually high crack spreads, which for many US refiners are approximated by the price differential between Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oils. For a more thorough explanation of this phenomenon, please refer to last week’s issue.

    After years of trading at a $1 to $3 per barrel discount to WTI, Brent began fetching a premium a few years ago as a glut of crude developed in the mid-continent area of the US. In 2011 the Brent-WTI price differential increased to more than $25/bbl, and it remained historically high in 2012.

    But pipeline capacity started to catch up this year, and the share prices of refiners retreated as the glut began to dissipate and the Brent-WTI differential shrank. In Q3 2012, the Brent-WTI differential a veraged $17.43/bbl, but by Q3 of this year, the differential had fallen to $4.43/bbl. This promises bad news for refiners about to report Q3 earnings.

    Many analysts downgraded the refining sector in Q3, but as the differential fell below $5/bbl it was hard to imagine that the news could get much worse. With poor Q3 results largely priced in, the differential subsequently rose back above $10/bbl, signaling better refining margins moving into Q4.

    Refiners began to post earnings this past week, and as expected they were weak. Valero (NYSE: VLO) reported slightly higher revenues year-over-year, but net earnings fell more than 50 percent from a year ago. Nevertheless, they beat the extremely pessimistic expectations of analysts, and Valero shares rose on the news.

    Phillips 66’s (NYSE: PSX) refining unit actually posted a loss, but its chemical business turned in a solid quarter which more than compensated for the disappointing refining results.

    T he rest of the refine

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: Emerge Energy Services LP (EMES)

Emerge Energy Services LP, incorporated on April 27, 2012, owns, operates, acquires and develops a diversified portfolio of energy service assets. The Company operates in two segments: Sand segment, and Fuel Processing and Distribution segment. Sand segment consists of mining and processing frac sand, a component used in hydraulic fracturing of oil and natural gas wells. The Company’s frac sand facilities are located in New Auburn, Wisconsin, Barron County, Wisconsin and Kosse, Texas. Fuel Processing and Distribution segment consists of acquiring, processing and separating the transmix that results when multiple types of refined petroleum products are transported sequentially through a pipeline. The Company’s Fuel Processing and Distribution segment consists of its operations in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and Birmingham, Alabama.

Sand Segment

The Company’s Wisconsin sand reserves at its New Auburn and Barron facilities provide t he Company access to a range of sand that meets or exceeds all API specifications and includes a concentration of 16/30, 20/40 and 30/50 mesh sands. The Company’s New Auburn dry plant facility has a rated production capacity of 4,200 tons per day, or roughly 40 rail cars, and has on-site rail car loading facilities capable of loading up to approximately 10,000 tons of frac sand into rail cars per day. The Company also has 4.5 miles of existing rail track that connects its facility to the Union Pacific rail line and provides the Company with shipping access to all of the shale basins in the United States and Canada with direct access to areas of oil production in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and the western United States. The Company’s Barron facility consists of a sand mine and a wet plant on land. This facility has a rated production capacity of 8,800 tons per day, or roughly 80 rail cars, and has on-site rail car loading facilities capable of loading up to approximately 1 0,000 tons of frac sand into rail cars per day. The Company ! also mine frac sand at its facility in Kosse, Texas that is processed into a high-quality, 100 mesh frac sand, generally used in dry gas drilling applications.

Fuel Processing and Distribution Segment

The transmix industry consists of businesses that process and separate transportation mixture, which is the liquid interface, or fuel mixture, that forms when multiple types of petroleum products are transported sequentially through a pipeline. Pipeline operators send large batches of different fuel products (such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel) through the same pipeline, in sequence, to receiving terminals. The Company’s Fuel Processing and Distribution segment consists of its facilities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and in Birmingham, Alabama, which are operated by Direct Fuels and AEC, respectively.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Robert Rapier] There were a half a dozen initial public offerings (IPOs) by master limited partnerships in the first half of the year, and all but one are now in the green while one has nearly doubled in value.

    The first MLP IPO of 2013 debuted on Jan. 15. USA Compression Partners (NYSE: USAC), which I mentioned in last week’s issue, provides compression services for the oil and gas industry. Units have advanced 36 percent since the IPO, and at the current price yield 7.3 percent.

    The day after the USA Compression Partners IPO, CVR Refining (NYSE: CVRR) made its debut.  CVRR was spun off from CVR Energy (NYSE: CVI), and both companies remain majority-owned by Carl Icahn. CVR Refining’s primary assets are two refineries located in Kansas and Oklahoma with a combined processing capacity of approximately 185,000 barrels per day (bpd). These refineries are strategically located near the major Cushing, Oklahoma shipment and storage hub, with easy access to discount ed feedstock from the nearby Permian basin, as well as the Bakken shale and Canadian oil sands.

    But refiners have struggled with diminished margins in 2013 because of a much lower Brent-WTI differential. After the recently concluded second quarter, CVRR declared a distribution of $1.35 per unit, bringing its per-unit distributions for the first half of the year to $2.93. At the same time, CVR Refining lowered its annual distribution target to a range of $4.10 to $4.80 per unit. This was lower than the outlook issued in March, when it foresaw annual distributions of $5.50 to $6.50. CVRR units slid on the news, and are presently trading slightly below the $25 IPO price. The lower end of the revised forecast implies distributions of $1.17 per unit in the second half of the year, for a forward annualized yield of 10 percent based on the recent $23.50 unit price.

    SunCoke Energy Partners (NYSE: SXCP) was the third IPO to debut during a very busy third week of January . SXCP is the first M

  • [By Aimee Duffy]

    Fortune recently addressed this topic, profiling Emerge Energy Services (NYSE: EMES  ) and its 2012 tax rate, which was 0.5%. Again, the partnership structure forces the company to pass the majority of its cash — and its tax burden — onto the limited partners. According to Fortune, Emerge Energy Services paid Uncle Sam absolutely nothing last year. Emerge took its show public this May and has yet to officially announce a distribution, but you can bet investors will see more cash than the federal government did.

  • [By Aimee Duffy]

    May 
    We had two MLP IPOs in May. First up was Emerge Energy Services (NYSE: EMES  ) , which hit the books on May 9, and is up 16% already. The partnership has a sand segment and a fuel processing and distribution segment, which engages primarily in the separation of transmix.

  • [By Roberto Pedone]

    Emerge Energy Services (EMES) is engaged in the ownership, operation and acquisition and development of a portfolio of energy service assets. This stock closed up 5.3% at $25.80 in Monday’s trading session.

    Monday’s Volume: 649,000

    Three-Month Average Volume: 204,875

    Volume % Change: 210%

    From a technical perspective, EMES ripped higher here right above some near-term support at $24.30 with above-average volume. This stock has been uptrending strong for the last three months, with shares soaring higher from its low of $16.19 to its all-time high hit on Monday at $26.50. During that move, shares of EMES have been consistently making higher lows and higher highs, which is bullish technical price action. Shares of EMES triggered a breakout here after the stock took out some near-term overhead resistance levels at $25.45 to $25.49.

    Traders should now look for long-biased trades in EMES as long as it’s trending above some near-term support levels at $25 or at $24.30 and then once it sustains a move or close above its new all-time high at $26.50 with volume that hits near or above 204,875 shares. If we get that move soon, then EMES will set up to enter new all-time high territory, which is bullish technical price action. Some possible upside targets off that move are $30 to $35.

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: Turcas Petrol AS (TRCAS)

Turcas Petrol AS (Turcas) is a Turkey-based integrated energy holding company that operates in the fields of fuel distribution, oil refining, power generation & trading, and import & wholesale of natural gas. The joint venture company, Shell & Turcas Petrol AS (STAS), carries out the Company’s fuel distribution activities through a network of gas stations, delivering services across Turkey. Its Oil refining and petroleum production is undertaken by SOCAR & Turcas Energy (STEAS). The Company operates its power generation, trading and distribution activities through Turcas Energy Holding. The import, export and wholesale of natural gas are handled by Turcas Gas Trading. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lyubov Pronina]

    Akbank sank 4.2 percent in Istanbul, falling for a sixth straight day, the longest streak in almost two months. Turcas Petrol AS (TRCAS) lost 1.6 percent after the Turkish energy company said Finance Ministry officials started an inspection at its venture with Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: Dejour Energy Inc (DEJ)

Dejour Energy Inc. is engaged in the business of acquiring, exploring and developing energy projects with a focus on oil and gas exploration in Canada and the United States. The Company holds approximately 113,000 net acres of oil and gas leases in the Peace River Arch of northwestern British Columbia and northeastern Alberta, Canada and the Piceance, Paradox and Uinta Basins in the United States Rocky Mountains. The Company has 71.43% working interest in this 3,014 acre (gross) project located south of Roan Creek. The Company also has 71.43% working interest in this 18,000 acre (gross) project located north of the Rangely Field, is prospective for oil in the Lower Mancos (Niobrara), Dakota, Morrison and Phosphoria formations. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By CRWE]

    Vancouver, BC, Dec. 16, 2013 — (CRWE Press Release) — Dejour Energy Inc. (NYSE MKT:DEJ) (TSX:DEJ), an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company operating in North America’s Piceance Basin and Peace River Arch regions, today announces that it has signed a Letter of Intent to create a strategic joint venture partnership with a private Singapore based energy company (‘SECO’) to develop the company’s Colorado oil and gas assets.

    Upon completion of due diligence, legal documentation and requisite approvals expected prior to January 31, 2014, SECO will invest an initial sum of up to $27.5mm in 2014 and 2015 to earn an 85% share in Dejour’s interests in its Colorado properties, primarily Kokopelli, subject to certain interest claw backs available to Dejour. Following this capital investment by SECO, the partners will continue to judiciously develop the reserves on a pro rata basis.

    The terms of the agreement include a capital injection to Dejour of approximately US$ 4.5mm, including cash and assumption of certain liability agreements on outstanding debt and the 100% development funding of an initial $10.5mm in capital expenditures in 2014 with a further $12mm in 2015, targeting Kokopelli, subject to certain provisions. Additionally, SECO will assume 85% of the ongoing overhead of Dejour’s U.S. operations and joint project management during the initial period. SECO will also share responsibility to maintain the other Dejour U.S. leases in good standing on a pro rata ownership basis or return them to Dejour in a timely fashion. Dejour will remain the operator of record.

    “SECO shares Dejour’s value proposition relating to the company’s U.S. E&P portfolio. This partnership will bring many strategic advantages to Dejour: minimizing capital requirement in the short term, bolstering the company’s balance sheet and long term US cash flow, the provision of flexibility for Dejour to pursue new

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd (ONGC)

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) is an India-based company. The Company is mainly engaged in the oil exploration and production activities. The Company operates in two segments: Offshore and Onshore. Its subsidiaries include ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd., ONGC Nile Ganga BV, ONGC Narmada Limited, ONGC Amazon Alaknanda Limited, ONGC Campos Ltda, ONGC Nile Ganga (Cyprus) Ltd. and ONGC Nile Ganga (San Cristobal) B.V. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Zahra Hankir]

    India’s (SENSEX) benchmark stock index fell for a fourth day, capping its biggest weekly loss in three months, as the rupee dropped to a six-week low. HDFC Bank Ltd. (HDFCB) dropped 1.9 percent, leading a gauge of banking shares to a fifth day of losses, the longest losing streak since July. Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) slid to a three-week low, leading a slide in the S&P BSE India Oil & Gas Index.

  • [By Jonathan Burgos]

    India’s biggest energy companies rose after the government agreed to raise the price of natural gas. Reliance Industries Ltd., operator of the world’s biggest oil refining complex, climbed 3.1 percent to 855.2 rupees in Mumbai. Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) added 1.7 percent to 325.70 rupees.

  • [By Lyubov Pronina]

    Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) and Oil & Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC), India’s biggest energy explorers, led Indian stocks higher as the nation’s cabinet agreed to lift the price of natural gas. The rupee posted the biggest quarterly drop since 2011.

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: Bison Petroleum Corp (BISN)

Bison Petroleum Corp. (Bison), incorporated on February 9, 2010, is an independent American oil and gas company founded to provide the United States energy security by developing and producing oil and gas from the nation’s energy heartlands. Bison’s holdings are located in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming.

On August 9, 2013, he Company entered into a Lease Purchase Agreement with Nelan Advisors Corporation (Nelan), whereby Nelan sold certain oil and gas leases issued by the State of Wyoming to Bison. Bison focuses to commence oil and gas drilling operations on these leases.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Peter Graham]

    On Friday, small cap stocks Bison Petroleum Corp (OTCMKTS: BISN) and Interactive Leisure Systems Inc (OTCMKTS: IALS) sank 16.27% and 16%, respectively, and despite being the subject of recent paid promotions or investor relation campaigns. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a properly disclosed stock promotion or paid for investor relations campaigns, but investors and traders alike need to be careful about how they get into and exit such stocks before getting badly burned. With that in mind, here is a quick look at both small cap stocks to help you decide on an investment or trading strategy for this week:

    Bison Petroleum Corp (OTCMKTS: BISN) Has Given Another Corporate Update

    Small cap Bison Petroleum Corp is a publicly traded oil and gas exploration and development company based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and dedicated to the exploration and development of domestic Energy in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. On Friday, Bison Petroleum Corp sank 16.27% to $1.39 for a market cap of $65.35 million plus BISN is up 396.4% since last June according to Google Finance.

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: WGL Holdings Inc (WGL)

WGL Holdings, Inc. (WGL Holdings) is a holding company. The Company own subsidiaries, which sells and delivers natural gas and/or provide a range of energy-related products and services to customers in the District of Columbia and the surrounding metropolitan areas in Maryland and Virginia. The Company operates in three subsidiaries: regulated utility segment, retail energy-marketing segment and design-build energy systems segment. The Company’s wholly owned subsidiaries include Washington Gas Light Company (Washington Gas), Washington Gas Resources Corporation (Washington Gas Resources), Hampshire Gas Company (Hampshire) and Crab Run Gas Company (Crab Run). Washington Gas is a regulated public utility that sells and delivers natural gas to customers in the District of Columbia and adjoining areas in Maryland, Virginia and several cities and towns in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Washington Gas Resources owns four subsidiaries include Washington Gas Energy Services, Inc. (WGEServices), Washington Gas Energy Systems, Inc. (WGESystems), Capitol Energy Ventures Corp. (CEV) and WGSW, Inc. (WGSW).

Regulated Utility Segment

The Company’s regulated utility segment consists of Washington Gas and Hampshire. Washington Gas delivers natural gas to retail customers. Washington Gas also sells natural gas to customers who have not elected to purchase natural gas from un-regulated third-party marketers. Washington Gas recovers the cost of the natural gas to serve firm customers through gas cost recovery mechanisms. Hampshire operates and owns full and partial interests in underground natural gas storage facilities, including pipeline delivery facilities located in and around Hampshire County, West Virginia. Washington Gas purchases all of the storage services of Hampshire and includes the cost of these services in the bills sent to its customers.

As of September 30, 2011, Washington Gas had 1 .083 million active customer meters. During the fiscal year ! ended September 30, 2011 (fiscal 2011), the Company delivered 1,772.5 million therms.

Washington Gas is responsible for acquiring sufficient natural gas supplies, interstate pipeline capacity and storage capacity. Washington Gas obtains natural gas supplies, which originate from multiple regions throughout the United States and Canada. It also obtains natural gas in the form of vaporized liquefied natural gas (LNG) through the Cove Point LNG terminal owned by Dominion Cove Point LNG, LP and Dominion Transmission, Inc. (collectively Dominion). As of September 30, 2011, Washington Gas had service agreements with four pipeline companies, which provided firm transportation and/or storage services directly to Washington Gas’s city gate.

Retail Energy-Marketing Segment

The retail energy-marketing segment consists of the operations of WGEServices, which sells the natural gas and electric commodity directly to residential, commercial and in dustrial customers. These commodities are delivered to retail customers through the distribution systems owned by regulated utilities, such as Washington Gas or other unaffiliated natural gas or electric utilities. Washington Gas delivers the natural gas sold by WGEServices, and unaffiliated electric utilities deliver all of the electricity sold. In addition, WGEServices bills its customers through the billing services of the regulated utilities, which deliver its commodities, as well as directly through its own billing capabilities. WGEServices owns multiple solar photovoltaic (Solar PV) power generating systems. As of September 30, 2011, WGEServices served approximately 172,000 residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers accounts and approximately 183,000 residential, commercial and industrial electricity customers located in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

Design-Build Energy Systems Segment

The design-build energy systems segment, which consists ! of the op! erations of WGESystems, provides design-build energy solutions to governmental and commercial clients. WGESystems focuses on upgrading the mechanical, electrical, water and energy-related systems of governmental and commercial facilities by implementing both traditional, as well as alternative energy technologies, in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Other Activities

Other activities consist of the operations of CEV, an unregulated, non-utility subsidiary of Washington Gas Resources, which engages in the acquisition, management and optimization of natural gas storage and transportation assets and WGSW, which was formed to invest in solar power generation and other energy efficiency solutions for customers. In addition other activities include the operation of Crab Run, a small exploration company, and administrative with WGL Holdings and Washington Gas Resources. WGSW, a wholly owned subsidiary of Washington Gas Resources, holds a 99% partnership interest in ASD Solar, LP.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Lawrence Meyers]

    Today, we’ve got three lesser-known dividend stocks that have all been paying dividends for more than thirty years.

    WGL Holdings (WGL)

    The first of the secret dividend stocks is WGL Holdings (WGL), a rather unique stock in that it’s a diversified energy play. The company is split into four segments, of which two are regulated natural gas utilities, representing about 82% of the company’s total assets. The utility portions sell and deliver natural gas to some two million customers in the Washington D.C. and Virginia areas.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Calling all cash flows
    When you are trying to buy the market’s best stocks, it’s worth checking up on your companies’ free cash flow once a quarter or so, to see whether it bears any relationship to the net income in the headlines. That’s what we do with this series. Today, we’re checking in on WGL Holdings (NYSE: WGL  ) , whose recent revenue and earnings are plotted below.

  • [By Shauna O’Brien]

    Brean Capital reported on Friday that it has upgraded natural gas utility company WGL Holdings Inc (WGL).

    The firm has raised its rating on WGL from “Hold” to “Buy,” and has given the company a $46 price target. This price target suggests a 12% increase from the stock’s current price of $40.62. The upgrade was primarily based on valuation and future investment opportunities.

    “Like many utilities in the gas LDC space, the shares of WGL Holdings have come off recent highs and are now trading at a level we consider attractive,” analyst Michael Gaugler comments. “Beyond valuation, we consider the recent announcement of conditional approval of Dominion’s Cove Point facility for LNG export as a positive development in terms of future investment opportunities, given the company’s one-third interest in the Commonwealth Pipeline project, which we believe will be revisited due to future increased demand.”

    WGL Holdings shares were mostly flat during pre-market trading Friday. The stock has been mostly flat YTD.

Best Gas Stocks To Watch For 2014: Phillips 66 (PSX)

Phillips 66 is a holding company. The Company is engaged in producing natural gas liquids (NGL) and petrochemicals. The Company operates in three segments: the Refining and Marketing (R&M) segment, the Midstream segment and the Chemicals segment. The Refining and Marketing (R&M) segment purchases, refines, markets and transports crude oil and petroleum products, mainly in the United States, Europe and Asia, and also engages in power generation activities. The Midstream segment gathers, processes, transports and markets natural gas, and fractionates and markets NGL, predominantly in the United States. The Chemicals segment manufactures and markets petrochemicals and plastics on a worldwide basis. The Company’s operations encompass 15 refineries with a gross crude oil capacity of 2.8 million barrels per day, 10,000 branded marketing outlets and 7.2 billion cubic feet per day of gross natural gas processing capacity.

R&M

The Company’s R&M segmen t primarily refines crude oil and other feedstocks into petroleum products (such as gasolines, distillates and aviation fuels); buys, sells and transports crude oil; and buys, transports, distributes and markets petroleum products. This segment also engages in power generation activities. R&M has operations in the United States, Europe and Asia.

The Company’s Bayway Refinery is located on the New York Harbor in Linden, New Jersey. The refinery produces a high percentage of transportation fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, as well as petrochemical feedstocks, residual fuel oil and home heating oil. Its Trainer Refinery is located on the Delaware River in Trainer, Pennsylvania. Refinery facilities include fluid catalytic cracking units, hydrodesulfurization units, a reformer and a hydrocracker. The Alliance Refinery is located on the Mississippi River in Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The single-train facility includes fluid catalytic cracking units, hydrod esulfurization units and a reformer and aromatics unit. Alli! ance produces a percentage of transportation fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Other products include petrochemical feedstocks, home heating oil and anode petroleum coke.

The Lake Charles Refinery is located in Westlake, Louisiana. Its facilities include crude distillation, fluid catalytic cracker, hydrocracker, delayed coker and hydrodesulfurization units. The refinery produces a percentage of transportation fuels, such as gasoline, off-road diesel and jet fuel, along with home heating oil. It owns a 50% interest in Excel Paralubes, a joint venture which owns a hydrocracked lubricant base oil manufacturing plant located adjacent to the Lake Charles Refinery. The Sweeny Refinery is located in Old Ocean, Texas, approximately 65 miles southwest of Houston. Refinery facilities include fluid catalytic cracking, delayed coking, alkylation, a continuous regeneration reformer and hydrodesulfurization units. It produces a percentage of transportation fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. Other products include petrochemical feedstocks, home heating oil and coke.

The Company’s Merey Sweeny, L.P. (MSLP) owns a delayed coker and related facilities at the Sweeny Refinery. Fuel-grade petroleum coke is produced as a by-product and becomes the property of MSLP. The Company owns 50% operating interest in Sweeny Cogeneration, a joint venture, which owns a simple cycle, cogeneration power plant located adjacent to the Sweeny Refinery. The plant generates electricity and provides process steam to the refinery, and it also provides merchant power into the Texas market.

The Company’s Wood River Refinery is located in Roxana, Illinois, about 15 miles northeast of St. Louis, Missouri, at the convergence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Operations include three distilling units, two fluid catalytic cracking units, hydrocracking, coking, reforming, hydrotreating and sulfur recovery. The refinery prod uces a percentage of transportation fuels, such as gasoline,! diesel a! nd jet fuel. Other products include petrochemical feedstocks, asphalt and coke. Its Borger Refinery is located in Borger, Texas, in the Texas Panhandle, approximately 50 miles north of Amarillo. The refinery facilities consist of coking, fluid catalytic cracking, hydrodesulfurization and naphtha reforming, in addition to a 45,000-barrels-per-day NGL fractionation facility. It produces a percentage of transportation fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and jet fuel, as well as coke, NGL and solvents.

The Ponca City Refinery is located in Ponca City, Oklahoma. It is a high-conversion facility, which includes fluid catalytic cracking, delayed coking and hydrodesulfurization units. It produces a range of products, including gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and anode-grade petroleum coke. The Billings Refinery is located in Billings, Montana. Its facilities include fluid catalytic cracking and hydrodesulfurization units. The Ferndale Refinery is l ocated on Puget Sound in Ferndale, Washington, approximately 20 miles south of the United States-Canada border. Facilities include a fluid catalytic cracker, an alkylation unit, a diesel hydrotreater and an S-Zorb unit. The Los Angeles Refinery consists of two linked facilities located about five miles apart in Carson and Wilmington, California. The San Francisco Refinery consists of two facilities linked by a 200-mile pipeline. The Santa Maria facility is located in Arroyo Grande, California, about 200 miles south of San Francisco.

As of December 31, 2011, the Company marketed gasoline, diesel and aviation fuel through approximately 8,250 marketer-owned or -supplied outlets in 49 states. At December 31, 2011, its wholesale operations utilized a network of marketers operating approximately 6,875 outlets that provided refined product offtake from its refineries. In addition to automotive gasoline and diesel, it produces and markets aviation gasoline, which is us ed by smaller piston engine aircrafts. As December 31, 2011,! aviation! gasoline and jet fuel were sold through dealers and independent marketers at approximately 875 Phillips 66-branded locations in the United States.

The Company manufactures and sells automotive, commercial and industrial lubricants, which are marketed worldwide under the Phillips 66, Conoco, 76 and Kendall brands, as well as other private label brands. It also manufactures Group II and import Group III base oils and market both globally under the respective brand names Pure Performance and Ultra-S. It manufactures and markets graphite and anode-grade petroleum cokes in the United States and Europe for use in the global steel and aluminum industries. It also manufacture and market polypropylene to North America under the COPYLENE brand name. Its ThruPlus Delayed Coker Technology, a process for upgrading heavy oil into higher value, light hydrocarbon liquids, was sold in June 2011. In October 2011, it sold Seaway Products Pipeline Company to DCP Midstream. In Dece mber 2011, the Company sold its 16.55% interest in Colonial Pipeline Company and its 50% interest in Seaway Crude Pipeline Company. The Company manufactures and sells a variety of specialty products, including pipeline flow improvers and anode material for high-power lithium-ion batteries. Its specialty products are marketed under the LiquidPower and CPreme brand names.

The Company owns four refineries outside the United States: the Humber Refinery, Whitegate Refinery, Melaka Refinery and Wilhelmshaven Refinery. The Humber Refinery is located on the east coast of England in North Lincolnshire, United Kingdom. It is an integrated refinery, which produces a high percentage of transportation fuels, such as gasoline and diesel. Humber’s facilities encompass fluid catalytic cracking, thermal cracking and coking. The refinery has two coking units with associated calcining plants, which upgrade the heaviest part of the crude barrel and imported feedstocks into light oil products and graphite and anode petroleum cokes.

!

Th! e Whitegate Refinery is located in Cork, Ireland. The refinery primarily produces transportation fuels, such as gasoline, diesel and fuel oil, which are distributed to the inland market, as well as being exported to Europe and the United States. It also operate a crude oil and products storage complex consisting of 7.5 million barrels of storage capacity and an offshore mooring buoy, located in Bantry Bay, about 80 miles southwest of the refinery in southern Cork County.

The Mineraloelraffinerie Oberrhein GmbH (MiRO) Refinery, located on the Rhine River in Karlsruhe in southwest Germany, is a joint venture in which it owns an 18.75% interest. Facilities include three crude unit trains, fluid catalytic cracking, petroleum coking and calcining, hydrodesulfurization units, reformers, isomerization and aromatics recovery units, ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) and alkylation units. MiRO produces a percentage of transportation fuels, such as gasoline and diesel. Other p roducts include petrochemical feedstocks, home heating oil, bitumen, and anode- and fuel-grade petroleum coke. The Wilhelmshaven Refinery is located in the northern state of Lower Saxony in Germany, and has a 260,000 barrels-per-day crude oil processing capacity.

As of December 31, 2011, the Company had approximately 1,430 marketing outlets in its European operations, of which approximately 900 were Company-owned and 330 were dealer-owned. It also held brand-licensing agreements with approximately 200 sites. Through its joint venture operations in Switzerland, it also has interests in 250 additional sites.

Midstream

The Midstream segment purchases raw natural gas from producers, including ConocoPhillips, and gathers natural gas through pipeline gathering systems. Its Midstream segment is primarily conducted through its 50% investment in DCP Midstream. DCP Midstream also owns or operates 12 NGL fractionation plants, along with propane te rminal facilities and NGL pipeline assets. It has a 25% inte! rest in R! ockies Express Pipeline LLC (REX).

Chemicals

The Chemicals segment consists of its 50% investment in CPChem. As of December 31, 2011, CPChem owned or had joint-venture interests in 38 manufacturing facilities. CPChem’s business is structured around two primary operating segments: Olefins & Polyolefins (O&P) and Specialties, Aromatics & Styrenics (SA&S). The O&P segment produces and markets ethylene, propylene, and other olefin products, which are primarily consumed within CPChem for the production of polyethylene, normal alpha olefins, polypropylene and polyethylene pipe. The SA&S segment manufactures and markets aromatics products, such as benzene, styrene, paraxylene and cyclohexane, as well as polystyrene and styrene-butadiene copolymers.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    Kinder Morgan says the plant will cost $370 million, about 80% to 90% less than a full-blown refinery. Valero Energy Corp. (NYSE: VLO) and Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX) have both indicated they may follow Kinder Morgan’s lead and build splitter plants of their own.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Yesterday, refiners like Phillips 66 (PSX) and Holly Frontier (HFC) got hammered after the so-called spread between US and European oil benchmarks narrowed to the tightest level since last October. What should investors do now?

    Bloomberg News

    Phillips 66 fell 2.6% yesterday, while Holly Frontier dropped 3.1%, Tesoro (TSO) declined 1.4%, Western Refining (WNR) plunged 4.3% and Delek US (DK) finished off 5.2%.

    Credit Suisse analyst Edward Westlake and team explain aren’t feeling optimistic about the refiners:

    We believe the local peak of Gulf Coast earnings seems behind us. Yes, there could be some widening in LLS in March/April given the transfer of inventory from Cushing to the Gulf, but as East of Rockies refineries ramp up for peak gasoline demand, summer crude spreads should remain tight. High crude prices will depress the margins on secondary products and retail. That is not to say earnings will disappoint hugely. Distillate has been helped by the cold winter, Maya remains wide, Mid-Cush has been wide. Its more that upside risks to earnings have diminished.

    Westlake offered some thoughts on individual stocks, as well. Western Refining, which had its target price raised to $48 from $46, and Phillips 66 should benefit from other businesses–Western Refining, for one, has large logistic and chemical operations–while Tesoro could benefit from being recognized as a “Gulf Coast Refiner.” Westlake also raised his price target on Holly Frontier to $57 from $54. Delek US, however, needs to show signs of earnings improvement before its worth buying, Westlake notes.

    Shares of Western Refining, which released earnings yesterday, have dropped 2.9% to $36.39, while Phillips 66 has ticked up 0.2% to $74.91, Tesoro has gained 1% to $51.24, Holly Frontier has fallen 0.4% to $45.43 and Delek US has  fallen 4.3% to $27.59.

  • [By Paul Ausick]

    The largest independent U.S. refiner, Phillips 66 (NYSE: PSX), is down nearly 2% at $72.83 in a 52-week range of $54.80 to $79.00. Like Valero, the stock’s annual high was posted in early January and shares have pulled back about 5% since then. The consensus price target is around $84.80, up from $77.50 in early January so the company’s shares now indicate a potential upside of about 16%. The forward multiple for 2015 at that price is around 9.5.