Top Oil Companies To Watch For 2014

The idea that stocks are riskier than bonds is widely accepted at face value in finance and investing.  Stock prices tend to swing both higher and lower, and more frequently, than bond prices, and unlike with a bond, owning shares in a company doesn’t come with a commitment that your investment principal will be paid back at a future date.

As Modern Portfolio Theory holds, to compensate for this higher risk, an investor in equities should expect to earn a higher rate of return over time than an investor in fixed income.  This concept is generally called the “equity risk premium” and historically, broad indices of stocks have outperformed their fixed income counterparts, while experiencing much higher volatility in returns, also known as standard deviation (see Exhibit 1 below).

However, a popular misconception among many investors is that a portfolio invested only in fixed income is the “least risky” possible portfolio. This view ignores two key issues. First, not all bonds are created equal in terms of minimizing volatility and risk – a long-duration bond with poor credit quality typically has substantially higher volatility than a short-duration treasury. Second, by virtue of being assets that do not move in tandem (and may even move inversely), a mix of stocks and bonds can actually result in an overall portfolio with lower volatility than bonds alone.

Top Oil Companies To Watch For 2014: Seadrill Partners LLC (SDLP)

Seadrill Partners LLC (Seadrill Partners) is a limited liability company. The Company was formed to own, operate and acquire offshore drilling rigs. The Company’s drilling rigs are under long-term contracts with oil companies, such as Chevron, Total, BP and ExxonMobil with an average remaining term of 3.1 years as of June 30, 2012. The Company is also a holding company. The Company conducts its operations through its subsidiaries. In May 2013, SeaDrill Ltd sold T-15 tender rig to Seadrill Partners LLC

The Company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Seadrill Operating GP LLC, the general partner of Seadrill Operating LP, will manage Seadrill Operating LP’s operations and activities. The Company is also an international offshore drilling contractor.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Aaron Levitt]

    The key to SDRL has been its relationship with its master limited partnership subsidiary SeaDrill Partners (SDLP). SeaDrill has been quite successful at “dropping down” assets into SDLP to avoid taxes and gain hefty distributions. All of which continues to boost cash flows and dividend yields for SDRL stock.

  • [By P.I.A.]

    The Norwegian driller has several investments in other companies. It holds roughly 12% of SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhp pursuant to sale of the tender rig business. There is also a Seadrill Partners LP (SDLP), after its October 2012 IPO, and its drilling units have been valued at a premium to Seadrill’s own rigs. Seadrill owns 75% of SDLP and also 73% of North American Drilling.

Top Oil Companies To Watch For 2014: Willbros Group Inc (WG)

Willbros Group, Inc. (Willbros) is a full service engineering and construction company specializing in energy infrastructure serving the oil and gas and power industries. The Company’s services include engineering, procurement and construction (individually or as an integrated engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) offering), project management, maintenance and lifecycle extension services. As of December 31, 2011, the Company operated through three business segments: Upstream Oil & Gas, Downstream Oil & Gas and Utility Transmission and Distribution (Utility T&D), primarily in the United States, Canada and Oman. In January 2012, the Company changed its organization and includes three segments: Oil & Gas, Utility T&D and Canada. During 2011, the Company opened an office in the Houston Ship Channel. On October 11, 2011, the Company completed the sale of all assets and operations of InterCon Construction Inc., a non-strategic subsidiary within the Utility T&D segment .

Upstream Oil & Gas

The Company’s core services include the design, construction, and maintenance of hydrocarbon transportation systems. The Company provides a full range of services for the engineering, design, procurement and construction of processing, pumping, compression and metering facilities. It focuses on building these facilities in the North American oil and gas market.

The Company’s core services include the design, construction, and maintenance of hydrocarbon transportation systems. The Company provides a full range of services for the engineering, design, procurement and construction of processing, pumping, compression and metering facilities. It focuses on building these facilities in the North American oil and gas market.

The Company’s engineering services include project development, conceptual design, front-end engineering and feasibility studies; project engineering services; definitive design and d rafting services; project management, estimating, scheduling! and controls; turnkey EPC arrangements; field engineering and construction liaison services; material and services procurement; planning and management of integrity and maintenance programs, and topographic, hydrographic and engineering as-built surveying, including the establishment of rights-of-way for public utilities and industrial uses. These services are furnished to a number of oil, gas, and pipeline transportation clients on a stand-alone basis, as well as part of EPC contracts undertaken by the Company.

In addition to capital projects, the Company offers its upstream infrastructure construction facilities to its clients through its management and maintenance offerings. The Company operates its fabrication services in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Alberta, Canada.

Downstream Oil & Gas

The Company provides integrated, full-service specialty construction, turnaround, repair and maintenance services, including EPC services, to the downstre am energy infrastructure markets, which consists primarily of integrated oil companies, independent refineries, product terminals and petrochemical companies. The Company provides these services primarily in the United States. The Company’s principal services include construction, maintenance and turnaround services for downstream facilities, including revamp/reconditioning of fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) units; tank services for construction, maintenance or repair of petroleum storage tanks, typically located at pipeline terminals and refineries; multi-disciplinary engineering services to clients in the petroleum refining, chemicals and petrochemicals and oil and gas industries, and EPC services through program management and EPC project services. The Company’s construction, maintenance and turnaround services include refractory services, furnace re-tube and revamp projects, stainless and alloy welding services and heavy rigging and equipment setting.

The Company provides services to the above-ground storage tank i! ndustry. ! The Company’s capabilities include American Petroleum Institute (API) compliant tank maintenance and repair; floating roof seals; floating roof installations and repairs; secondary containment bottoms, cone roof and structure replacements, and new API compliant aboveground storage tanks. The Company provides these services as stand-alone or in combination, including EPC solutions.

The Company provides project management, engineering and material procurement services to the refining industries and government agencies, including chemical/process, mechanical, civil, structural, electrical, instrumentation/controls and environmental through its subsidiary, Wink Companies, LLC (Wink). The Company provides its engineering services through resources located at the project site or at its offices in Louisiana.

Utility T&D

The Company provides a range of services in electric and natural gases transmission and distribution, including comprehensiv e maintenance and construction, repair and restoration of utility infrastructure. It maintains and constructs overhead and underground transmission lines. Overhead transmission services include the installation, maintenance and repair of transmission structures involving wood, concrete, steel pole and steel lattice tower configurations. Underground transmission services include the installation and maintenance of underground transmission cable and its associated duct, conduit and manhole systems. Electric power transmission also includes substation services, which includes the maintenance, construction, expansion, calibration and testing of electric power substations and components.

The Company maintains, construct and upgrade underground and overhead electric power distribution lines to household voltage levels. The Company’s services consists of electric power distribution systems, including primary and secondary voltage cables, wood and steel poles, transfor mers, switchgear, capacitors, underground duct, manhole syst! ems, resi! dential and commercial and electric meter installation.

The Company offers two complementary services to utilities and industrial companies for the restoration of electrical power cables and the condition assessment of electrical cable systems. It includes CableCURE and CableWISE. CableCURE is a process for the restoration of aged electric power cables. CableWISE is an online electrical system-condition assessment process that enables electric power utilities and a range of commercial and industrial facilities to evaluate the condition of cable systems, transformers and switchgear. The Company provides a spectrum of natural gas T and D services, from the maintenance and construction of large diameter transmission pipelines through the installation of residential natural gases service. The Company constructs, maintain and upgrade natural gases distribution pipelines. The Company’s services include trenching, transporting, welding or fusing and laying pipe, post- construction integrity testing, site restoration and meter setting.

The Company provides other specialty services to customers nationwide. These services include utility-line locating, stray voltage and gas leak detection and telecommunications.

The Company competes with Quanta Services, MasTec, Primoris, Associated Pipeline Contractors, Sheehan Pipeline Construction, U.S. Pipeline, Welded Construction, Henkels & McCoy, Michels Corporation, North American Energy Services, Flint Energy Services, Ledcor, Sunland, Dyess, Jomax, CH2M Hill, Gulf Interstate, Universal Pegasus, Trigon, Mustang Engineering, ENGlobal, AltairStrickland, JV Industrial Companies, Plant Performance Services, KBR, Chicago Bridge & Iron, Matrix Services, MYR Group, Pike Electric and Miller Pipeline.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Jeremy Bowman]

    What: Shares of Willbros Group (NYSE: WG  ) were shining today, gaining as much as 16% after the energy services firm boosted its profit estimate for the current quarter.

Top Oil Companies To Watch For 2014: Oil and Gas Development Co Ltd (OGDC)

Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) is a Pakistan-based company engaged in the exploration and development of oil and gas resources, including production and sale of oil and gas and related activities. As the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, the Company’s crude oil production was 37,615 barrels of oil per day, and 17 wells were spudded. As of June 30, 2011, the Company operated in 31 exploration blocks (22 blocks with 100% shares including an offshore block, and 12 blocks as operated joint ventures), including 3 offshore blocks. Its projects include Uch-II Development Project, KPD-TAY Integrated Development Project, Jhal Magsi Development Project, Sinjhoro Development Project and Nashpa/ Mela Development Project. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Weiyi Lim]

    Drinkall, whose $83 million Frontier Emerging Markets Portfolio (MFMIX) beat 99 percent of peers tracked by Bloomberg during the past 12 months with a 40 percent gain, said he favors Nigeria because of its economic growth prospects and Pakistan on the nation’s improving political stability. His fund held shares of Lagos-based Dangote Cement Plc (DANGCEM) and Islamabad-based Oil & Gas Development Co. (OGDC) as of April 30, Morgan Stanley’s website shows.

Top Oil Companies To Watch For 2014: Red Fork Energy Ltd (RDFEY)

Red Fork Energy Limited is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company focused in the midcontinent of the United States. The Company’s Big River project is exploiting the oil and liquids rich gas bearing Mississippi limestone formation (the Mississippi Play). The Company’s East Oklahoma project is located east of Tulsa in Oklahoma. The Company’s subsidiaries include Red Fork (USA) Investments, Inc. and EastOK Pipeline LLC. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sally Jones] urrent RDFEY share price is 3.69, or 53.6% off the 52-week high of $7.95.

    Down 49% over 12 months, RDFEY has a market cap of $164.78 million, and trades at a P/B of 1.40.

    Red Fork Energy Limited is engaged in shale gas and oil exploration and production in USA. Red Fork Energy has a large landholding in Oklahoma with producing oil and gas fields, as well as highly prospective development acreage. The company has positioned itself in a premier on-shore, horizontal oil resource play, with a large and growing position in the Mississippi Lime oil and gas play.

    The company reported second quarter 2013 financial results with record sales of $6.985 million for the quarter, representing a 72.5%% increase from the previous quarter. The company had record gross production of 174.8 million barrels oil equivalents, a 33.4% increase from the previous quarter.

    Revenue and net income tracking:

Top Oil Companies To Watch For 2014: Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.B)

Royal Dutch Shell plc (Shell), incorporated on February 5, 2002, is an independent oil and gas company. The Company owns, directly or indirectly, investments in the numerous companies constituting Shell. Shell is engaged worldwide in the principal aspects of the oil and gas industry and also has interests in chemicals and other energy-related businesses. The Company operates in three segments: Upstream, Downstream and Corporate. Upstream combines the operating segments Upstream International and Upstream Americas, which are engaged in searching for and recovering crude oil and natural gas; the liquefaction and transportation of gas; the extraction of bitumen from oil sands that is converted into synthetic crude oil, and wind energy. Downstream is engaged in manufacturing; distribution and marketing activities for oil products and chemicals, in alternative energy (excluding wind), and carbon dioxide (CO2) management. Corporate represents the key support functions, comprisin g holdings and treasury, headquarters, central functions and Shell’s self-insurance activities. In October 2011, the Company bought a marine terminal on Canada’s Pacific Coast as a possible site for a liquefied natural gas export terminal. In January 2012, the Company’s 50% owned, Australia Arrow Energy Holdings Pty Ltd acquired all of the shares in Bow Energy Ltd. In January 2014, Royal Dutch Shell plc completed the acquisition of Repsol S.A.’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) portfolio outside North America.

Upstream International manages the Upstream businesses outside the Americas. It searches for and recovers crude oil and natural gas, liquefies and transports gas, and operates the upstream and midstream infrastructure necessary to deliver oil and gas to market. Upstream International also manages Shell’s entire liquefied petroleum gas (LNG) business, gas to liquids (GTL) and the wind business in Europe. Its activities are organized primarily within geograph ical units, although there are some activities that are mana! ged across the businesses or provided through support units.

Upstream Americas manages the Upstream businesses in North and South America. It searches for and recovers crude oil and natural gas, transports gas and operates the upstream and midstream infrastructure necessary to deliver oil and gas to market. Upstream Americas also extracts bitumen from oil sands that is converted into synthetic crude oil. Additionally, it manages the United States-based wind business. It comprises operations organized into business-wide managed activities and supporting activities.

Downstream manages Shell’s manufacturing, distribution and marketing activities for oil products and chemicals. These activities are organized into globally managed classes of business, although some are managed regionally or provided through support units. Manufacturing and supply includes refining, supply and shipping of crude oil. Marketing sells a range of products including fuels, l ubricants, bitumen and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for home, transport and industrial use. Chemicals produces and markets petrochemicals for industrial customers, including the raw materials for plastics, coatings and detergents. Downstream also trades Shell’s flow of hydrocarbons and other energy-related products, supplies the Downstream businesses, markets gas and power and provides shipping services. Downstream additionally oversees Shell’s interests in alternative energy (including biofuels, and excluding wind) and CO2 management.

Projects and Technology manages the delivery of Shell’s major projects and drives the research and innovation to create technology solutions. It provides technical services and technology capability covering both Upstream and Downstream activities. It is also responsible for providing functional leadership across Shell in the areas of health, safety and environment, and contracting and procurement.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Sara Sjolin]

    On Monday, energy firms also showed positive moves, with shares of BG Group PLC (UK:BG)  1.2% higher and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (UK:RDSB)   (RDS.B) rising 0.8%. Oil prices, however, moved slightly lower, but held above the $101-a-barrel level.

  • [By Sara Sjolin]

    Oil firms were rising, tracking oil prices higher. Shares of BG Group PLC (UK:BG)  picked up 0.8%, BP PLC (UK:BP)   (BP)  added 0.6% and Royal Dutch Shell PLC (UK:RDSB)   (RDS.B)  inched 0.1% higher.

  • [By Tim McAleenan Jr.]

    I do not mention these things to discourage you from international stocks. I have been purchasing BP (BP) between $39-$43, and I will eventually purchase Anheuser-Busch (BUD), Nestle (NSRGY.PK), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B), and two or three other international companies when the stars line up. My point is that you should not feel an obligation to own international stocks simply for diversification’s sake. If you find a good international stock with a business model you understand and it trades at an attractive price, then great. You should buy it. But owning international stocks does not have to be a necessary part of your strategy. Despite what Mankiw advises in the New York Times, you can build a diversified collection of "global stocks" simply by investigating where certain American multinationals generate the bulk of their sales and earnings.

Top Oil Companies To Watch For 2014: Western Refining Inc.(WNR)

Western Refining, Inc. operates as an independent crude oil refiner and marketer of refined products. The company operates in three segments Refining Group, Wholesale Group, and Retail Group. The Refining Group segment operates two refineries in Texas and Mexico; two stand-alone refined product distribution terminals in New Mexico; and four asphalt terminals in Texas, as well as operates crude oil transportation and gathering pipeline system in New Mexico. It refines various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, and other products from crude oil, other feedstocks, and blending components; and acquires refined products through exchange agreements and from various third-party suppliers. This segment sells its products through its wholesale group and service stations, independent wholesalers and retailers, commercial accounts, and sales and exchanges with oil companies. The Wholesale Group segment distributes commercial wholesale petroleum products primarily in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah for retail fuel distributors, as well as for the mining, construction, utility, manufacturing, transportation, aviation, and agricultural industries. The Retail Group segment operates service stations, which include convenience stores or kiosks that sell various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, general merchandise, and beverage and food products to the general public. As of February 24, 2012, it operated 210 service stations with convenience stores or kiosks located in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas. The company was incorporated in 2005 and is headquartered in El Paso, Texas.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    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%.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    The last three months were good for refiners like Phillips 66 (PSX), Western Refining (WNR) and Delek US (DK), which each gained more than 14% during that period.

Top Oil Companies 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.

Top Oil Companies To Watch For 2014: Linn Energy LLC (LINE)

Linn Energy, LLC (LINN Energy) is an independent oil and natural gas company. The Company’s properties are located in the United States, primarily in the Mid-Continent, the Permian Basin, Michigan, California and the Williston Basin. Mid-Continent Deep includes the Texas Panhandle Deep Granite Wash formation and deep formations in Oklahoma and Kansas. Mid-Continent Shallow includes the Texas Panhandle Brown Dolomite formation and shallow formations in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Illinois. Permian Basin includes areas in West Texas and Southeast New Mexico. Michigan includes the Antrim Shale formation in the northern part of the state. California includes the Brea Olinda Field of the Los Angeles Basin. Williston Basin includes the Bakken formation in North Dakota. On December 15, 2011, the Company acquired certain oil and natural gas properties located primarily in the Granite Wash of Texas and Oklahoma from Plains Exploration & Production Company (Plains).

On No vember 1, 2011, and November 18, 2011, it completed two acquisitions of certain oil and natural gas properties located in the Permian Basin. On June 1, 2011, it acquired certain oil and natural gas properties in the Cleveland play, located in the Texas Panhandle, from Panther Energy Company, LLC and Red Willow Mid-Continent, LLC (collectively Panther). On May 2, 2011, and May 11, 2011, it completed two acquisitions of certain oil and natural gas properties located in the Williston Basin. On April 1, 2011, and April 5, 2011, the Company completed two acquisitions of certain oil and natural gas properties located in the Permian Basin. On March 31, 2011, it acquired certain oil and natural gas properties located in the Williston Basin from an affiliate of Concho Resources Inc. (Concho). During the year ended December 31, 2011, the Company completed other smaller acquisitions of oil and natural gas properties located in its various operating regions. As of December 31, 2011, the Company operated 7,759 or 69% of its 11,230 gross productiv! e wells.

Mid-Continent Deep

The Mid-Continent Deep region includes properties in the Deep Granite Wash formation in the Texas Panhandle, which produces at depths ranging from 10,000 feet to 16,000 feet, as well as properties in Oklahoma and Kansas, which produce at depths of more than 8,000 feet. Mid-Continent Deep proved reserves represented approximately 47% of total proved reserves, as of December 31, 2011, of which 49% were classified as proved developed reserves. The Company owns and operates a network of natural gas gathering systems consisting of approximately 285 miles of pipeline and associated compression and metering facilities that connect to numerous sales outlets in the Texas Panhandle.

Mid-Continent Shallow

The Mid-Continent Shallow region includes properties producing from the Brown Dolomite formation in the Texas Panhandle, which produces at depths of approximately 3,200 feet, as well as properties in Oklah oma, Louisiana and Illinois, which produce at depths of less than 8,000 feet. Mid-Continent Shallow proved reserves represented approximately 20% of total proved reserves, as of December 31, 2011, of which 70% were classified as proved developed reserves. The Company owns and operates a network of natural gas gathering systems consisting of approximately 665 miles of pipeline and associated compression and metering facilities that connect to numerous sales outlets in the Texas Panhandle.

Permian Basin

The Permian Basin is an oil and natural gas basins in the United States. The Company’s properties are located in West Texas and Southeast New Mexico and produce at depths ranging from 2,000 feet to 12,000 feet. Permian Basin proved reserves represented approximately 16% of total proved reserves, as of December 31, 2011, of which 56% were classified as proved developed reserves.

Michigan

The Michigan region includes propertie s producing from the Antrim Shale formation in the northern ! part of t! he state, which produces at depths ranging from 600 feet to 2,200 feet. Michigan proved reserves represented approximately 9% of total proved reserves, as of December 31, 2011, of which 90% were classified as proved developed reserves.

California

The California region consists of the Brea Olinda Field of the Los Angeles Basin. California proved reserves represented approximately 6% of total proved reserves, as of December 31, 2011, of which 93% were classified as proved developed reserves.

Williston Basin

The Williston Basin is one of the premier oil basins in the United States. The Company’s properties are located in North Dakota and produce at depths ranging from 9,000 feet to 12,000 feet. Williston Basin proved reserves represented approximately 2% of total proved reserves, as of December 31, 2011, of which 48% were classified as proved developed reserves.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    Yesterday, Linn Energy (LINE) reported earnings and promptly fell 4.6%. After a day to consider the numbers, where does Linn Energy stand?

    Dan Strumpf/The Wall Street Jour

    Raymond James’ Kevin Smith thinks Linn Energy look’s OK despite yesterday’s disappointment:

    As the clouds start to clear in the wake of the [Linn Energy] / Berry merger, the partnership has evolved into a dynamic company with lots of options at its disposal. In addition to a best-in-class hedging program and a well-oiled acquisition machine, LINN Energy is now in possession of a large amount of horizontal Wolfcamp acreage and is evaluating a number of options to monetize this acreage. Given the stability in the distribution, the upside from the horizontal Wolfcamp acreage position, and the sheer breadth of growth outlets available to the partnership, we reiterate our Outperform rating.

    UBS analyst Shneur Gershuni and team maintained their Buy rating but lowered their price target to $33 from $34. They explain:

    Combing through the updated guidance for 2014, the most surprising result was the surge in LOE, followed by lean distribution coverage in 2014 assuming no growth in distribution. The troubling implication of today’s guidance is that either BRY is not as accretive as first thought or the legacy biz is declining faster than modelled. While guidance was clearly disappointing, the proved reserve update was encouraging in our opinion as [Linn Energy] was able to replace 123% of reserves with the drillbit (excluding acquisitions) at a cost of $2.21.

    Mgmt carefully laid out strategic options for its Midland Basin acreage by evaluating asset swaps or a JV (as a reminder [Linn Energy] has net acreage 55k in the Wolfcamp). Firstly we would prefer an asset swap into a longer lived slow decline reserve productive asset as it is presents an asset profile more consistent with how we think about Upstream MLPs. We are encouraged by mgnt strongly

  • [By David Dittman]

    Question: Do you have any comments on Linn Energy LLC (NSDQ: LINE)?

    Answer: The merger with Berry Petroleum is complete, and now it’s on to executing plan to get production growing again. The SE’’s informal inquiry is still in process, and I won’t hazard a guess as to what if anything will come of it.

  • [By Jayson Derrick]

    Analysts at Raymond James upgraded Linn Energy (NASDAQ: LINE) to Strong Buy from Outperform with a $37 price target. The analysts noted that the SEC’s endorsement of its S-4 coupled with an increased fourth quarter cash flow guidance could remove the overhand in shares. Shares gained 3.47 percent, closing at $29.80.

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    We got numerous questions about Linn Energy (Nasdaq: LINE) in the chat. I commented on this in last week’s MLP Investing Insider, but it bears repeating here as there is obviously still a lot of interest. Igor’s answer to this question was “I expect the merger to close by year’s end, but I think Linn has some structural issues that go beyond [pending merger partner Berry Petroleum (NYSE: BRY)] with its debt load and past acquisition quality, so I’m steering clear. There are better upstream MLPs in our portfolios.”

Top Oil Companies To Watch For 2014: Lehigh Gas Partners LP (LGP)

Lehigh Gas Partners LP, incorporated on December 2, 2011, is engaged in the wholesale distribution of motor fuels, consisting of gasoline and diesel fuel, and to own and lease real estate used in the retail distribution of motor fuels. It generates revenues from the wholesale distribution of motor fuels to gas stations, truck stops and toll road plazas, which it refers to as sites, and from real estate leases. It generates cash flows from the wholesale distribution of motor fuels by charging a per gallon margin. Its supply agreements with lessee dealers have three-year terms, and its supply agreements with independent dealers generally have 10-year terms. In May 2011, the Company acquired from Motiva Enterprises, LLC (Motiva) a total of 26 Shell Oil Company branded gas stations and convenience stores (Shell Locations) located in New Jersey and also acquired 56 wholesale fuel supply agreements. In September 2013, the Company announced that it has completed asset acquisition in the Knoxville, Tennessee region from Rocky Top Markets, LLC and Rocky Top Properties, LLC.

The Company generates cash flows from rental income by collecting rent from lessee dealers and Lehigh Gas-Ohio, LLC (LGO) pursuant to lease agreements. During the year ended December 31, 2011, it distributed approximately 561 million gallons of motor fuels to 570 sites. In addition, it has agreements requiring the operators of these sites to purchase motor fuels from it. As of December 31, 2011, it distributed motor fuels to the classes of businesses, including 185 independent dealers; 181 sites owned or leased by it and that will be operated by LGO following the closing of this offering; 134 sites owned or leased by it and operated by lessee dealers; and 70 sites distributed through six sub-wholesalers. In May 2012, the Company entered into a master lease agreement to lease 120 sites from an affiliate of Getty Realty Corp. Of the 120 sites, 74 are located in Massachus etts, 22 are located in New Hampshire, 15 are located in Pen! nsylvania and nine are located in Maine. The Company is focused on owning and leasing sites located in metropolitan and urban areas. It owns and leases sites located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, Kentucky, New Hampshire and Maine.

Wholesale Motor Fuel Distribution

The Company purchases branded and unbranded motor fuel from integrated oil companies, refiners and unbranded fuel suppliers. It distributes motor fuel to lessee dealers, independent dealers, LGO and sub-wholesalers. The Company is a distributor of brands of motor fuel, as well as unbranded motor fuel. During the year ended December 31, 2011, it distributed approximately 561 million gallons of motor fuel. It distributes motor fuel to lessee dealers and independent dealers under supply agreements. It provides credit terms to its lessee dealers and independent dealers, which are generally one to three days.

The Company distributes motor fuel to sub-w holesalers under supply agreements. Under its supply agreements, it agrees to supply a particular branded motor fuel or unbranded motor fuel to the sub-wholesaler. Motor fuels are sold to the sub-wholesalers at rack plus. It provides credit terms to its sub-wholesalers, which are one to three days. Branded motor fuels are purchased from integrated oil companies and refiners under supply agreements. During the year ended December 31, 2011, its wholesale business purchased approximately 46%, 23%, 22% and 5% of its motor fuel from ExxonMobil, BP Products North America, Inc. (BP), Shell Oil Company (Shell) and Valero respectively.

Real Estate

The Company owns or lease 315 sites located in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts and Kentucky. 186 of the sites it owns fee simple and 107 sites it leases from third-party landlords. Over 90% of its sites are located in metropolitan and urban areas. It derives its rental income from sites it owns or leases. It collects rent from the lessee dealers and! LGO purs! uant to lease agreements it has with the lessee dealers and LGO. All of its 186 owned sites are leased to lessee dealers or LGO. Its leases with the lessee dealers have three year terms. As of December 31, 2011, the average remaining lease term for owned sites it leases to lessee dealers was 1.8 years. As of December 31, 2011, it also leased 98 sites from third-parties and then sub-leased these sites to lessee dealers and LGO. As of December 31, 2011, the average remaining lease term for sites it leases from third-parties was 7.5 years. Its sub-leases with the lessee dealers have three-year terms. The average remaining sub-lease term for sites it sub-lease to lessee dealers is 4.2 years.

The rental income the Company earns from sites it owns or leases include rental income associated with the personal property located on these sites, such as motor fuel pumps. It sells sites, which it owns and then leases the sites back from the buyer. It refers to these transact ions as sale-leasebacks. In these sale-leaseback transactions, it retains the environmental liabilities associated with the site. As of December 11, 2012, the Company leased 22 sale-leaseback sites. As of December 31, 2011, the average remaining lease term of these sale-leaseback sites was 17.5 years. It sub-leases its sale-leaseback sites to lessee dealers and LGO. Its sub-leases with the lessee dealers have three-year terms. As of December 31, 2011, the average remaining sub-lease term for sites it sub-lease to lessee dealers was 2.1 years. As of December 31, 2011, the Company owned 186 sites.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Robert Rapier]

    Non-traditional MLPs like Susser and Lehigh Gas Partners (NYSE: LGP) have risks and opportunities that are different from the midstream mainstream. Such MLPs can provide some diversification from the midstream MLPs that make up the bulk of the space, with less commodity and execution risk than most upstream partnerships. On the other hand, they are unlikely to have the same potential upside and growth opportunities as most midstream names. I might consider Susser as part a broader portfolio of MLPs, but it wouldn’t be a core holding in my own portfolio.