Investors are opening their wallets to energy-company equity and debt offerings again. In a 24-hour period in early June, Pennsylvania-based onshore- and unconventional-focused producer Penn Virginia Corp. and Gulf of Mexico-focused Mariner Energy Inc., which has Permian Basin interests too, were each able to increase their $250-million, senior-notes-offering expectations to $300 million when the gates opened. Mariner was also able to increase its 10-million-share offering to 11.5 million.
Meanwhile, Gulf-focused Stone Energy Corp., which also has some interests in the Marcellus shale, was able to sell 7 million shares, up from an initial expectation of placing 6 million.
At press time, onshore-focused EV Energy Partners LP sold 4 million units, up from the initially set 3.5 million, and at a higher price per unit than expected upon the offering’s launch.
Just four weeks earlier, a few producers hit the wrong side of the up-one-week-and-down-another market for energy stocks. Haynesville-focused GMX Resources Inc.’s 5-million-share offering priced at $12 each, raising $60 million. When brought to the table only days earlier, the share price had been $17. It fell to $15 while brokers were opening the phone lines and to $12 at closing, leaving $25 million un-won.
Delta Petroleum Corp. was caught in this dust devil as well. It had already withdrawn a stock offering earlier this year that was to raise some $170 million to right its debt profile, expecting to price some 58 million shares at $3 each, but the stock was already trading at under $2 and fell to under $1 shortly thereafter. Delta withdrew the offering, and its lenders extended a reprieve.
In early May, the stock price was some $2.50, and Delta gave the offering another go. Before pricing, though, shares fell to $1.50. It proceeded, nonetheless, issuing 150 million shares, instead of 70 million, and raising $225 million, with major shareholder Tracinda Corp. buying $90-million worth.
Delta’s is among some stock prices that has swung wildly all year—from being up 24% one week to down 47% another week, and several others. The company appears among the top 5 U.S. E&P stocks for percentage up or down in one week for 11 weeks so far this year—five times for being among most improved; six times for being among most disappointing—according to Oil and Gas Investor This Week’s summary prepared by Tristone Capital.
The up-and-down trend among energy stocks became so transparent that it became easy to predict when stock prices would be up again (next week) and down again (the next). For example, for the week ending May 15, only three U.S. E&P stocks’ prices had improved; all others lost market value, including as much as 33% for onshore -focused Brigham Exploration Co., which has a large Bakken holding.
One week later, most E&P stock prices had improved—as much as 22% for ATP Oil & Gas Corp.
How reticent had capital-raising become since this past summer? The regular “New Financings” feature in Oil and Gas Investor is usually a full page of the largest deals, with these and all others posted in the OilandGasInvestor.com database. In 11 years of preparing the monthly summary, having more than enough deals to fill the page was certain.
By mid-December, when preparing the January issue’s “New Financings,” there were a total of five deals, barely filling a half-page. “We need more deals!” came the call from the graphic-design department. “There are no more deals,” came the answer, which was received by stutters of disbelief and exclamations of shock.
The extreme of that season appears to be past the industry now. Stock prices for most producers found bottom roughly on March 1, and the trend has been steadily upward since. Chesapeake Energy Corp. bottomed at about $11 in December and was $22 at press time. Devon Energy Corp. fell to about $38 in March and was $62. Range Resources Corp. hit its one-year low at about $26 in October and was $46.
Natural gas prices remained below $5 on Nymex, but futures were higher, and several producers were locking in better than $6 in 2010 hedges on some production. Crude oil on Nymex pushed past $70, although some of the price improvement is due to a newly declining U.S. dollar.
Get the capital raises in now.
–Nissa Darbonne (firstname.lastname@example.org), Executive Editor, Oil and Gas Investor, A&D Watch, Oil and Gas Investor This Week, OilandGasInvestor.com Today, OilandGasInvestor.com, A-Dcenter.com, UGcenter.com.
For details on all capital-raises, plus buybacks and redemptions, see the “Recent Financings” database at OilandGasInvestor.com.
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