Recent Posts

What are you doing? Reading transcripts

The two weeks, mid-earnings, when we pull together company results transcript comments, are not a science, they are an impressionistic art; a colour to our themes. Basically these are comments that caught our eye over the past week. Like sellside analysts, the companies tend to all present the same more-or-less generic message, but occasionally, as we strive with Sankey Research, a comment stands out, is differentiated, or so wild that it is worthy of note. […]

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2:25 PM

Morning Take a Sad Song

Tomorrow KelleyKelly Hour: Kathleen Kelley on OPEC. Frank Kelly on Washington DC – lots of action there. View share from clients on results and what they expect next. Tomorrow Thursday 4th August 5pm Eastern. Register for this meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUkc-qvqjgrH9NWL5mVuMMR2AyR3q1cZrtm We increasingly think that we will favour buyback-heavy oils going into the second half, with our year starting, as always, day after Labor Day. What happens next? The Big Oils are all singing from the same […]

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9:23 AM

Chesapeake: On a Mission from God

The concept of this note is “putting the band back together” in the theme of the Blues Brothers, as we see the potential for Chesapeake to merge with Southwestern. The Blues Brothers (1980): Jake: We’re putting the band back together. Mr. Fabulous: Forget it. No way. Elwood: We’re on a mission from God. We could get into a long and tearful reminiscence about US natgas legend and Chesapeake founder Aubrey McClendon (there is a tribute […]

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8:21 AM

Morning E&P Cash Return

As anticipated, we saw strong results and cash return promises from several E&Ps reporting last evening, with capital discipline still a strong feature, alongside re-iterated volume targets (modest growth) and cost control. Impressive stuff. Several names now offer in excess of 10% cash return to shareholders. We believe this is sustainable, in most cases, with some concerns over inventory at Devon, Marathon Oil, and Coterra. Given we do not see any need to grow, but […]

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8:54 AM

May Day Sunday Sankey 5/1/22

Happy May Day Sunday, Today in partnership with Greg Bordelon of Isentropic Capital, we publish a note on natural gas markets by way of thesis overview to a theme that we will continue to pursue. The note is long graphics, and particularly interesting on US markets. If you only want to read half, read the second US half. It is as noted graphic intense. European gas markets are fundamentally far more un-analysable than US right […]

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2:48 PM

Tilting at Windmills

Well, that was quite the Q1 2022! But we got it in the books. I think the low point of Q1 for me was the evening of Thursday 3rd March, shortly after the 24th February Russia-Ukraine invasion, when the largest nuclear plant in Europe, Zaporizhzhia, appeared to be under direct attack and burning, right as I had a one-hour briefing with the State Dept, and my contact told me that surviving a nuclear attack is […]

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11:52 AM

Uzi said then done

We have the perfect guest on Strategy Session tonight at 5pm – Delek CEO Uzi Yemin, a refiner who actively buys oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. One interesting line from regular guest Kathleen Kelley – the expected 1mb/d SPR release announcement strongly implies no Iran deal. Houthi attacks on Saudi – who squarely blame the Iranians for Houthi support – have further reduced the likelihood of a deal. She also states that the move […]

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9:26 AM

Coterra & US E&P: Keep Your Discipline

The attached note started as a focus on Coterra, the $22bn market cap combination of two US E&Ps, Cimarex and Cabot, one oily, the other gassy, that merged and just started trading as $CTRA in late 2021. In the note you will find the rank data: the value destruction for shareholders of the US oil exploration and production (E&P) industry in their giant shale oil science experiment 2010-2019. Line from the note: “from 2006-2019, the […]

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7:58 AM

Sunday Targets

This week, a three page thematic overview, followed by supporting charts. First the text, then the charts. ~ Noted refinery explosion last evening, no deaths reported, at ExxonMobil’s small (“only” 60kb/d) Billings Montana niche refinery that is important for local balances. Would drive margins higher for Midcon players such as HollyFrontier, Coffeyville, Delek, and West Coast PBF, and might accelerate ExxonMobil’s long standing attempts to sell the plant (price always said to be too high). […]

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3:22 PM

Deep Thought

After a very enjoyable Strategy Session with the impressive Kimmeridge Team yesterday, I had a one hour debrief with a Senior US Government Official with long energy experience yesterday evening: Notes from deep Washington source. Watch out for oil exports from Chevron’s Tengiz, reports that 3 cargoes (of 3 tendered) were unsold yesterday. The oil is transported from Kazakhstan across the CPC pipeline in Russia and mixed with Russian crude before loading at a Russian […]

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8:54 AM

Yikes

Huge shock. Particularly to major European clients that had stated their house view: no invasion. Their view was weeks of noise, no invasion. What will happen to this extraordinary chart? We see demand destruction at $120/bbl, and think oil prices will continue to go to that level of demand destruction if US demand remains as strong as it currently is. Lagging US economic strength and upcoming summer speak to ongoing demand strength, even if it […]

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8:18 AM

Friday Highlights

Having featured a fellow independent researcher on Strategy Session last night – Doomberg – today’s note is a highlight reel of other people’s research. But of course first, Friday you demand jokes, and we are not here to disappoint clients. I used to play the triangle in a band, but it’s just one ting after another. I swallowed a dictionary, and now I have thesaurus throat. My boss arrived at work in a new Lambourghini, […]

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8:41 AM

US E&P Q3: The Power to Set Oil Prices

Key points: Clients are focused on OPEC spare capacity and demand growth, but also, rightly, North American supply growth, which is the most price elastic component of global oil supply. Halliburton results yesterday naturally raise questions over US production growth; the company stated that it sees 20% rise next year in North American revenues, which includes “solid pricing gains”. This would imply Halliburton expects US E&P capex to be ~10% higher next year; not a […]

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3:07 PM

Morning Sankey 10/5/21

The headlines from yesterday’s OPEC meeting were “oil jumps to its highest level since 2014”. We finally made it back, and goodness me, it was a long road. Of course, the WTI price we have attained today with a super-bullish backdrop is completely different from what we faced in October/November 2014. At the time, we had peaked at $107/bbl in mid-2014, after a sustained period 2010-2014 when oil traded in a range with $80/bbl as […]

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8:09 AM

Germany & Britain vs the USA

Greetings from London, You live in the UK and have avoided death by COVID? FT: In the UK, 4m households were unable to afford to adequately heat their homes even before the latest energy price crisis. Some 10,000 deaths a year are linked to living in a cold home, according to the charity National Energy Action. If that represents around 100 deaths per day over the average of four winter months, high energy prices are […]

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10:10 AM

London Sankey 9/5/21

Enjoy the last weekend of summer, beautiful day here in London, readying ourselves for next week with a slew of oil corporate oil & energy newsflow in “conference season” starting with this week’s traditional “Lehman Conference”, as we oil old schoolers know it. For my entire career, the Lehman conference has occupied the oil/energy week after Labor Day. Post-Labor Day, for me, as a research analyst, opens the Wall Street year, back when it culminated […]

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12:08 PM

Where did it all go wrong?

With EOG rounding out oils’ earning season after the market yesterday, we had the final disappointment as oil prices test downside support levels breaking $70/bbl (Brent, WTI already broke into the upper $60s.) Expectations of an excess cash return special or splashy buyback announcement by EOG were dashed. Nothing. Just good free cashflow in a $70/bbl+ tape and the promise to pay down more debt by 2023. This is not the first disappointing Q2 earnings, […]

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8:52 AM

Morning Sankey 6/15/21

At the last in-person Shell analyst meeting at the NYSE, I raced the head of upstream in a life-sized side-by-side Pennzoil NASCAR simulator and then moved on to talk to CEO Ben van Buerden. One key message: sell the Permian. My argument was that Shell would never be recognized as a Permian player, would never get credit, even if they out-performed the industry, and valuations were riding high. Shell should be a mega-project player in […]

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8:46 AM

Friday Sankey 6/4/21

I’ve just had my vaccine, but they administered it in my leg. My Pfizer hurting. I got my first shot. I’ll get my second one as soon as I get the bartender’s attention. Why do gay people have parades in June? Because Pride comes before the Fall. What do you call an Englishman at the Euro 2021 soccer final? Referee. Surgeon: “Don’t be nervous Jeff, you should be able to handle this operation easily.” Patient: […]

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8:57 AM

Morning Sankey 6/3/21

Last week, we highlighted Tellurian traction on Reddit Wallstbets. Today, they announced a further deal. Tonight we have Mark Viviano of activist Kimmeridge on Happy Hour (5pm ET) for a general discussion, such as pertains to a 3rd ExxonMobil board seat going to the activist slate (announced yesterday), views on the market dynamics that are occurring thanks to activism, etc. Mark has deep experience as a long-only investor at Wellington management. This is expressly NOT […]

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8:46 AM

Morning Sankey 6/2/21

The ostrich school of analysis would suggest that I resolutely defend my short term bear call on oil and oil stocks made only at lunchtime on Monday, but the fact is that no sooner had I hit send on the email to clients and website post, than the short term thesis caught fire and sank like Iran’s biggest warship just did: June 2, 2021, Associated Press: “The largest warship in the Iranian navy caught fire […]

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8:44 AM

Morning Sankey 5/26/21

Of course one of the most egregious aspects of Oxy’s deal for Anadarko was that a shareholder vote was deliberately avoided by CEO Vicki Hollub. This doubly bad because a preferred $10bn deal with Warren Buffett was the route taken to get a deal cash-rich enough to avoid a shareholder vote. Activist Carl Icahn took revenge by issuing warrants to all shareholders – but not to preferred Buffett – and effectively capped the Oxy share […]

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9:06 AM

Morning Sankey 5/25/21

We have Valero CEO Joe Gorder and team on Happy Hour this Thursday at 5pm. This is great timing, even if any time with Joe is good time spent. It is not so much that Memorial Day is imminent, the traditional start of driving season peak US demand, but also this week might be one of the most significant in the US oil history. We are referring to the release of the Ford F150 Lightning […]

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9:02 AM

Morning Cimarex-Cabot 5/24/21

Cimarex and Cabot to merge as equals, the new company will be called Cimmabon. No, Cabarrot. Only kidding, they have not announced the new name.  Call at 8:30am ET – imminently. Also we mention Tellurian, which is rising in the meme stock world – most mentioned on Reddit (see lists below). Overall, we love LNG plays, but US export competition is fierce, and our key play is Cheniere, $LNG. Years ago under Souki they snagged […]

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8:18 AM

Morning Sankey 5/12/21

*INVITATION * Today * 10am ET * – Happy Coffee with Li-Cycle CEO Ajay Kochhar. Ajay is extremely strong on all things to do with his business, of re-cycling lithium-ion batteries. By extension, he is extremely strong on batteries, EVs, and particularly Li-Ion factories. He is absolutely at ease with battery market dynamics. Join a conversation with Sankey + a few clients. Yesterday the company announced an agreement with Ultium Cells, a joint venture of […]

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9:01 AM

Morning Sankey 3/26/21

My wife and I were sitting in the living room enjoying a bottle of wine. Out of the blue she said, “I love you. ” Surprised, I asked, “Is that you or the wine talking?” “It’s me,” she said, “talking to the wine.” What do you call a rich Centipede? A Dollarpede A mushroom walks into a bar and the bartender welcomes him. He’s a fun guy. A Freudian slip is where you say one […]

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9:05 AM

Morning Oxy

Really strong relative day for oils yesterday, in fact all energy is running as the Biden administration battles its way to the inauguration. I’m driving my son Max to Emory for college on 21th January, through Washington, and one plan was to drop in and see the action on Inauguration Day, a moment in history and all, but DC has been declared a Federal Emergency Zone for the event and we figure that two mysterious […]

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9:00 AM

Election-free Sankey

*** This note is election commentary-free. We got definitive results last night. From Pioneer $PXD, Marathon Oil $MRO, Apache $APA, Energy Transfer $ET, and Delek $DK, boom, boom! Really notable sell-off on solar stocks which came into the past month flaming hot, and have seen major corrections led by Sunrun $RUN – 31% past month, SolarEdge -22% which compounded $RUN’s weakness with a guidance warning this week, and First Solar $FSLR down -15% this past […]

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8:17 AM

Morning Sankey 10/21/20

I am thinking on a long refining short airlines trade. Not least because all my clients are complaining that you cannot make money in the E&P tape. I have a few who say they have been the right side of all four major deals year to date; and barely made money. While you get a 10% pop “this is not why you owned them.” In fact the latest disappointment was definitely Pioneer-Parsley, with an investment […]

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8:39 AM

Pioneer-Parsley & History

Breaking news: WSJ October 18th 2020 Pioneer Natural Resources is in talks to buy Parsley Energy, according to people familiar with the matter, as a wave of consolidation takes hold in the beleaguered oil patch. Word from the oil field is the deal was due to be announced last week and got sidelined by COP-CXO. (Twitter). M&A stories in the WSJ are considered the most reliable of any business new source. Last week they were […]

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8:11 AM

Conoco Poncho

$EOG was the name most speculated about as likely to MAKE a takeover in the wake of the Conoco-Concho story yesterday; the stock that reacted most was $XEC, perceived as the most likely next TAKE over company. Continental CLR is seen as needing to deal, $MRO too, $OVV potentially to offer a blizzard of stock, $FANG and Parsley $PE potentially to join the consolidation fray one way or the other; $CDEV is due to be […]

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9:22 AM

Sunday Sankey 8/9/20

In this week’s edition of the Sunday Sankey we bring you the mega-bear argument for tech (it’s a commodity business), comments on BP’s remarkable transition which coincided with continuing remarkable transition among US E&Ps – mostly. Tomorrow Oxy reports and there is a group that is now in the debt service zombie mode, which will fight to maintain production levels… to pay debt service. But on the positive side, PXD Pioneer took leadership on what Cimarex tagged “Shale 3.0”, see within. We were critical of EOG in this regard in a note published yesterday and linked within. Great stuff on China from Oilx, our favourite oil intelligence consultancy/data provider, and Saudi Arabia cuts production… in Iraq… in Iran? Amazing. Continue reading

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9:51 AM

Morning Sankey 8/6/20

Yesterday ExxonMobil slipped a 20% reserves writedown warning into the 10Q. Didn’t mention it on the earnings call last Friday. Were they assuming nobody reads a 10Q? It was almost as bad as Oxy re-raising executive pay in an 8K last Friday evening after the market closed after a long week of earnings. Continue reading

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8:57 AM
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