Marathon Oil Company (NYSE:MRO) produces oil, pure fuel liquids and pure fuel within the US and the African nation of Equatorial Guinea. Final 12 months it acquired personal natural-gas targeted Eagle Ford firm Ensign Pure Sources.
Within the US, Marathon Oil is primarily lively within the Bakken (North Dakota) and Eagle Ford (south Texas) with smaller operations within the New Mexico facet of the Permian and Oklahoma.
As before, I don’t advocate Marathon Oil to dividend hunters as a result of its very slender 1.5% dividend. Nevertheless, I’m additionally altering my suggestion for development hunters from “purchase” to “maintain.
The first causes for this alteration are a) not like a few of its rivals, greater than half of the corporate’s manufacturing is lower-valued pure fuel and pure fuel liquids, b) it has leaned additional into pure fuel with the Ensign buy, c) given the acquisition of Ensign at a time of upper pure fuel costs, it’s potential the reserves have been over-valued—definitely buyers ought to anticipate decrease year-end SEC PV-10 fuel reserve values for Marathon Oil, as for different corporations, d) fuel fundamentals are first rate however fuel costs are a 3rd or much less of these a 12 months in the past and regardless of LNG export development seem unlikely to return to common 2022 ranges, e) bigger rivals supply richer returns to shareholders and smaller rivals supply the prospect of higher capital appreciation.
The corporate has dedicated to return not less than 40% of annual working money circulate to buyers when WTI oil costs are $60/bbl or above, which it does primarily by means of share repurchases.
Regardless of related names, Marathon Oil is an upstream oil and fuel firm distinct from Marathon Petroleum Company (MPC), a downstream refiner.
US refinery operable capability is 17.7 million BPD. The US produces 12.7 million BPD of oil domestically. Canada provides the most important proportion of US oil imports.
The Biden administration has drawn the Strategic Petroleum Reserve all the way down to its lowest stage (348.4 million barrels or about 49% of capability) in years. On account of sanctions, Russia has redirected its oil provides from the EU to India and China. Each components, together with provide cuts from OPEC, might proceed to press oil costs upward.
Second Quarter 2023 Outcomes
Within the second quarter of 2023, Marathon Oil reported internet revenue of $287 million, or $0.47/diluted share. Nevertheless, regardless of added Ensign manufacturing volumes, 2Q23 internet revenue of $287 million was a lot decrease than 2Q22 internet revenue of $966 million. For reference, MRO’s 2Q23 fuel worth averaged $1.89/mcf whereas its 2Q22 fuel worth averaged $6.84/MCF, greater than 3x as a lot.
Web working money circulate for 2Q23 was $1.1 billion and free money circulate was $442 million.
The corporate returned $434 million to shareholders in 2Q23, most ($372 million) within the type of share repurchases.
Marathon produced 399,000 internet barrels of oil equal per day (BOE/D); of that, oil was 189,000 internet barrels per day (BPD), or 47%.
The graphs present whole hydrocarbon and oil/condensate manufacturing by area. (A portion of Eagle Ford oil is lighter condensate.)
US Oil and Fuel Costs, and Differentials
The August 18, 2023, oil futures worth was $81.26/barrel for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil delivered in September 2023.
Ahead WTI costs are flat, declining barely by mid-2024.
On August 17, 2023, when WTI was $80.39/barrel, the worth for Louisiana Light Sweet—a proxy for the Eagle Ford price–was $79.60/barrel.
The North Dakota Mild Candy oil worth (Bakken) is usually lower than the WTI worth as a result of variations in transportation and markets. The value for Bakken crude a day earlier—August 16, 2023–was $72.23/barrel.
For the week ending August 11, 2023, US oil production was 12.7 MMBPD. That is solely 0.4 million BPD lower than the highest-ever stage of US oil manufacturing of 13.1 MMBPD in February-March 2020.
For September 2023, Bakken oil is predicted to be 1.2 MMBPD or 9.4% of whole US oil manufacturing. Eagle Ford oil is predicted to be 1.1 MMBPD or 8.7% of whole US manufacturing. In contrast, Permian oil is predicted to be 5.8 MMBPD, or 46% of the overall.
Of this, Marathon’s oil/condensate volumes symbolize 1.4% of whole US oil manufacturing.
August 18, 2023, Henry Hub, Louisiana, pure fuel futures worth for September 2023 supply was $2.57/MMBTU.
Whereas the “free” or “waste” fuel from the Permian is just not ramping up on the identical breakneck tempo as earlier (besides because the Permian matures and will get gassier), it’s value noting proper now US gas supply of 108 BCF/D outweighs demand of 100 BCF/D. Sure, elevated demand for electrical era—each baseload and renewables back-up—helps, as does the prospect of elevated LNG export demand. Nevertheless, anticipate market-starved Appalachian fuel to compete extra closely as soon as Mountain Valley Pipeline is full. Appalachian fuel is 35.7 BCF/D; Permian is 23.7 BCF/D; in contrast, Eagle Ford is 7.5 BCF/D.
Marathon’s fuel manufacturing represents 0.46% of whole US fuel provide.
In its August 8, 2023, Short Term Energy Outlook the Vitality Data Administration (EIA) supplied 5-95 confidence intervals for US oil and fuel futures costs by means of the tip of 2024, proven beneath.
Ensign Pure Sources Acquisition
On November 2, 2022, Marathon announced it was acquiring personal Eagle Ford firm Ensign Pure Sources for $3.0 billion. The transaction closed on the finish of 2022 with an efficient date of October 1, 2022.
Ensign’s manufacturing at the moment was about 67,000 BOE/D whole, together with 22,000 BPD of oil. Marathon additionally acquired 130,000 internet acres (99% operated, 97% working curiosity, 700 wells, 600 undrilled areas) adjoining to its personal acreage within the condensate, moist fuel, and dry fuel section home windows of the Eagle Ford. This acquisition provides Marathon a complete of 290,000 Eagle Ford acres.
Looking back, whereas corporations have been desperate to get fuel for LNG export, the timing given the excessive fuel costs of 2022 might have led to an overvaluation drawback just like (however smaller) than the one ExxonMobil confronted when it acquired XTO.
On December 31, 2022, Marathon’s total proved reserves were 1.34 billion BOE. This divides as 91% US and 9% Equatorial Guinea. Of the overall, 48% was crude oil and condensate.
The SEC PV-10 worth of the reserves was $22.2 billion (in comparison with $12.4 billion for year-end 2021) utilizing the next reference costs:
*WTI oil worth of $93.67/bbl
*Mont Belvieu NGL worth of $36.59/bbl
*Henry Hub pure fuel worth of $6.36/MCF
Solely 2.5% of this reserve worth ($551 million) is attributable to the corporate’s Equatorial Guinea holdings.
Marathon Oil Company is headquartered in Houston, Texas.
Marathon Oil additionally competes with corporations in Oklahoma, within the Permian, and with personal corporations.
Marathon Oil’s largest competitor in Equatorial Guinea is Exxon Mobil.
On August 1, 2023, Institutional Shareholder Providers ranked Marathon Oil’s total governance as a 4, with sub-scores of audit (4), board (5), shareholder rights (5), and compensation (4). On this rating a 1 signifies decrease governance danger and a ten signifies increased governance danger.
Quick shares are 2.1% of floated shares on July 31, 2023. Insiders personal a small 0.4% of excellent inventory.
Marathon Oil’s beta of two.38 represents significantly extra volatility than the general market however is in keeping with cyclic oil and fuel costs.
On June 29, 2023, a lot of Marathon Oil’s inventory was held by establishments, a few of which represents index fund investments that match the general market. The three largest institutional holders of Marathon’s inventory have been Vanguard (12.0%), BlackRock (8.2%), and State Avenue (6.85%).
BlackRock and State Avenue are signatories to the Net Zero Asset Managers Initiative, a bunch that, as of June 30, 2023, manages $59 trillion in property worldwide and which (regardless of disrupted vitality provide as a result of rerouting of Russian vitality exports from Europe to Asia) limits hydrocarbon funding through its dedication to realize internet zero alignment by 2050 or sooner.
Monetary and Inventory Highlights
The corporate’s 52-week worth vary is $20.57-$33.42 per share, so its August 18, 2023, closing worth of $26.39/share is 79% of the 52-week excessive and 82% of the one-year goal of $32.18. Market capitalization is $16.3 billion.
Marathon Oil’s trailing twelve months’ earnings per share (EPS) is $4.14 for a discount worth/earnings ratio of 6.4. The averages of analysts’ 2023 and 2024 EPS estimates are $2.41 and $3.39, respectively, for a ahead price-earnings ratio vary of 7.8-11.0.
Twelve-month returns on property and fairness, whereas each good at 8.3% and 18.0% respectively, aren’t as robust as some rivals.
Trailing twelve-months working money circulate is superb at $4.6 billion and levered free money circulate is sweet at $1.6 billion.
Marathon Oil’s annual dividend is $0.40/share for a yield of 1.5%.
MRO has a share repurchase authorization that helps meet its dedication to return a minimal of 40% of money circulate from operations to fairness buyers when WTI oil costs are $60/bbl or extra.
At June 30, 2023, the corporate had $8.7 billion in liabilities together with $5.7 billion of long-term debt. Marathon Oil had $19.9 billion in property giving it a liability-to-asset ratio of 44%. The debt-to-EBITDA ratio was 1.3.
The corporate’s imply analyst ranking is 2.5: between “purchase” and “maintain”. Not less than one analyst considers the inventory very undervalued.
Notes on Valuation
With an enterprise worth (EV) of $21.4 billion, the EV/EBITDA ratio is a small 4.7, effectively beneath the utmost most well-liked ratio of 10 or much less, suggesting the inventory is a discount.
The corporate’s ebook worth per share of $18.55 is beneath the present market worth, indicating constructive investor sentiment.
Market capitalization per flowing BOE is $40,900 whereas the market cap per flowing barrel of oil is $89,200. This more-than-doubling displays the inclusion of lower-valued pure fuel and pure fuel liquids within the BOE calculation.
Present enterprise worth is $21.4 billion and market capitalization is $16.3 billion. On June 30, 2023, the corporate had property of $19.9 billion and liabilities of $8.7 billion together with $5.7 billion of long-term debt. The corporate’s December 31, 2022, SEC PV-10 asset worth was $22.2 billion.
Optimistic and Destructive Dangers
Potential buyers ought to contemplate their oil and pure fuel worth expectations because the components more than likely to have an effect on Marathon Oil. Whereas the Eagle Ford is prolific and sizable, its reserves are additionally smaller (and extra gas-prone) than these within the Permian. It’s potential Marathon is not going to notice synergies from its Ensign acquisition or might have overpaid for it.
The Bakken Tier 1 oil core is smaller than the Permian.
There’s US political danger because the Biden administration continues anti-US-hydrocarbon insurance policies.
Equatorial Guinea is determined by oil and fuel manufacturing for its GDP and monetary revenues: it and Marathon Oil are incentivized to maintain volumes flowing.
Suggestions for Marathon Oil
I’m altering my suggestion for Marathon Oil from purchase to carry. Its shareholder return program is just not aggressive, and its capital appreciation prospects do not make up for that lack. Whereas all corporations with pure fuel are more likely to see decrease reserve values at year-end 2023 in comparison with year-end 2022, Marathon particularly might have overpaid for its $3 billion gas-focused Ensign acquisition, made throughout a interval of abnormally excessive fuel costs.