The merger between Devon (DVN) and WPX Energy (WPX) offers a marked contrast to Occidental’s (OXY) ill-fated acquisition of Anadarko. Synergies are coming from cost savings not revenue opportunities, a defensive move that will likely spur further consolidation. The annual savings of $575MM will cover the modest 2.6% premium paid by DVN in less than two months. OXY paid a 62% premium 18 months ago.
The new Devon’s dividend policy has been well received – by paying out half the excess Free Cash Flow (FCF) over the current dividend, it allows investors to model different oil price scenarios and their impact on the payout. It’s another acknowledgment that bringing energy back in favor requires greater financial discipline.
A Biden administration has vowed to cease issuing new permits for fracking on Federal land, a policy that would constrain DVN’s Permian output. States benefit from the associated economic activity – the labor involved in drilling, fracking, transportation of water and other inputs to and from the site all create local jobs. In addition, New Mexico for example, where DVN has much of its Permian acreage, receives a 20% royalty. The Biden campaign’s promise to curtail fracking plays well with the base but is unlikely to be popular closer to the regions affected.
Switching gears, society is adjusting to life with Covid, where data continues to show positive trends. New Jersey, population 9 million with the worst fatality rate of any U.S. state, has 421 Covid patients in hospital, down 95% from the peak in April. We spend hours poring over the data, reading and learning about it. As chronicled before, your blogger doesn’t want to get sick and follows mask/hygiene protocols. But we think the market’s rapid recovery reflects the data – vulnerability increases sharply with age and certain risk factors. For the vast majority it’s not fatal.
Anecdotes also inform – here are some of ours:
One good friend at serious risk because of pre-existing health issues endured an extremely mild case of “Covid toes” – chilblains and nothing more. Once it was clear he was not in danger, I applied one of Winston Churchill’s many great quotes to him. “There’s nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at and missed.”
Another friend, in his late 50s and fit with no obvious risk factors, spent four days in hospital on oxygen (but thankfully not on a ventilator). His entire family was infected when their son returned from college. He’s recovered, but doesn’t care to repeat the experience.
The head of Trauma at a local hospital recounted somberly what his life was like in March and April. He’d never seen x-rays and conditions like those that presented. He’s hopeful it’s under control, but also noted that substance abuse is up sharply. Self-quarantines and the stress of financial losses are creating mental health issues.
Another friend recounted how her daughter, at college in Colorado, has endured a series of self-quarantines. As soon as one finished, she was found to have been in contact with another infected person and had to do another two weeks. This has continued for a couple of months, and the daughter is showing signs of mental stress.
My wife is a teacher, and modified in-person classes require wearing a mask all day. Although there’s no evidence than extended mask wearing causes any harm through oxygen deprivation, and it’s routine for health care workers, working with a mask on permanently is a lousy way to spend your day.
Then there’s the older woman in North Carolina who was sufficiently fearful of infection that she insisted her landscapers wear booties over their shoes. She brought home a case of diet coke, and out of an abundance of caution decided to sterilize the cans by placing them in her dishwasher. Well into the dishwasher cycle she was awoken in bed by a series of loud explosions, as the hot water ruptured the soda cans. Convinced her house was under attack, she alerted her neighbors.
Very little attention is being paid to the human and financial costs of mitigation, but we suspect that when a final reckoning is done it’ll be clear that cost-benefit analysis was completely absent.
We are invested in all the components of the American Energy Independence Index via the ETF that seeks to track its performance
The information provided is for informational purposes only and investors should determine for themselves whether a particular service, security or product is suitable for their investment needs. The information contained herein is not complete, may not be current, is subject to change, and is subject to, and qualified in its entirety by, the more complete disclosures, risk factors and other terms that are contained in the disclosure, prospectus, and offering. Certain information herein has been obtained from third party sources and, although believed to be reliable, has not been independently verified and its accuracy or completeness cannot be guaranteed. No representation is made with respect to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of this information. Nothing provided on this site constitutes tax advice. Individuals should seek the advice of their own tax advisor for specific information regarding tax consequences of investments. Investments in securities entail risk and are not suitable for all investors. This site is not a recommendation nor an offer to sell (or solicitation of an offer to buy) securities in the United States or in any other jurisdiction.
References to indexes and benchmarks are hypothetical illustrations of aggregate returns and do not reflect the performance of any actual investment. Investors cannot invest in an index and do not reflect the deduction of the advisor’s fees or other trading expenses. There can be no assurance that current investments will be profitable. Actual realized returns will depend on, among other factors, the value of assets and market conditions at the time of disposition, any related transaction costs, and the timing of the purchase. Indexes and benchmarks may not directly correlate or only partially relate to portfolios managed by SL Advisors as they have different underlying investments and may use different strategies or have different objectives than portfolios managed by SL Advisors (e.g. The Alerian index is a group MLP securities in the oil and gas industries. Portfolios may not include the same investments that are included in the Alerian Index. The S & P Index does not directly relate to investment strategies managed by SL Advisers.)
This site may contain forward-looking statements relating to the objectives, opportunities, and the future performance of the U.S. market generally. Forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of such words as; “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “should,” “planned,” “estimated,” “potential” and other similar terms. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, estimates with respect to financial condition, results of operations, and success or lack of success of any particular investment strategy. All are subject to various factors, including, but not limited to general and local economic conditions, changing levels of competition within certain industries and markets, changes in interest rates, changes in legislation or regulation, and other economic, competitive, governmental, regulatory and technological factors affecting a portfolio’s operations that could cause actual results to differ materially from projected results. Such statements are forward-looking in nature and involves a number of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, and accordingly, actual results may differ materially from those reflected or contemplated in such forward-looking statements. Prospective investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements or examples. None of SL Advisors LLC or any of its affiliates or principals nor any other individual or entity assumes any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, subsequent events or any other circumstances. All statements made herein speak only as of the date that they were made. r
Certain hyperlinks or referenced websites on the Site, if any, are for your convenience and forward you to third parties’ websites, which generally are recognized by their top level domain name. Any descriptions of, references to, or links to other products, publications or services does not constitute an endorsement, authorization, sponsorship by or affiliation with SL Advisors LLC with respect to any linked site or its sponsor, unless expressly stated by SL Advisors LLC. Any such information, products or sites have not necessarily been reviewed by SL Advisors LLC and are provided or maintained by third parties over whom SL Advisors LLC exercise no control. SL Advisors LLC expressly disclaim any responsibility for the content, the accuracy of the information, and/or quality of products or services provided by or advertised on these third-party sites.
All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that any specific investment will be suitable or profitable for a client’s investment portfolio.
Past performance of the American Energy Independence Index is not indicative of future returns.