Waterfield Midstream Makes a Splash

Blackstone Energy Partners Press Release

We’ve heard this story before.  Substitute TPL and EOG for Waterfield and Anadarko.

Waterfield is led by Co-Chief Executive Officers Scott Mitchell and Mark Cahill, who previously built and led Anadarko’s and Western Gas’s Permian Basin commercial water infrastructure platform.  Since partnering with Blackstone last summer, Waterfield has put together a highly skilled team that brings together upstream and midstream technical expertise with a deep understanding of the subsurface and operating characteristics of the Permian Basin.  This expertise positions Waterfield to provide reliable, turn-key services for its customers.

Waterfield’s progress should be of interest to TPL follows as there are parallels between the two entities.  Waterfield appears to be well capitalized and has a strong management team; looks like prime competition.

MRT: Blackstone bets $500 million on growing full-cycle water management trend

“It used to be (water management) was trucking water to saltwater disposal wells. Then the next generation was to pipe water to SWDs to get trucks off the road and enjoy the economic benefits of pipelines,” said Cahill, an engineer who got his start at Chevron. “I think we’re entering the next phase, where you’ll see subsurface expertise. It’s not just pipes and facilities but knowing where you’re putting the water and how you’re putting the water,”

“The eye-opener for us was when we were talking to other producers and we were talking about our focus on the subsurface, and no one else was looking at the subsurface,” Mitchell said. “That gave them comfort things would be done right. It dawned on us that this is how it will be done.”

He said producers have been reluctant to grant water management to other companies “because it’s so critical and it has to be done right. They know the subsurface, so they’re reluctant to hand it off to someone without that expertise.”

Already, Waterfield has a 15-year contract with Guidon Energy to construct a new system to handle Guidon’s water gathering and disposal needs across its 40,000-acre position in Martin County. That system, which will target deeper disposal zones, is expected to come online by mid-year. Waterfield also has an agreement with EagleClaw Midstream to operate EagleClaw’s Reeves County water assets — 58 miles of gathering lines and 390,000 barrels per day of permitted water disposal capacity.

Those contracts have met the company’s goal of “planting our flag, getting a platform in the Midland Basin and the Delaware Basin,” said Cahill.

15 year contracts are music to my ears.

 

The Gray Lady Speaks

Last year alone, the Permian’s production rose by a million barrels a day, and it could surpass the Ghawar field in Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest, within three years. Now producing four million barrels a day, the Permian generates more oil than any of the 14 members of OPEC except Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

As many as 15 oil and gas pipelines serving the Permian are expected to be completed by the middle of 2020, potentially increasing exports from the Gulf of Mexico fourfold to eight million barrels a day after 2021, according to a recent Morningstar Commodities Research report.

“I will have work here forever,” said Mike Wilkinson, a truck driver who came from Dallas a year ago and moved into a trailer with his teenage daughter. “As hard a place as this is to look at, they are going to need guys like me to move equipment around here for years to come.”

With a major acquisition in New Mexico last year, Exxon Mobil became the most active driller in the basin, and projects that it will increase production fivefold by 2025. Also growing rapidly here, Chevron estimates that one in six of every barrels it produces globally will come from the Permian by 2021.

“For Shell, the Permian is absolutely critical,” said Gretchen Watkins, president of Shell Oil. “The Permian is massive; it’s a game changer for U.S. shale. It is the powerhouse field.”

4Q Margin Compression

rude and crude

Rude and crude analysis warning.  I was looking at 4Q and was thinking that net income looked fairly light relative to revenue so I did a little digging and confirmed my suspicion.

The top analysis attempts to isolate the water business to determine profitability.  We start with net income and add taxes back in to get an EBT.  EBT is then reduced by TPL’s legacy “low expense” businesses (Royalty, Sundry, and Sales) to get towards earnings from the water business.  This new adjusted EBT number is further adjusted by adding back an estimate for the expenses (2x 2016 full year expenses) of the “low expense” businesses.  The result is something that might approximate income generated by the Water business.  Water’s reported top line can be compared to the water income estimate to get a picture of what Water’s expenses and margin look like.

The conclusion is that Water’s expenses were up significantly in 4Q which drove the estimated margin down to ~21%.  Lots of assumptions and brute force in here.  Everything highlighted in green is a custom creation.

The bottom analysis gets to ongoing margins more directly.  Here we compile the revenues from Royalty, Sundry, and Water and compare them to a “non-sale” income number that is generated by adding taxes and proceeds from asset sales back into net income.  Adjusted income / adjusted sales = margin of repeating buiness.  This analysis too points to materially lower margins in 4Q.

Where’s that margin going?

Update:  Quick update 15 minutes after posting.  Please take some time to look at the column all the way to the right.  Margin compression or not, $TPL is on fire.  Oh, and thank you Mr. Taxman.

 

XOM’s Permian Infrastructure Build-out Continues

Exxon Bounces Back as Crude-Oil Production, Refining Surge

Exxon was a latecomer to shale production in the booming Permian Basin, but the company has invested heavily in recent years, including the $6.6 billion purchase of acreage from the Bass family in 2017, and plans announced this week to expand a Texas refinery to use more of the light oil produced nearby.

ExxonMobil to Proceed with New Crude Unit as Part of Beaumont Refinery Expansion

“With access to terminals, railways, pipelines and waterways nearby, the Beaumont refinery is strategically positioned to benefit from Permian production growth,” said Bryan Milton, president of ExxonMobil Fuels and Lubricants Company. “The addition of a third crude unit in Beaumont will enhance the refinery’s competitive position and truly establish it as a leader in the U.S. refining industry.”