Bloomberg’s Matt Levine Covers TPL

When is a shareholder meeting not a shareholder meeting?

But it’s a pretty solid polling result for Oliver, and if TPL ever does get around to holding the shareholder meeting, it seems likely that Oliver will win. So it is not clear what they gain by postponing the meeting and suing. They have a good legal argument that Oliver did not hold a valid meeting or win a valid election, but as a matter of shareholder democracy he seems to have the support of the trust’s investors, so fighting him forever is a bad look. The dissidents’ main complaint about the current board is that its governance isn’t great and it isn’t responsive to shareholders. When the board cancels and ignores a shareholder vote, that kind of makes Oliver’s point for him.

On the other hand, it’s not all that clear what Oliver would gain by winning. He’d only get one of three seats. On May 8, TPL’s two trustees sent some of the dissident shareholders an email (which was marked “privilege/confidential,” and which the dissidents promptly published, heh) saying “even if you’d prevail in the election contest, you could not achieve any of your ultimate goals without our cooperation until another vacancy opens up (and it may be another decade until that happens).” Not wrong! Perhaps the upshot here is that Oliver will be elected and will just show up to meetings to annoy the other trustees until one of them dies. It could take a while.

One of three seats and a big shining spot light.

Disdain for Shareholders Abounds

Matt Levine at Bloomberg: Carl Icahn Wants an Oxydarko Vote

Without Buffett’s money, Occidental would need to issue a lot of stock to buy Anadarko, triggering a shareholder vote under New York Stock Exchange rules; Buffett’s money, though, replaces some of the stock and allows Occidental to sneak in under the voting threshold. “This is … awkward,” I once wrote; structuring the deal to avoid a shareholder vote seemed to me like “a confession that (1) your shareholders don’t like the deal and (2) you don’t care.”

Permian’s RSG

Bloomberg: ‘Really Smart Guys’ Push to Make Biggest Oilfield Even Bigger

While the U.S. shale revolution has boosted American oil production to a record, it’s also leaving lots of crude in the ground. At best, fracked wells only recover about a 10th of what the industry calls the oil-in-place.

“We are trying to be very conservative, but certainly we believe that we can improve from 10-11 percent to 17-18 percent,” Occidental Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub said in an interview in Houston. “It’s a lot. When you consider the scale of the Permian basin, to do that will be amazing.”

Permian Conditions

Bloomberg: Shale Suffers Growing Pains That Could Slow U.S. Oil Production

Appears as if some of the first movers overplayed their hand a bit.

“Is there a parent-child relationship? Absolutely. Has it been there since time immemorial? Absolutely,” Diamondback Energy Inc. CEO Travis Stice said at the conference. “It’s our responsibility to account for the economics of the degradation between a parent and child well, and it’s our responsibility to dial that into our forecast.”

Stice said Diamondback hasn’t had to cut back its activity in response to those issues, like some of its peers who have had to widen spacing after production failed to live up to expectations.

“I think what you’re seeing is reserve reports coming out at the end of last year with a lot of negative performance revisions in there,” he said. “That’s really the first tell as an industry that you’ve overcapitalized your assets.”

RNB Energy: Negative Permian Gas Prices, But Is The Worse Yet To Come?

Bottlenecks persist.

Well, more than one maintenance event appears to have coincided with the cratering prices, so we’ll start with those. On March 18, the same day that negative prices emerged yet again, Kinder Morgan’s El Paso Natural Gas (EPNG) pipeline announced a force majeure that reduced capacity by about 200 MMcf/d on its Line 2000, which flows west out of the Permian. While this event was widely cited as a culprit, our analysis of flow data indicates that the gas previously flowing on Line 2000 has been largely re-routed to EPNG’s other two legs that flow west: Line 1600 and Line 1100. Re-routing gas sometimes requires producers to acquire additional transportation capacity to move their gas, which can mean that supply prices have to be bid lower to cover the additional cost of transport.

Chron: Pipeline additions boost Permian Basin prices

Two side to every story.

An extension to the Sunrise Pipeline added an estimated 120,000 barrels per of takeaway capacity from the Permian region earlier this year, boosting pipeline capacity to Cushing, the EIA said. Another pipeline delivering natural gas liquids from the Permian to the Gulf Coast, the Seminole-Red pipeline, was repurposed to deliver crude oil. Seminole-Red is expected to be fully operational by April, adding an estimated 200,000 barrels a day of takeaway capacity.

Although Permian production is expected to grow, the additional pipelines will prevent Permian prices from falling to the same steep discounts that occurred in second and third quarters of 2018, the EIA said.

 

Bloomberg Writes Again

Bloomberg: Texas Land Bank Draws Investor Ire After CEO Pay Rises 10-Fold

Looks like this is a terminal only article right now so I won’t do my normal block quotation routine.

It is notable that Eric Marshall at Hodges commented in the article about executive comp as being “surprising.”  That’s another large holder that isn’t pleased.

Tim Schwartz commented that he is in the corner of HK management and will go with company’s proposed plan at the meeting in May.

Activist?

Bloomberg: Hedge Fund Challenges $6 Billion Texas Land Bank in Activist Play

Not sure I’d qualify a party that 1) has a 20yr+ history with a stock and 2) controls ~25% of the float as an “activist”.  Term seems too strong.  The rest of the article linked above is a good recap of what we’ve seen play out in recent SEC filings.

Horizon Kinetics LLC, which owns a 23 percent stake, has urged the trust to modernize its structure and appoint Eric L. Oliver after the previous trustee stepped down due to ill health. Texas Pacific said March 4 that its trustees nominated Preston Young for the position.

Chief Executive Officer Tyler Glover, in an email Monday, defended the company, pointing to a more than 40 percent increase in its stock price in the last year. He called it an “impressive market performance” he credited to “active management of our expansive asset base and other steps taken to position the Trust for continued growth.”

In its filing, Horizon Kinetics wrote that it wants to make Texas Pacific a Delaware corporation “subject to modern governance principles” and better develop a division that supplies the oil fields with water, it said.

Oliver, Horizon’s choice as a trustee, is one of the shareholders who signed the cooperation agreement through his SoftVest Advisors LLC, as is financier Allan R. Tessler, who owns stock through several entities. Horizon also wants management to provide more information to shareholders such as drilling updates, water production and engineering reports.

The fund “believes that the Trust should be more transparent and frequent on its updates to holders of securities,” it said in the filing. A Horizon spokesman declined to comment beyond the filing.