Middle East instability has long been the geopolitical trigger for oil pricing. As tensions continue to rise in Egypt, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) has soared over the $103 level and the price spread to Brent is the narrowest in years. The oil services analysts at Cowen Group conducted an exploration and production spending (E&P) survey recently and results suggest international spending is set to grow 9% this year, up from their 8% target in January. This compares with a negative 2.5% in North America. Their call out yesterday is to focus on the stocks that will benefit the most from the increase in international spending and have the greatest deepwater exposure. Here are the top oil service stocks to buy according to Cowen.
Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) has tremendous global exposure. Schlumberger has just acquired a Canadian company that provides geochemical and fluid analysis to oil sands producers. The Thomson/First Call price target for the services giant is $91. Investors are paid a 1.7% dividend.
Weatherford International Ltd. (NYSE: WFT) has seen earnings per share drop and may very well be close to a value play. The company provides equipment and services used in the drilling, evaluation, completion, production and intervention of oil and natural gas wells worldwide. The consensus price target for the stock is $15.50.
FMC Technologies Inc. (NYSE: FTI) recently won a $500 million order from Petrobras, or Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. (NYSE: PBR). FMC Technologies will supply 49 subsea trees, tooling and related subsea controls for the development of pre-salt fields based off the coast of Brazil. The company has planned to design and manufacture the tools at its Brazilian facilities. The consensus price objective for the stock sits at $58.
Oceaneering International Inc. (NYSE: OII) hit a new 52-week high yesterday. The company has a fleet of deep-sea robot submarines that tend to stay busy regardless of oil prices. The consensus price target for the stock is $75. Investors are paid a 1.1% dividend.
Cameron International Corp. (NYSE: CAM) just received regulatory approval for a joint venture with Schlumberger called OneSubsea to capitalize on the demand for deepwater drilling. The main goal is to integrate advanced reservoir knowledge as well as wellbore expertise with industry leading subsea capabilities to provide superior yield, efficiency and stability throughout the life of the field. The consensus price target for the stock is $75.
Noble Corp. (NYSE: NE) is in the process of moving its headquarters to London. It is anticipated that the move will cut the company’s tax bill in half. The offshore oil rig contractor may add as much as $0.10 per share in earnings if shareholders approve the move. The consensus price objective for the stock is $45, and investors receive a 1.3% dividend.
Bristow Group Inc. (NYSE: BRS) is the last top name on the list to buy at Cowen Group. The company is the largest global provider of helicopter services to the offshore energy industry, has relatively stable revenue streams with a significant majority of revenue from the production segment and a favorable two-tier contact structure comprised of a large fixed-fee component independent of utilization. The consensus target for the stock price is $75, and investors receive a 1.5% dividend.
The Cowen Group oil services analyst thinks that natural gas pricing has to be at or above $4.50 for companies to significantly expand their North American drilling operations. You can bet that, with prices at the highest levels in 15 months, the major exploration and production firms will want to make hay while the proverbial sun shines.