The 75% increase in the price of oil since the lows that were posted in February has made everybody breathe a little easier. That’s the good news. The bad news, for lack of a better description, is that while it is unlikely we fall back into the $25 or so prices area, we could very well stay in a tight trading range for the rest of the year and beyond.
A new research report from the analysts at RBC notes that while investor sentiment has improved, many of the exploration and production companies that were forced to really tighten their belts want to see a sustained $50 or higher price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude before committing to more activity. For the oil services companies, that could mean continued slow activity.
RBC recommends a barbell approach to investing now, with a stable bucket on one end and a beta bucket on the other. We focused in on the four companies they have placed in their stable bucket. All four are rated Outperform.
This is a high-profile company that often seems to fly under the radar of oil services investors. Core Laboratories N.V. (NYSE: CLB) provides reservoir description, production enhancement and reservoir management services to the oil and gas industry in the United States, Canada and internationally.
The company operates through three segments. The Reservoir Description segment comprises the characterization of petroleum reservoir rock, fluid and gas samples. This segment offers analytical and field services to characterize properties of crude oil and petroleum products to the oil and gas industry.
The Production Enhancement segment includes services and products relating to reservoir well completions, perforations, stimulations and production. It offers integrated services to evaluate the effectiveness of well completions and to develop solutions to enhance the effectiveness of enhanced oil recovery projects.
The Reservoir Management segment combines and integrates information from reservoir description, as well as provides production enhancement services to increase the production and improve recovery of oil and gas from its client’s reservoirs.
Core Laboratories investors are paid a 1.81% dividend. The RBC price target for the stock is $137, and the Thomson/First Call consensus price target is set at $126.58. The stock closed trading on Monday at $121.42 per share.
Shares of this company have ticked higher since the deal with Baker Hughes fell through due to regulators concerns, but they are still down almost 50% from highs printed two years ago. Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) is one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industry. The company serves the upstream oil and gas industry throughout the lifecycle of the reservoir, from locating hydrocarbons and managing geological data to drilling and formation evaluation, well construction and completion, and optimizing production through the life of the field.
The oil field giant announced last year a $1 billion investment to develop huge potential oil fields in Ecuador and it has entered into a long-time deal with Petroamazonas, an Ecuador-based company involved in the exploration and development of the country’s oil reserves. With the price of oil being absolutely demolished over the past year, this top oil service company is a great stock to buy on sale.
Halliburton investors are paid a 1.86% dividend. RBC has a $42 target on the stock, but the consensus target is higher at $45.41. The shares closed Monday at $38.69.