Energy

5 Permian Basin Oil Stocks to Buy After Huge Oil Sell-Off

If any one area of the United States has become the poster child for the rebirth of the domestic oil production boom, it is probably the Permian Basin located in far West Texas. Abandoned in the early 1980s after years of huge production, new drilling and fracking techniques have found huge reserves of oil and reignited a new boom.

A new research note from the energy team at Credit Suisse points out that oil could trade into the low $80s. While oil companies had become accustomed to $100 plus pricing on West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the top companies in the Permian have the ability to still make money, and they have sold-off dramatically.

Here are five top Permian Basin exploration and production leaders that may be a tremendous buy at current levels for long-term investors looking to add energy exposure to portfolios.

Athlon Energy Inc. (NYSE: ATHL) is an independent exploration and production company focused on the acquisition, development and exploitation of unconventional oil and liquids-rich natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin. The company announced this summer that it had closed all of its previously announced acquisitions in the northern Midland Basin for an aggregate purchase price of $873 million in cash. The company previously disclosed that it had closed on approximately $200 million of the acquisitions this year and may be searching for more.

The Thomson/First Call consensus target is set at $59.17. The stock closed Tuesday at $45.26 a share.

ALSO READ: Oppenheimer’s Top Picks for the Rest of 2014

Concho Resources Inc. (NYSE: CXO) is a top energy play in the Permian Basin in West Texas, which is continuing to explode with production. The company is also mentioned on Wall Street as a possible takeover candidate. Concho completed a successful secondary stock offering back in the summer that raised close to $1 billion. The company is using the net proceeds from the offering to repay the debts under the company’s credit facility, as well as for corporate purposes that includes financing its three-year accelerated growth plan, capital expenditures tied to the recently announced midstream joint venture and potential future asset buys.

The consensus price target is $164.18. Concho shares closed Tuesday at $125.83.

Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG) was a top Permian Basin name to buy at Credit Suisse for this year, and it has been an outstanding performer despite the sell-off. Diamondback has about 85% of its reserves in liquids, with 65% oil and 20% natural gas liquids. This has caused the average well to produce between 80% and 90% liquids, which results in high margins. This is another top name that could be a potential takeover candidate, given its high-quality assets in West Texas.

The consensus price target stands at $109.37. Diamondback ended Tuesday at $72.84.

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE: PXD) is a huge player in the Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford in Texas, and it has been a big winner for shareholders. The company was also one of the firms named by the U.S. Commerce Department to produce and export condensates. Rumors have swirled for some time that one of the big integrateds may target Pioneer as a takeover candidate. It would be a very expensive deal as the company’s market cap is almost $29 billion.

The consensus price target for this top stock is $248.91. Pioneer shares closed Tuesday at $197.36.

Cimarex Energy Co. (NYSE: XEC) is an independent exploration and production company. Its primary focus is in the Mid-Continent and Permian Basin areas of the United States. It aims to increase shareholder value through strategies linked to generating attractive economic returns on capital employed and profitable growth in per-share reserves, production and cash flow. It intends to profitably grow reserves and production through a balanced mix of exploration, exploitation and acquisitions. Cimarex has a diversified base of high-quality production and attractive drilling opportunities, and should be closing on a huge oil and gas asset sale by the end of this month.

Cimarex investors are paid a small 0.5% dividend. The consensus price target is $168.48, and shares closed Tuesday at $127.95.

ALSO READ: 10 Stocks Trading Under $10 With Huge Upside Potential

The more the price of oil declines, the better the Permian production costs look, especially when compared to deepwater drilling. Some of these stocks are down as much as 15% or more from the posted highs this year, and all may be potential takeover candidates.

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