This year a lot of private investors seem to have been focussing on any stocks even loosely associated with Covid, plus those in the tech sector, and more recently mining has also seen a resurgence, gold in particular, but oil and gas has very much remained unloved and out of favour. That gives you a great opportunity and this is no fisherman’s tale…
Oil prices have taken an absolute battering this week, but I suspect that what we have seen is somewhat of an over-reaction.
Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP) was one of the most hyped up oil companies that I have ever seen during my time in the markets, and although that all ended in tears, I think it could be worth another look now as it has changed a lot since those days.
In the next week we should find out whether or not the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is going to make good on its summer pledges. In August and September it promised to establish a regular payment cycle to the various oil producing companies active in the country for crude exports. Share prices of Gulf Keystone (GKP), Genel (GENL) and Norwegian firm DNO (DNO) leapt on the news. Two months and two payments later, the third should be due on or around 15 November. If Gulf receives another $15million, might this help restore some faith in the company’s future?
At 32p Gulf Keystone (GKP) is worth £313million. This morning, the company announced its updated Competent Persons Report (CPR) for its oil & gas interests in Kurdistan. The numbers are impressive, but the market reaction has been muted, with Gulf now trading flat on the day. When a company increases its 1P Reserves by a better than expected 55% this would normally be cause for celebration, even in today’s oil price environment. However, as we all know, Gulf’s main challenge isn’t getting oil out of the ground. It is ensuring it gets paid.
If there is one topic guaranteed to start a row at ShareProphets HQ it is Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP). We all know who is on which side and so far I’ve been fighting a losing battle. The collapse in the oil price has hurt this company, but possibly not as much as the specific challenges it faces in getting paid for the oil it produces (oh, and let’s not forget the rampaging nutters currently marauding through the region). On Friday, Gulf disappointed the market with news it had suspended oil exports, pending resolution of a “stable payment cycle”. The share price dropped sharply to settle just above the 52-week low, but are things as bad as the market implies?
I just finished speaking with Gulf Keystone (GKP) CEO John Gerstenlauer and he has confirmed that the skilled technicians required to complete the final hook up of Shaikan 10 are flying to Kurdistan from Canada this week. In Mr Gerstenlauer’s words “we are still on track for 40,000bopd by the end of the year”. Hitting this target, by the self-imposed deadline, will be a significant milestone for Gulf. The company has been criticised in the past for slippages. In meeting the 40,000bopd goal this could go a long way to proving to the market that this business is finally on the cusp of fulfilling its vast potential. Mr Gerstenlauer is clearly confident of this being achievable subject to the security situation remaining stable.
So much hype and hysteria surrounds Gulf Keystone (GKP) that determining a valuation can be an unnecessarily emotional affair. I’ve been increasingly bullish on the stock, since the publication of the Competent Persons Report. However, today’s numbers have given me pause for thought. At 77.5p (last seen), Gulf is valued at £688million. For a company which produced 2.2million barrels of oil in the first half, there is no escaping from the high degree of expectation priced into this stock.
As the market works itself up into a lather about the prospect of a bid for Gulf Keystone Petroleum (GKP), the significance of Wednesday’s events appear to have been missed by most shareholders. The headline news was Todd Kozel’s retirement as CEO of the company and his plan to remain as an executive director. The assumption appears to be Mr Kozel will see his wish granted in the vote held on his reappointment, at the AGM on July 17th. I’m not so sure. The departure of three of the four non-executive directors, whom M&G Investment Mgt managed to get appointed to Gulf’s board immediately before the last AGM, surely signals an escalation in the boardroom conflict that has plagued Gulf for too long. And now M&G is no longer playing nice...
A difficult week for Gulf Keystone’s (GKP) shareholders finished off with what looks like a positive production update concerning the company’s prolific Shaikan license in Kurdistan. Yesterday, I spoke with the company to confirm a few facts surrounding the latest RNS. In particular I wanted to seek clarification concerning the issues I raised a month ago about the discrepancy between Gulf’s CPR production target for 2014 and the targets the company has since provided, after a few months of operations. In short there has been a reduction in expectations, but this isn’t necessarily bad news, as I explain below. The main point I took away from my conversation was that the company genuinely believes it is on course to deliver its 40,000bopd production target by the end of this year.
I am trying as hard as I can to be open-minded about the prospects of Gulf Keystone (GKP). Yesterday, Tom penned another bearish piece on Gulf, in response to the morning’s Interim Management Statement. He raised some valid points, but where I felt his analysis fell short was he didn’t take into account what was promised in the recent Competent Persons Report.
Oh dear, oh dear, today’s trading statement from Gulf Keystone (GKP) is a bit of a dog’s doo doo. I fear that the bears will enjoy it and having suggested that the stock might be a trading buy on the basis that grossly overpaid CEO Todd Kozel might be about to get his P45, I now revert to my normal sell stance – so far utterly vindicated with the share price having dived today to 91p.