Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) is holding the company's annual meeting for institutional investors in early April 2012, providing the company an excellent opportunity to update investors and shareholders on recent activity. Here are several items and issues that the company should discuss in detail next week. (To know more about oil and gas, read Oil And Gas Industry Primer.)
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Devon Energy has a New Ventures portfolio that encompasses five emerging onshore areas in the United States. These plays are spread across the country and include the Mississippian in Oklahoma and Kansas, the Niobrara in Colorado, the Utica Shale in Ohio, the Tuscaloosa in Louisiana and Mississippi, and the A-1 Carbonate play in Michigan.
Devon Energy has 1.4 million acres in these five plays, and plans to spend $450 million in gross capital here in 2012. Despite the size of these emerging plays, the company has detailed very little information on the potential or recent results of wells drilled into these plays.
These plays have significant potential and have attracted the attention of many large international oil and gas companies. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (NYSE:SNP) recently acquired a 33% interest in Devon Energy's New Ventures portfolio for $2.5 billion.
Devon Energy initiated a restructuring in late 2010 that involved the divestiture of the company's international and offshore oil and gas properties. The restructuring is nearly complete and has yielded net proceeds after tax of approximately $8 billion for the company.
Although Devon Energy used some of this excess cash to repurchase stock and boost its dividend, the company ended 2011 with $7.1 billion in cash and short-term investments.
I will grant you that Devon Energy is no Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) or Google (Nasdaq:GOOG), which have $97.6 billion and $44.6 billion in cash and investments, respectively.
However, Devon Energy seems to have too much cash to hold on its balance sheet, given the size of the company. The company may want to give a little insight on plans for this cash hoard.
Natural Gas Armageddon
Natural gas prices are currently at the lowest levels in a decade and the management of Devon Energy should give a detailed macro view on the natural gas markets. This is particularly important now, since some market pundits are discussing the possibility of natural gas storage becoming full later in the year.
The Bottom Line
Devon Energy will use an upcoming investor meeting to flesh out its operations and strategy for the investment community. Investors should look for more information on the above issues from management. (For additional reading, check out A Guide To Investing In Oil Markets.)
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At the time of writing, Eric Fox did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.