FITCH: TO BUY PEERS
A cyclical downturn in offshore drilling might provide an opportunity for driller contractors having financial flexibility to buy their peers at favorable prices, Fitch Ratings of Chicago said in a recent research note, adding that master limited partnerships (MLPs) in particular can provide financial flexibility.
"Near-term offshore demand has moderated," Fitch said in a recent report, estimating newbuild rigs scheduled for delivery through Dec. 31, 2018, will equal about one third of the working worldwide rig fleet.
"This has led to contracting delays, and it will also probably result in shorter-contract terms and lower dayrates over the near-term," the credit ratings agency said.
Meanwhile, drillers might consider buying assets rather than investing in new rigs as they seek to improve asset quality and gain market share. More consolidation among offshore drilling contractors also could improve pricing power and, if necessary, a more orderly fleet attrition process, Fitch said.
A corporate parent using an affiliated MLP can fund an acquisition through dropdown proceeds. MLPs also can enable contractors to purchase peers directly at tax-advantaged multiples, Fitch said.
"Both options provide further acquisition advantages to corporate drillers with an affiliated MLP. In either case, parent-driller stakeholders would directly (via a corporate acquisition) or indirectly (via an MLP acquisition) improve asset quality and cash flow prospects," Fitch said.
Affiliated MLP stakeholders would realize additional asset and cash flow growth.
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REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were down 72 cents at $61.49 per barrel at 1020 GMT, having fallen by 1.5 percent on Tuesday, its largest one-day drop in a month. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $55.12 per barrel, down 58 cents.
BLOOMBERG - Prices dropped during the session as the International Energy Agency said the recent recovery in oil prices, coupled with milder-than-normal winter weather, is slowing demand growth. The worsening outlook for consumption dampened some of the enthusiasm that OPEC and its allies will extend supply curbs.
Global energy needs rise more slowly than in the past but still expand by 30% between today and 2040. This is the equivalent of adding another China and India to today’s global demand.
Product exports have grown significantly over the past several years and are expected to continue to grow as Russian refineries add capacity to produce more high-quality products.