HomeStock MarketWarren Buffett's Oil Investments: Insights Into Berkshire Hathaway's Oil Holdings

Warren Buffett’s Oil Investments: Insights Into Berkshire Hathaway’s Oil Holdings

-


Warren Buffett, a prominent billionaire investor known for his investments through Berkshire Hathaway, holds significant investments in the oil sector, with holdings in Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Occidental Petroleum (OXY).

Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) (BRK.B) owns 126.1 million shares of CVX, valued at $1.5 billion. This ownership stake represents about 6.7% of the company’s outstanding shares.

Berkshire’s purchase of shares in CVX during the fourth quarter of 2023 is seen as a significant endorsement of Chevron’s $53 billion merger with Hess Corporation (HES), announced on October 23. This move is interpreted as a strong vote of confidence for Chevron’s investors and the oil and gas sector as a whole.

Additionally, per Berkshire Hathaway’s February shareholder letter, the multinational investment firm holds a 27.8% stake in OXY and has warrants that could increase its ownership further at a fixed price.

“We particularly like its vast oil and gas holdings in the United States, as well as its leadership in carbon-capture initiatives, though the economic feasibility of this technique has yet to be proven,” Buffett said, “Both of these activities are very much in our country’s interest.”

In November, Occidental Petroleum and BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, announced a joint investment of $550 million in Occidental’s direct air capture plant, Stratos, located in West Texas. The plant is anticipated to commence operations by the middle of the upcoming year.

Direct air capture (DAC) technology differs from traditional carbon capture methods because it extracts carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere instead of capturing emissions at the source, such as at industrial facilities like steel plants.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 27 DAC plants have been commissioned globally to date, with plans for at least 130 DAC facilities in several stages of development. Both Occidental Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM) estimate that DAC could evolve into a multi-trillion-dollar market for oil producers by 2050 as scale brings costs down.

Warren Buffett has expressed admiration for Vicki Hollub, the President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum, who is the first woman to lead a major American oil company. “Under Vicki Hollub’s leadership, Occidental is doing the right things for both its country and its owners,” Buffett stated. “No one knows what oil prices will do over the next month, year, or decade.”

“But Vicki does know how to separate oil from rock, and that’s an uncommon talent, valuable to her shareholders and her country,” he added.

Understanding the Dynamics of the Energy Sector

Also, Berkshire’s investments consider the dynamics of the energy sector, including factors such as supply and demand trends, geopolitical events, and technological advancements. Oil prices climbed above $90 per barrel last week. This surge was attributed to tensions in the Middle East, concerns regarding tightening supply, and optimistic expectations about demand growth amid improving economies.

Brent crude passed around $91 per barrel on Friday, taking its gains for the year to 18%. The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude, closely linked to U.S. gasoline prices, has been even stronger, with 21% gains. Both benchmark crude oil prices settled at their highest levels since October 2023.

The oil market could see prices rise to $100 per barrel, especially if OPEC+ maintains its production cuts and extends them further into the second half of the year. This scenario is supported by expectations of robust demand, particularly in the second half, driven by economic growth and increased consumption.

Vitol’s Muller told on Gulf Intelligence’s Daily Energy Markets podcast that he anticipates a significant uptick in refined product demand globally, at around 2 million barrels per day (bpd) than in the same period last year.

This bullish outlook is echoed by experts like Bob McNally, founder of consultancy Rapidan Energy and a former White House adviser, who told Bloomberg Television in an interview that the market is currently “on firm fundamental footing.”

“I think $100 oil is entirely real — it just requires a little more risk pricing on the true geopolitical risk,” McNally added.

Now, let’s review the fundamentals of CVX and OXY in detail:

Chevron Corporation (CVX)

With a $299.80 billion market cap, CVX engages in integrated energy and chemicals operations internationally. It produces crude oil and natural gas; manufactures transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, and additives; and develops technologies that enhance its business and the industry.

The company also aims to grow its traditional oil and gas business, lower the carbon intensity of its operations, and expand its new lower carbon business in renewable fuels, hydrogen, carbon capture, and other emerging technologies.

On April 4, Chevron New Energies (CNE), a CVX division, announced a lead investment in ION Clean Energy (ION), a Boulder-based tech company that provides post-combustion point-source capture technology through its third-generation ICE-31 liquid amine system. ION raised $45 million in Series A financing led by CNE. 

“We continue to make progress on our goal to deliver the full value chain of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) as a business, and we believe ION is a part of this solution,” said Chris Powers, vice president of CCUS & Emerging with CNE.

Also, on March 19, CNE and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corporation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that offers a framework to evaluate the export of Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) from Japan to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) projects located in Australia and other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

For the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2023, CVX’s total revenues and other income declined 16.5% year-over-year to $47.18 billion. Its total adjusted earnings and adjusted EPS decreased 17.8% and 15.6% over the prior-year quarter to $6.45 billion and $3.5, respectively.

However, the company’s worldwide and U.S. net oil-equivalent production set annual records. Worldwide production increased 4% from a year ago to more than 3.1 barrels of oil-equivalent per day, primarily due to the acquisition of PDC Energy, Inc. (PDC) and growth in the Permian Basin, up 10% from 2022. This was led by 14% growth in the U.S.

Last year, CVX returned more cash to shareholders and produced more oil and gas than any other year in the company’s history. Cash returned to shareholders was nearly $26 billion for the full year, 18% higher than the prior year’s total.

The company’s Board of Directors further declared an 8% increase in the quarterly dividend to $1.63 per share, paid on March 11, 2024, to all holders of common stock, as shown on the transfer records of the corporation at the close of business on February 16, 2024.

CVX’s annual dividend of $6.52 translates to a yield of 4.03% on the current share price. Its four-year average dividend yield is 4.43%. Moreover, the company’s dividend payouts have increased at CAGRs of 6.08% and 6.3% over the past three and five years, respectively.

For 2024, CVX announced an expected organic capital expenditure range of $15.5 to $16.5 billion for consolidated subsidiaries (capex) and an affiliate capital expenditure (affiliate capex) budget of around $3 billion. With the acquisition of PDC Energy, Chevron announced an annual capex guidance range of $14 to $16 billion through 2027.

Following the completion of the Hess acquisition, which is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2024, CVX’s annual capex budget is expected to increase significantly to a range of $19 billion to $22 billion.

Analysts expect CVX’s revenue for the fiscal year (ending December 2024) to increase by 1.8% year-over-year to $204.64 billion. However, the consensus EPS estimate of $12.82 for the current year indicates a decline of 2.4% year-over-year.

Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY)

With a market cap of $60.94 billion, OXY is a global energy company with assets primarily in the U.S., the Middle East, and North Africa. The company is one of the largest oil and gas producers in the U.S., including a leading producer in the Permian and DJ basins and offshore Gulf of Mexico. 

On February 8, OXY’s Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.22 per share on common stock, payable on April 15, 2024, to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 8, 2024. The annual dividend per share has increased to $0.88 from its previous rate of $0.72.

OXY’s annual dividend translates to a yield of 1.27% on the current share price. Its four-year average yield is 3.44%. The company’s dividend payments have grown at a CAGR of 5.7% over the past three years.

On December 11, 2023, OXY entered a purchase agreement to acquire Midland-based oil and gas producer CrownRock L.P., a joint venture of CrownQuest Operating LLC and Lime Rock Partners. This acquisition is anticipated to deliver increased free cash flow on a share basis, including $1 billion in the first year based on $70 per barrel WTI.

The acquisition further complements and strengthens Occidental’s leading Permian portfolio by adding around 170 thousand barrels of oil equivalent per day (Mboed) of high-margin, lower-decline unconventional production in 2024 and approximately 1,700 undeveloped locations. It enhances the company’s resource base and growth potential in the region.

During the fourth quarter that ended December 31, 2023, OXY’s revenues and other income decreased 9.6% year-over-year to $7.53 billion. Its income before income taxes declined 35% from the prior year’s quarter to $1.56 billion. Its non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.74, down 54% year-over-year.

Furthermore, the company’s current liabilities increased to $9.15 billion as of December 31, 2023, compared to $7.76 billion as of December 31, 2022.

Street expects OXY’s revenue and EPS for the first quarter (ending March 2024) to decline 9.4% and 45.8% year-over-year to $6.58 billion and $0.59, respectively. For the fiscal year 2024, the consensus EPS estimate of $3.37 indicates a decrease of 8.9% year-over-year.

However, the company’s revenue for the ongoing year is expected to increase 2.5% year-over-year to $29.63 billion.

Bottom Line

Warren Buffett’s investments in the oil sector through Berkshire Hathaway have garnered attention, particularly with holdings in CVX and OXY. Hathaway’s oil investments are also aligned with the demand-supply dynamics in the energy sector. The recent surge in oil prices, driven by tensions in the Middle East, supply constraints, and an optimistic demand outlook, reflects the evolving landscape that Buffett’s investments navigate.

While rising oil prices, production growth, strategic acquisitions and investments, and continued commitment to rewarding shareholders via dividends make CVX an attractive option for long-term investors seeking growth, the company continues to face several challenges, including commodity price dependence, higher operational costs, and uncertainty in the energy transition.

Chevron’s core business in oil and gas exploration (upstream) makes it susceptible to boom-and-bust cycles in commodity prices. The company’s earnings dropped in 2023 due to lower oil and gas prices and reduced refining profits, highlighting the ongoing challenge of staying profitable amid market changes. Also, analysts have presented a mixed outlook for 2024.

CVX also faces cost headwinds, with its operating expenses trending upward and inflationary pressures threatening to squeeze margins further. Moreover, the global shift toward renewable energy presents a long-term challenge for oil and gas companies. 

Regarding OXY, its investments in low-carbon ventures, strategic acquisitions, and technology advancements present numerous opportunities for growth and industry leadership. However, the company must also tackle challenges related to its reliance on commodity prices, managing operational costs and debt obligations, and navigating global economic uncertainties.

While Occidental’s last reported earnings topped analyst estimates, they dropped compared to year-ago values. Further, analysts appear bearish about the company’s financial performance this year.

Staying profitable in such a volatile environment requires strategic resilience, efficient cost management, and a focus on operational excellence to navigate through boom-and-bust cycles effectively. So, given the mixed performance and outlook for CVX and OXY, investors may consider waiting for a better entry point before investing in these stocks.

While Buffett’s endorsement and long-term investment strategy hold weight, it’s essential to assess the companies’ financial health, growth prospects, and industry trends comprehensively.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

LATEST POSTS

Winklevoss Twins Donate $2 Million in Bitcoin to Donald Trump

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, co-founders of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, have donated 30.94 Bitcoin, valued at over $2 million, to former President Donald Trump's campaign....

Marathon Uses Bitcoin Mining To Heat Town of 11,000 in Finland

Today, Marathon Digital Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: MARA), a leader in Bitcoin mining, has launched an innovative pilot project to recycle heat generated from Bitcoin...

Why Broadcom’s (AVGO) 10-for-1 Stock Split Could Attract a New Wave of Investors

Broadcom Inc. (AVGO), a prominent player in the semiconductor industry, announced a 10-for-1 forward stock split set to take effect on July 15, 2024,...

5 Best Cheap Crypto to Buy Now Under 1 Dollar June 20 – Flow, polygon, Hedera, Gala

Join Our Telegram channel to stay up to date on breaking news coverage The crypto market experienced substantial fluctuations in June due to sentiment surrounding...

Most Popular