As long as raw energy resource prices remain lackluster, the upstream divisions of the major energy giants will continue to generate far less cash flows than they did during the boom period (2010-2014). For Chevron, Shell, Total, and Exxon Mobil, their downstream operations offer a degree of stability but their large net debt positions and hefty capital expenditure budgets will continue to pressure their financials for some time. While Conoco doesn’t possess downstream operations anymore after the split with Phillips 66 in 2012, management’s focus on net debt reduction and free cash flows post-2014 puts COP in a better position than most of these bigger integrated peers (particularly CVX, RDS and XOM). That being said, we don’t include Conoco in any of our newsletter portfolios in part due to its lack of a “natural hedge” (downstream operations) and its direct exposure to raw energy resource prices. BP plc continues to represent one of our favorite plays in the energy space and shares of BP are included in our simulated High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio. We like BP’s cash flow profile, its stellar operational execution of late (upstream projects are consistently getting turned online under-budget and ahead of schedule), and its impressive downstream asset base. Members interested in reading more about why we like BP should check out this piece here, and if you may wish to add the High Yield Dividend Newsletter to your membership, please click here. Shares of BP yield 6.3% as of this writing and our fair value estimate of $45 per share of BP is comfortably above where shares are currently trading at.
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