Diamondback Energy, Inc. (FANG - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter adjusted net income per share of $1.21, below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.62 and the comparable 2017 period profit of $1.56 on lower realized prices. Shares were down around 2.3% in after-hours trading.
The Permian pure play’s total revenues of $633.1 million came below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $663 million but increased 58.6% year over year on strong production.
The company saw its fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA of $456.4 million increase 51.2% from $301.9 million a year ago.
Production & Realized Prices
The production of oil and natural gas averaged 182.8 thousand barrels of oil-equivalent per day or MBOE/d (71% oil), up 96.8% from last year and ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 171.5 MBOE/d. Diamondback’s oil production increased 88.6% year over year, while natural gas volumes more than doubled. The 2018 purchases of Energen Corporation and Ajax Resources has transformed Diamondback into one of the leading Permian Basin oil producers.
The average realized crude oil price during the fourth quarter was $45.51 per barrel, representing a decrease of 15% from the year-ago realization of $53.59. Moreover, the average realized natural gas price during the December quarter of 2018 was $1.62 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf), down 32.5% from the year-ago period. Overall, the company fetched $37.01 per barrel compared with $45.31 a year ago.
Fourth-quarter cash operating cost was $8.1 per barrel of oil equivalent (BOE), down from $8.28 per BOE in last year’s corresponding period. Diamondback’s lease operating expense and cash G&A expense came in at $4.51 and 67 cents, respectively, increasing from $4.50 and 59 cents incurred in the fourth quarter of 2017. Meanwhile, production taxes fell 14.2% to $2.36 per BOE. The company, which closed the previously announced acquisition of Energen Corporation during the quarter, shelled out $424 million on drilling, completion and non-operated properties, while infrastructure and midstream budget was $101 million.
As of Dec 31, 2018, the Permian-focused operator had $215 million in cash and cash equivalents, while having total debt of $4.5 billion. At the end of 2018, Diamondback, which also has other oil and gas-related operations through Viper Energy Partners L.P. (VNOM - Free Report) , had $2.7 billion undrawn credit facility.
But Diamondback – that generated $12 million in free cash flow during the first three quarters of 2018 – admitted its failure to keep spending within cash flows in the fourth quarter. This was mainly on account of the dramatic decline in oil prices at the end of 2018, coupled with merger-associated costs.
Proved Reserves Update
Diamondback reported year-end 2018 proved oil and natural gas reserves rose 196% year over year to 992,001 thousand barrels of oil-equivalent (MBOE) - 63% oil, 65% proved developed.
The company updated 2019 guidance and looks for production growth of more than 27% during the year. Diamondback is forecasting full-year output range of 275-290 MBOE/d, of which 68-70% is oil. While the company trimmed its 2019 capital spending outlook to $2.7–$3 billion from $2.7–$3.1 billion earlier, the estimated figure is significantly higher than the previous year’s outlay of $1.7 billion. Further, management cautioned that realized prices in the first quarter of 2019 will be weak.
Zacks Rank & Stock Picks
Diamondback Energy currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked players in the energy space are Enbridge Inc. (ENB - Free Report) and NuStar Energy L.P. (NS - Free Report) . Both have Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
(You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.)
Enbridge’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters, the average positive surprise being 31.8%.
The 2019 Zacks Consensus Estimate for NuStar is $1.10, representing 64.2% earnings per unit growth over 2018. Next year’s average forecast is $1.32 pointing to another 20.3% growth.
Zacks' Top 10 Stocks for 2019
In addition to the stocks discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 finest buy-and-holds for the year?
Who wouldn't? Our annual Top 10s have beaten the market with amazing regularity. In 2018, while the market dropped -5.2%, the portfolio scored well into double-digits overall with individual stocks rising as high as +61.5%. And from 2012-2017, while the market boomed +126.3, Zacks' Top 10s reached an even more sensational +181.9%.
See Latest Stocks Today >>