Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. (HLX) is turning into a takeover target after streamlining the company to focus on its expanding operations for offshore oil-well support.
The Houston-based company agreed last month to sell its oil-and-gas unit and earlier exited a pipe-laying business, helping Helix reduce debt and center its operations on deepwater vessels and robotics for well maintenance. The divestments make the $2.2 billion company more appealing to a potential suitor such as Aker Solutions ASA (AKSO) or Technip SA (TEC) that may want to expand in marine contracting, said Capital One Financial Corp.
Helix also may attract other oilfield-services providers, according to Stephens Inc., while Iberia Capital Partners LLC says a rig owner such as Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc. (DO) could be interested. Even after Helix’s moves led to a 31 percent gain in 2012 that beat U.S. energy equipment and services stocks, the company trades at a 23 percent discount to its closest competitor Oceaneering International Inc. based on this year’s estimated earnings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“It’s a cleaned-up company,” Trey Stolz, an analyst at Iberia Capital in New Orleans, said in a telephone interview. “Helix would be attractive as an add-on for existing offshore service providers to immediately get a head start on the well intervention side. It’s the next step forward in further specialization of the offshore equipment.”
Terrence Jamerson, director of investor relations at Helix, didn’t return phone or e-mail messages seeking comment.
Helix, which traces its roots to a group of oilfield divers in the 1960s, evolved into an offshore energy company with operations spanning deepwater construction, oil-and-gas production and well maintenance and repair.
The company in October said it sold off its pipe-laying vessels and in December announced that it had agreed to sell its oil-and-gas unit as part of a plan to shift its focus toward so- called well-intervention services. This business, which encompasses undersea well maintenance, salvage and repair using floating vessels and robotics, is more profitable than pipe- laying while requiring less capital outlays than are needed for exploration and production, Chief Financial Officer Anthony Tripodo told investors during a presentation in November.
The asset sales spurred gains in Helix shares that contributed to the biggest advance last year among the 11 members in the Standard & Poor’s Midcap Energy Equipment & Services Index. The stock closed yesterday at $20.86.
By helping to center Helix’s operations on a single, growing business, the disposals also have bolstered the company’s allure as a potential takeover target, said David Streit, an Appleton, Wisconsin-based equity analyst at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. The firm oversees about $76 billion in assets, including Helix shares.
“This focuses the company and provides potential acquirers with a much more focused and simpler package of assets,” Streit said in a phone interview. The sale of the oil-and-gas unit “removed the last major impediment to an acquisition. The balance sheet will be net cash positive after the divestiture of the business is complete. And beyond that it’s a very straightforward and clean business.”
Including its current net debt of $589 million, Helix’s enterprise value as of yesterday was 6.64 times its 2013 estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The multiple for its Houston-based rival Oceaneering International (OII) was higher at 8.64 times this year’s estimated Ebitda, the data show.
“It’s trading at a multiple out of whack with other offshore asset-based service companies,” Iberia Capital’s Stolz said.
In its streamlined form, Helix may appeal to some contractors already operating in deepwater oil fields, Stolz said. The addition would give them a leg up as demand grows for well-intervention services, which use equipment sent down from vessels on the water’s surface to tap into aging wells on the sea floor and boost production.
Well-intervention vessels are in demand because they’re a cheaper alternative to drilling rigs, which have long been the standard and are now able to charge near-record leasing rates due to higher oil prices, Stolz said. The market for well intervention could experience growth similar to the past five years, when the number of aging wells nearly doubled to 3,500, he said.
Aker Solutions, a Lysaker, Norway-based oil-services company with well-intervention operations, could be a potential suitor for Helix, said Joseph Gibney, a Houston-based analyst with Capital One. The $5.8 billion company has a fleet of three deepwater well-intervention vessels, according to its website.
Paris-based Technip, with a market value of $13 billion, also could be a logical buyer because of its experience working in deep waters offering construction and engineering services for oil fields, Gibney said.
Ivar Simensen, a spokesman at Aker Solutions, declined to comment on whether the company is interested in Helix. Christophe Belorgeot, a spokesman for Technip, didn’t respond to an e-mailed request for comment.
Other oilfield-services companies may want to buy Helix to augment their businesses and gain technical expertise, said Michael Marino, an analyst at Stephens Inc. in Houston. Rig contractors such as Diamond Offshore may be interested in Helix as a way to recapture some of the work lost to lower-priced well-intervention vessels, Gibney and Stolz said.
Darren Daugherty, a spokesman for Diamond Offshore, declined to comment on whether the company is interested in Helix.
With Helix now focused on well intervention, the company could look to stay independent or even seek out acquisitions itself, said Todd Smurl, president and chief investment officer of Houston-based Ascendant Advisors.
“It might put them in play down the road but now they might actually be strong enough to be an acquirer as opposed to being acquired,” Smurl said in a phone interview. What’s more, after the stock rose 19 percent in the past month alone, “it’s not the screaming bargain it was,” he said.
Still, Stephens’s Marino estimates the company could fetch $25 in a takeover, a 20 percent premium to yesterday’s close.
“A takeout at those levels doesn’t seem crazy,” said Marino, who recommended that investors buy the stock after Helix announced plans to sell its oil-and-gas unit. “It makes a lot of sense for someone who wants to increase their presence internationally and offshore.”
- USA: Helix Marks Strong Market Demand for Deepwater Well Intervention Services (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Helix Reports Oil Discovery at Wang Well in U.S. Gulf (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Helix Energy Solutions Group Sells Offshore Production Business for $610 Million (gcaptain.com)
- Helix Updates Well Intervention Fleet Backlog (dailyfinance.com)
- Helix disposals create deep-water operator takeover bait (fuelfix.com)
Oceaneering International, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a five-year charter for use of the Cade Candies, a multi-service subsea support vessel owned by Otto Candies LLC. The charter is expected to commence during the second quarter of 2013.
This state-of-the-art, U.S. flagged vessel was built in 2010. It has an overall length of approximately 309 feet (94 meters), a Class 2 dynamic positioning system, accommodations for 69 personnel, a helideck, a 150-ton active heave compensated crane, and a working moonpool.
Oceaneering’s current rolling, short-term charter contract on the Cade Candies, in place since November 2011, will continue through early 2013. At that time, the vessel will enter a shipyard to undergo modifications to enhance its project capabilities. While in the shipyard, Oceaneering’s two, high-specification, work class ROVs onboard the vessel will be repositioned and fully integrated into the vessel for more effective operations. The vessel will also be equipped with a satellite communications system capable of transmitting streaming video for real-time work observation by shore personnel.
To be renamed the Ocean Alliance, the vessel will be used to augment Oceaneering’s ability to provide subsea intervention services in the ultra-deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM). These services are required to perform inspection, maintenance, and repair (IMR) projects and hardware installations. IMR projects are expected to include chemical well stimulation and hydrate remediation. Hardware installations are expected to include umbilicals, subsea trees, flowline jumpers, flying leads, and manifolds.
M. Kevin McEvoy, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are very pleased to have added, on a long-term basis, this modern, high-end, Jones Act-compliant vessel to our suite of assets to enhance our capabilities to serve our customers in the deepwater GOM. This charter demonstrates our belief the GOM deepwater subsea intervention market has a promising and sustainable future.”
- USA: Oceaneering Charters IMR ‘Cade Candies’ Vessel (worldmaritimenews.com)
- Oceaneering International Secures Cade Candies in Five Year Deal (gcaptain.com)
|This week the SubseaIQ team added 4 new projects and updated 22 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field development news and activities are listed below for your convenience.|
- Recap: Worldwide Field Development News (Mar 30 – Apr 5, 2012) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Apache Hires Drillship for Ops Offshore Kenya (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Brazil: Oil Leak Found at Petrobras’ Roncador Field (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Recap: Worldwide Field Development News (Mar 23 – Mar 29, 2012) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Recap: Worldwide Field Development News (Mar 16 – Mar 22, 2012) (mb50.wordpress.com)
Oceaneering International, Inc. announced that it has secured a three-year Field Support Vessel Services contract from BP p.l.c. Oceaneering will provide project management, engineering, and vessel services offshore Angola on Blocks 18 and 31, commencing February 1, 2012. The contract provides for two option periods of one year each, exercisable by BP.
Two chartered vessels, the Ocean Intervention III and the Bourbon Oceanteam 101, will be supplied under the contract. Each vessel will be outfitted with two Oceaneering work class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) capable of working in 3,000 meters of water. Oceaneering will mobilize its chartered vessel, the Ocean Intervention III, from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to Angola commencing in early January 2012. The contract scope of work includes light subsea construction, inspection, maintenance, and repair services on existing and future subsea infrastructure. The contract has a provision for Oceaneering to provide, at BP’s option, a third vessel after the commencement date.
M. Kevin McEvoy, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are pleased to have secured this contract with BP, one of our largest customers. This project builds on our well-established deepwater vessel project capabilities in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and represents a significant geographic expansion with considerable backlog for our Subsea Projects business. It further reinforces our long-term commitment to Angola, which is a growing market for Oceaneering’s services and products.
BP’s involvement with Angola goes back to the mid 1970s. During the 1990s, BP made very substantial investments in Angola’s offshore oil, and it is now an important part of the company’s upstream portfolio. The UK based oil giant on Tuesday confirmed that it has gained access to five more deepwater exploration and production blocks offshore Angola.
- USA: EMAS Wins Gulf of Mexico Subsea Contract from BP (mb50.wordpress.com)
- USA: BP Sells Stake in Pompano and Mica Offshore Fields to Stone Energy (mb50.wordpress.com)
- USA: The Bedford Report Releases Equity Research on BP and ATP Oil & Gas (mb50.wordpress.com)
Located at Alaminos Canyon Block 857 approximately 220 miles (354 kilometers) from Galveston, Texas in the Gulf of Mexico, is Perdido, an oil and gas spar production facility. Shell, 35% shareholder and operator, along with BP, 27.5%, and Chevron, 37.5%, are developing the regional host facility.
Since the project began, multiple world records were made in the offshore industry. Perdido is the deepest oil development, the deepest drilling and production platform, and will produce from the deepest subsea well in the world.
The hub produces from three fields: Great White, Silvertip and Tobago. The fields are situated on the Perdido fold belt, offshore in the deep northwestern section of the Alaminos Canyon outer continental shelf area. The fold belt region is in water depths ranging from 7,546 to 9,843 feet (2,300 to 3,000 meters), which are considered some of the deepest waters in the gulf.
In order to develop the wells in ultra deep depths, and reduce costs, the companies decided to use a common processing hub, Perdido. The spar incorporates drilling and capabilities to gather, process and export production within a 30-mile (48-kilometer) radius.
Development drilling of the fields commenced in July 2007 and was performed by the Noble Clyde Boudreaux semisubmersible-drilling rig. Shell set a world record in December 2008 for the deepest completed offshore production well, at about 2,852 meters (9,356 feet) below the water’s surface. Even though the first of the three fields, Great White, was discovered in 2002, the companies agreed to move forward with development in 2007.
Great White is located on Alaminos Canyon Block 857 in a water depth of 8,000 feet (2,438 meters), and is owned and operated by Shell, 33.34%, while Chevron and BP each hold a 33.3% interest.
Discovered in May 2002 by the Deepwater Nautilus semisub, the discovery well was drilled to a true vertical depth of 19,907 feet (6,068 meters). Then in 2004, an appraisal well was drilled to a true vertical depth of 15,035 feet (4,586 meters). Shell drilled a total of five wells at Great White, spudding the fifth well in March 2004.
Silvertip is located in Alaminos Canyon Block 815 and is 60% owned by Chevron, while operator Shell owns the remaining 40% interest. The field was discovered in August 2004 in 9,200 feet of water (2,804 meters) and drilling reached a total depth of 14,778 feet (4,504 meters).
Considered the world’s deepest subsea completion to date, Tobago is located in Alaminos Canyon Block 859 in 9,600 feet (2,926 meters) of water, which surpassed the previous record set by Silvertip. Shell, the operator, owns 32.5%, along with its co-owner Chevron, 57.5%, and Nexen, 10%. In 2004, the well was drilled to a total depth of 18,510 feet (5,642 meters), and then a sidetrack well was drilled to 18,425 feet (5,616 meters).
Because the field’s water depths are greater than previously encountered anywhere in the world, and the need to drill multiple wells from several fields to reduce cost and environmental impact, the companies decided to use a 555-foot (169-meter) spar instead of a typical tension leg platform. The cylinder spar is a partially submerged offshore drilling and production platform that is particularly adapted to ultra-deepwater and fierce hurricane weather.
Once the facility was chosen and construction began, subsea development commenced.
Oceaneering International received a contract by Shell for the fabrication and installation of subsea hardware for the Perdido project. The hardware included 29 flowlines and well jumper spools, and a pipeline tie-in sled.
FMC Technologies performed the subsea completion and processing systems, which included 17-subsea trees, two subsea manifolds, five-subsea caisson separation and boosting systems, a topside and subsea controls, and related subsea equipment. Also included in the scope of work is the design of the steel catenary risers, top tension risers and umbilicals.
Acergy North won the transportation and installation contract for the subsea production umbilicals. The work scope included 37 miles (60 kilometers) of steel-tube super duplex subsea production umbilicals, four dynamic and three static, associated flying leads and subsea hardware.
Five risers hang down to the seafloor, and then branch out into clusters of connected wells. On the seafloor, 22 wells, extending more than 14,000 feet (4,267 meters) from the surface, will be linked to the Perdido spar, with an additional eight tie-backs from subsea completions. Fifteen hundred horsepower electric pumps will bring oil to the surface against extreme pressures from three undersea fields, while gas is separated on the sea floor and sent to the production unit.
The spar facility was installed in August 2008. The Perdido spar is a massive steel structure that is 568 feet (173 meters) tall, 112 feet (34 meters) in diameter and floats on a sunken cylinder. Perdido was constructed by Technip in Pori, Finland, and began its journey to Texas in May 2008. Kiewit is constructing the topsides in Ingleside, Texas.
Moored in 7,817 feet (2,383 meters) of water, nine chains and polyester rope mooring lines, roughly 2 miles (3 kilometers) in length, secure the 50,000-ton (45,359-tonne) spar. On this project, Heerema Marine Contractors installed the world’s deepest permanent mooring anchor pile in 8,631 feet (2,632 meters) of water using the deepwater crane vessel (DCV) Balder.
In 2006, Shell awarded Technip a contract to provide the Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) of the spar hull and mooring system. The contract covers the design and fabrication; load out onto a transportation vessel, and transportation and quayside delivery.
The facility began production on March 31, 2010 from five wells on the Great White field, with all wells expecting to come online by 2016. The spar is designed to produce 100,000 bopd and 200 MMcf/d (6 MMcm/d).
The spar’s life expectancy is 25 years. Shell did not disclose the cost of the facility, but insiders are estimating costs to total $4 billion, given the size and complexity of the project.
While development is on going in this area, Chevron and partners continue to evaluate development alternatives for other discoveries in the Great White-Perdido-Foldbelt area, which include Tiger and Trident.
- Shell Perdido: moving the spar into place (video) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Shell Perdido: The first full field subsea separation and pumping system in the Gulf of Mexico. (video) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Perdido Subsea System (video) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Spar Transportation and Installation (video) (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Mexico: Pemex Earmarks USD 1 Billion for Perdido Exploration (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Re-inventing subsea intervention to keep economics above water (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Statoil: Riserless light well intervention (mb50.wordpress.com)
- UK: ITF Members Offer Funds to Drilling and Subsea Technology Developers (mb50.wordpress.com)
Oceaneering International, Inc. today reported third quarter earnings for the period ended September 30, 2011. On revenue of $602 million, Oceaneering generated net income of $78.6 million, or $0.72 per share.
These results include an $18.3 million pre-tax gain, $11.9 million after tax using an incremental tax rate of 35%, on the previously announced sale of the Ocean Legend, a mobile offshore production system. Also, the third quarter results included a lower provision of income taxes due to recognition of $4.9 million of tax benefits principally related to prior years.
Oceaneering reported revenue of $516 million and net income of $59.2 million, or $0.54 per share, for the third quarter of 2010. For the second quarter of 2011, Oceaneering reported revenue of $546 million and net income of $56.7 million, or $0.52 per share.
Quarterly earnings were also higher year over year on the strength of record quarterly operating income from Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) and Subsea Products. Sequentially, Oceaneering’s quarterly EPS increase was attributable to improved operating income from four of its five business segments: ROV, Subsea Products, Subsea Projects and Advanced Technologies.
M. Kevin McEvoy, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are very pleased with our record EPS for the quarter, particularly in light of regulatory-constrained activity in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Our overall operations performed within expectations and we remain on track to achieve record EPS for the year.
“Compared to the second quarter of 2011, ROV operating income increased on the strength of higher international demand to provide drill support and vessel-based services. Our quarterly ROV days on hire increased to an all-time high of over 19,000 days. Subsea Products operating income rose on profit increases from most of our product lines, led by increased sales of valves and Installation and Workover Control System services. Subsea Products backlog at quarter-end was $403 million, comparable to our June 30 backlog of $405 million and up from $308 million one year ago.
“Sequentially, Subsea Projects operating income was higher due to the gain on the sale of the Ocean Legend and a slight seasonal increase in demand for our diving services. Advanced Technologies operating income improved on higher demand from the U.S. Navy to perform engineering services and submarine repair work.
“We are adjusting our 2011 EPS guidance range to $2.11 to $2.15, from $1.90 to $1.98, to reflect our third quarter results and our EPS outlook for the fourth quarter of $0.48 to $0.52, based on an expected quarterly tax rate of 31.5%. We continue to anticipate that our ROV and Subsea Products segments will achieve record operating income in 2011.
“We are initiating 2012 EPS guidance with a range of $2.35 to $2.55, as we expect another record earnings year. For our services and products, we anticipate continued international demand growth and a moderate rebound in overall activity in the GOM. The major determinant of our guidance range spread is the amount of operating income growth we generate from our Subsea Projects business.
“Compared to 2011, we anticipate all of our segments will have higher operating income results in 2012; ROV on greater service demand off West Africa and in the GOM and Subsea Products on the strength of higher tooling sales and increased throughput at our umbilical plants. For Subsea Projects, we foresee a gradual recovery in the GOM during 2012 and a substantial increase in revenue and operating income as a result of an anticipated international expansion of our deepwater vessel project capabilities.
“Looking beyond 2012, our belief that the oil and gas industry will continue to invest in deepwater projects remains unchanged. Deepwater remains one of the best frontiers for adding large hydrocarbon reserves with high production flow rates at relatively low finding and development costs. With our existing assets, we are well positioned to supply a wide range of the services and products required to support safe deepwater efforts of our customers.”
- Norway: Goliat Field Goes Online (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Norway: Statoil 3Q Net Income Rises 39 pct (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Mexico: Cal Dive to Install Subsea Pipeline in Abkatun Offshore Field (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Going deeper: Canyon Offshore’s ROV pilots explain there’s more than meets the eye (gcaptain.com)
- Hess Plans Development Of Tubular Bells GOM Project (gcaptain.com)
- Sarah: deepwater intervention vessel (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Shell Perdido: The first full field subsea separation and pumping system in the Gulf of Mexico. (video) (mb50.wordpress.com)