Chevron Corporation (CVX), Apache Corporation (APA) And Three Oil and Gas Stocks to Buy Now

Brian Rogers has been quite successful in managing the T. Rowe Price Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:TROW) Equity Income Fund. In the past 20 years, he has delivered an annualized gain of 9%, beating the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX)‘s annualized gain of 8.2%.

Recently, he seemed to be bullish on the oil and gas sector, as Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) are the third-largest and fourth-largest positions in his portfolio. As of March, he owned nearly 5.4 million shares of Chevron and more than 6-million shares of ExxonMobil. Chevron and Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) represent around 2.5% and 2.2% of his total portfolio, respectively. Should investors follow Brian Rogers into Chevron and ExxonMobil at current prices? Let’s find out.

Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)

Large proved reserves with solid reserve-replacement ratio

Both Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and ExxonMobil are integrated large oil and gas companies with global operations. At the end of 2012, Chevron had total proved reserves of nearly 11.4 billion barrels of oil equivalent, or BOE, while Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)’s proved reserves were much higher at approximately 25.2 billion BOE.

While Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) had about 6.5 billion of barrels of liquids in its proved reserves, the natural-gas reserves were more than 29.2 trillion cubic feet equivalent. In terms of natural gas, ExxonMobil is considered the largest natural gas producer in the U.S., with more than 74 trillion cubic feet equivalent of natural gas proved reserves.

Both companies enjoyed a good reserve replacement ratio (RRR) in 2012. RRR is a good ratio to measure the amount of new proved reserves added to the reserve base of the company relative to the amount of oil and gas produced within the year.

I would prefer to see the RRR above 100%, meaning that the companies are adding more proved reserves than they have produced. In 2012, ExxonMobil added around 1.8 billion BOE to its proved reserves, with a RRR of 115%. Chevron reported a similar solid RRR of 112%.

Consistent increasing dividend payments

Most of Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)’s earnings, $23.8 billion, or 85% of the total 2012 revenue, was generated from the upstream segment, while the downstream segment contributed nearly $4.3 billion to last year’s earnings. What interests me is the fact that Chevron is a consistent dividend-paying company, with consistent increases in dividend payments.

Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX)’s dividend increased from $1.43 per share in 2003 to $3.51 per share in 2012. Although Chevron has paid increasing dividends, its dividend policy still seems to be quite conservative with a low payout ratio. Since 2010, its payout ratio has fluctuated in the range of 23% to 30%.