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Diamondback Energy Inc (FANG): This Energy Play Is Priced Like the Rarest Diamond of the Permian Basin

This junior oil and gas producer is likely unknown to most investors. Why? Because Diamondback Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FANG) held its initial public offering in October 2012. The fact is that the stock has had positive momentum lately–but does this rosy stock performance match the company’s fundamentals?
Separate the hype from reality

To make good calls, an investor must set the hype aside and focus on the fundamentals. Diamondback Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FANG) owns 51,700 net acres in the Permian Basin in West Texas, drilling both low-cost vertical wells and high-cost horizontal wells targeting the Wolfberry play. It produces almost 4,600 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) (85% oil and liquids) currently, and its proven reserves as of Dec. 31, 2012 were 40.2 million boe (86% oil and liquids).
As of Dec. 31, 2012, the company had $26 million in cash, no outstanding long-term debt and $135 million in un-drawn borrowing capacity. As of Feb. 25, the company had drawn $30 million under its revolving credit facility. After all, the enterprise value (EV) is ~$1 billion currently, that translates into $217,000/boepd and $24.88/boe of proven reserves.
These staggering multiples can’t send the shorts running for the hills. Actually, these multiples are quite inexplicable for a junior producer when several other intermediate and major oil-weighted players carry much lower valuations.
For instance, Whiting Petroleum Corp (NYSE:WLL) is a heavily oil-weighted producer with sizable operations in the Permian basin. It produced 86,055 boepd (86% oil and liquids) in Q4 2012 and has 378.8 million boe proved reserves (December 2012). With an EV at $7.5 billion, Whiting Petroleum Corp (NYSE:WLL) trades at 87,000 boepd and $19.80/boe of proved reserves.
Moreover, Whiting Petroleum Corp (NYSE:WLL) guides for production growth of 12% to 16% for 2013. On top of that, Whiting has land diversification and holds significant acreage in three oil-prone areas (Rockies, Permian and Mid-Continent), while Diamondback Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FANG) is a one-basin play with relatively small acreage.
This is a major drawback that has to concern all of Diamondback’s potential buyers along with its current shareholders. After all, why should one prefer Diamondback over Whiting?
Looking ahead

Diamondback Energy Inc (NASDAQ:FANG) guides for production of 7,200 to 7,500 boepd and capex at $270 million to $300 million for 2013. It expects to have drilling results from five horizontal Wolfcamp wells by May, and plans to spend 67% of 2013 capex on expensive horizontal wells that cost $7.5 million to $8.5 million each. Diamondback also guides that it will fund its 2013 capex from existing cash, cash flows and debt.
Magellan Midstream Partners plays a major role in Diamondback’s cash flow in 2013 because its projects will provide Diamondback access to Louisiana Light Sweet (LLS) pricing. This access translates to the equivalent of $11/barrel price improvement relative to current levels.
To be more specific, Magellan will finish a reversal of the Longhorn pipeline from Crane, Texas to Houston and begin moving 75,000 boepd by Q2 2013.

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