Hess Corp. (HES), Denbury Resources Inc. (DNR), Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Three Oil Companies to Watch

Earnings Analysis: Hess Corp. (NYSE: HES)Oil production has been in the spotlight recently. There has been an influx of produced wells, and oil prices have slowly risen to $92 per barrel. Investors should be looking for oil and gas companies to add to their portfolios. Here are three to consider.

Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES)

Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) recently posted its first quarter earnings report, with strong gains beating analyst expectations. Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) has a strong position in the Bakken shale in North Dakota and has profited greatly from its continued production.

Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) grew its earnings per share by 30% to $1.95. It was able to do this even with overall production falling by 2%. One thing that has helped fuel the company’s earnings is the divestiture of refining and retail operations. With its renewed focus on exploration, investors can expect a driven company dedicated to exploration and production.

In the next two quarters, earnings will be lower than the most recent quarter. This is due to a focus on new drilling and fewer asset sales driving bottom line growth. While overall production dipped for the company, the Bakken region had an increase in output by 55%.

Total output is expected to increase more in the next year as the company focuses on additional production. This will yield a net income growth of 7%. With this increase in production and subsequent earnings, investors can expect the stock price to appreciate upwards of 10% to $78-$79 per share.

Denbury Resources Inc. (NYSE:DNR)

Denbury Resources Inc. (NYSE:DNR) has a strong position in the Bakken shale as well. It operates in the Gulf Coast region, in addition to the Rocky Mountain Bakken shale.

Denbury Resources Inc. (NYSE:DNR) boasts on its website its ability to bring oil fields back to life. The company has the ability to take mature wells and extract more oil and gas from them. It recently closed on a deal to purchase property in the Cedar Creek Anticline of North Dakota and Montana from ConocoPhillips. This will add to its annual production of both oil and natural gas for the next few years.

The company is reporting its earnings on May 2, 2013. The current quarter won’t see any earnings boosts from the new acquisition. But as the fields continue to produce, investors will see a boost in earnings in the next year. Investors should expect roughly $0.28 per share in earnings for the quarter.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM)

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) just released its quarterly earnings of $2.12 per share. This beat analyst expectations by $.07 per share.

The good news for investors is the company’s decision to increase the quarterly dividend. The quarterly dividend was increased by 10%. Now, the total annual dividend is $2.28 per share with a yield of 2.6%.

While the earnings were better than expected, investors shouldn’t be too impressed. Total exploration and production income fell from the same quarter last year. Both upstream and downstream earnings sank. The slightly higher profits of $50 million came from the boost in earnings it its chemical division.

The report had both good and bad news. Investors shouldn’t worry for too long, though. The company has a few upstream projects in the works to bolster exploration and production earnings.

Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) is a giant company that has multiple, strong divisions. A dip in exploration and production can be offset by growth in other areas. Investors can expect Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) to continue focusing on company-wide growth and maintaining profitability.

Final thoughts

There are a lot of options for oil and gas companies in the United States. The Bakken shale continues to produce, so investors should watch for companies that have operations there. Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES) and Denbury Resources Inc. (NYSE:DNR) are two companies to consider. For a strong dividend play, Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE:XOM) is a good investment vehicle. Steady dividend growth and diversified operations can be attractive to some investors. Keep watching these companies and consider them for your portfolio.

The article Three Oil Companies to Watch originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Austin Higgins.

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