I am recommending buying Marathon Petroleum Corporation (MPC), which recently spun out of Marathon Oil Corporation on June 30th, 2011. Marathon is the 5th largest refiner in the US and the largest in the Midwest. The company is currently benefiting from its high exposure to the mid-con region where the current crude differentials are likely to persist into 2013. Additionally, MPC is poised to complete a multi-yr investment program by mid next year and move into spending only on maintenance capex. Consequently, MPC free cash flow will balloon over the next two years and by the end of 2012 cash could make up close to 30% of the mkt cap going to 45% by the end of 2013. The company is trading at 3x 2011E EBITDA and 5.5x 2011 earnings and 4.3x and 8.6x normalized ebitda and earnings (assuming the spread comes significantly from current levels). Making a balance sheet adjustment for the cash they will generate while the spread persists (assuming it closes by end of 2012), MPC will be trading at 3.5x 2013 EBITDA. We think a 5x ebitda multiple is not unreasonable to this more normalized spread (we use $4/bbl to the current $20/bbl), which would get you to $58-$60/share or 50% upside from current levels.
Bus Des: Has refining, marketing, transport operations in the Midwest, Upper Great Plains, Gulf Coast and Southeast Regions in the US;
Majority of assets in the Midwest and Pad 2 (highest Midwest exposure relative to other refiners)
6 refineries in the US w/1.1M barrels/day throughput capacity
Large Retail segment with Speedway (4th largest C-store chain) - 1,350 stores; and Marathon brands - operated independently - 5,100 stores
Have one of the largest pipeline and terminal networks in the US, primarily located in the midcontinent and Gulf Coast which could be put into an MLP structure (this could be worth $3-$5/share incremental to the share price); although company has been fairly vocal that the integrated network provides distinct advantages - this is not core to the thesis
- Major investments completed including Garyville and 2/3 complete with Detroit heavy oil project ($6bn in total capital) and provides built in growth in the future
The company expanded its refinery in Garyville to 180,000 boepd for $3.8bn (started in 2005 and complete in 2010)
Detroit Heavy Oil ($2.2bn project - which is 2/3 spent already) - is set to complete in 2012 - will capitalize on Canadian Oil Sands project; $2.2bn project that is targeting modest changes in capacity (+15,000 boepd or 15%) but the improvement is intended to allow the refinery to increase heavy oil feedstock from 20 boepd to 100 boepd. Not that this form of crude typically trades for $20 below regional LLS benchmarks (past five yrs average discount to LLS was $22).
o Incremental EBITDA from being able to increase heavy oil stock (assuming the LLS-WCS of $21) could be as much as $400- $500MM when it is fully on stream by the end of 2012
- Retail and Midstream businesses provide stable earnings streams but is not core to the thesis. These businesses provide for approximately $400MM in pretax income annually.
- See US crude differentials as structural and lasting to at least 2013 when the new pipeline is constructed.
After 30 yrs of flat-to-down production, US onshore oil output is growing from the Bakken and Permian regions, which coupled with Canadian import growth is putting pressure on Mid-Continental differentials. This supply growth at Cushing (production outgrowing takeaway capacity) will keep crude differentials in Mid-Con structurally wider for longer.
Crude oil production in the interior US could rise 300k bod and Canadian imports could rise by about 200k bod from early this year to late next year. Furthermore, new conversion capacity at refiners in the Midcontinent and Midwest is likely to result in increased heavy crude demand and lower light oil demand. The net result is a basis blowout.
Note the explosion of the spread started 2011 at $4/bbl and is averaging $15/bbl YTD and is currently around $20/bbl. We have modeled $15/bbl for this year and next year and then going down to $4/bbl in 2013. Some believe the current spread could double to $40 or $50/bbl due to refineries upgrading
54% of MRO's refining capacity in PADD II and 60% of PADD II running through WTI-linked or Canadian heavy crudes and is benefiting from this structural supply/demand imbalance