Shares in oil and gas exploration and production company Soco (LSE: SIA) have fallen by 2% today despite the company releasing an encouraging update for its full-year. It ended the year with no debt and a cash balance of $104m, which indicates that it is in a relatively strong position through which to weather the present challenges within the oil and gas industry.
Furthermore, Soco has a low cost curve, with cash operating costs for the full year standing at less than $10 per barrel. This means that the companys outlook is positive since the price of oil could realistically fall further. And with net production averaging 12,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) during the year, Socos profitability remains very impressive.
Looking ahead, the company is expected to increase its bottom line by 54% in the current year. This puts its shares on a price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 1.2, which indicates that now is an excellent time to buy them. And with Soco having a frugal stance on future spending and investment, it appears to offer a highly appealing risk/reward ratio at the present time.
Also releasing news today is Sound Energy (LSE: SOU), with the upstream gas company announcing that it has reached heads of agreement with PetroMaroc Corporation regarding the formers acquisition of the latters 50% operated interest in three onshore gas permits in Morocco. On completion of the acquisition, Sound Energy will issue PetroMaroc with new ordinary shares in the company with a market value of 3.65m, as well as a cut of future cash flows.
The deal will result in Sound Energy owning a 75% interest in an already successfully drilled material gas discovery with potential near term production as well as deeper exploration potential. As such, it could prove to be a good move for the business and with Sound Energy forecast to move into profitability in 2016 with a pretax profit of 1.5m, its shares could continue their 72% rise of the last year.
Meanwhile, shares in platinum producer Lonmin (LSE: LMI) continue to mount a successful comeback. They are up by 30% in the last week and although they remain hugely volatile, further gains in the short run cannot be ruled out.
Looking ahead, Lonmins new strategy appears to be sound, with the company aiming to slash costs, cut exploration spend and become a leaner and more profitable business. Although it will take time to deliver, Lonmin now appears to have the financial resources through which to turn its poor performance around following its recent fundraising.
Certainly, there is a major question mark over the price of platinum and other commodities over the medium to long term, but with sentiment having improved dramatically in recent days, Lonmin could now be of interest to less risk averse investors.
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