Helicopters: Deepwater Duo

06/16/2014 8:00 am EST


Following the Deepwater Horizon spill in 2009, oil production out of the Gulf of Mexico dropped in each of the last four years; but this is changing and the prospects of Gulf oil drilling is looking up, suggests Christian DeHaemer, editor of Energy & Capital.

Gulf of Mexico oil production is expected to increase by 150,000 barrels per day in 2014 and by an additional 240,000 bpd in 2015.

The Gulf of Mexico rig fleet is up to 81.6% utilization from 79.1% last month. It's not much of a change, but, at long last, it is moving in the right direction.

Due to the ever-increasing demand for oil, the majority of the growth in oil production over the next two decades will come from offshore deepwater drilling. One way to play the increase in offshore oil rigs is to buy the companies that get the workers there: helicopter service companies.

By 2016, Barclays expects about 300 deepwater rigs to be in operation worldwide. Barclays also believes this growth will lead to the purchase of 300 new helicopters, which will be needed to ferry workers to the rigs over the next five years.

Obviously, this new demand will lead to pricing power to those companies that do the ferrying.

The two largest companies in this sector are Bristow Group (BRS), which has a P/E of 14.61 and a PEG ratio of 0.93, and CHC Group (HELI), which is a smaller chopper company, with a market cap of $565 million but no profits, though it is trading 30% below its IPO price.

Bristow Group is so bullish about the trend that it announced it will invest one-third of its market cap—or $1 billion—this year to buy 47 new choppers and increase its fleet by 17%. CHC Group has ordered 33 new helicopters.

If these trends play out and these companies go from losing money to making money in a high-growth environment, their share prices will surge.

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