John S. Herold Inc., Norwalk, Conn., said Thursday that energy company stocks achieved a median total return of 48% in 2000 and a fourth of the issues doubled in price.
Herold, an independent energy research and consulting firm, released the data in its Oil Share Market Performance 2000 report.
It said all but 1 of the 15 Herold energy stock groups outperformed the Dow Jones industrials in a year when technology stocks were devastated and the broad market suffered its first decline in a decade.
Art Smith, Herold's chairman and CEO, said, "The price recovery that began in 1999 has enabled many companies to adopt more aggressive exploration and capital spending strategies, particularly aimed at finding and developing US natural gas reserves.
"The market has recognized the value this represents, rewarding, by providing capital for, successful players in these sectors. We expect this recognition to continue in 2001."
The Herold report tracks 307 publicly traded energy issues in every sector of the international oil and gas industry.
It said US exploration and production companies were the biggest winners in last year's capital markets.
"Fueled by soaring natural gas prices, mid-sized domestic E&Ps recorded a whopping 118% median gain, followed by the large domestic E&Ps with 94% and small domestic E&Ps with 79%."
It said for the first time in 3 years, Canadian E&Ps trailed their US counterparts and fueled a mergers and acquisitions market in Canada. Overseas E&Ps had a median return of 22%
"Among the large integrated oil companies, prosperity was again confined to North America. The overseas integrated oils, due to especially weak performance by South American and Eastern European firms, posted an overall 16% decline, the only Herold peer group in negative numbers. Highlighting the unusual 2000 theme that 'smaller is better,' the large integrated oils as a whole posted only a 10.1% median gain."
Among the energy sectors, Herold said the pipeline group increased 70%, oil service firms 50%, and drilling firms 49%. The refining and marketing sector rebounded from a 17% decline in 1999 to a 32% gain in 2000.
Herold said companies trading above $5/share with the most impressive gains were Cross Timbers Oil Co., 359%; Key Production Co. Inc., 347%; Prima Energy Co., 227%; and Swift Energy Co., 227%.
Petro-Canada led the international oil companies with an 87% gain.
The leading US integrated firms were Amerada Hess Corp., 29%; Phillips Petroleum Co., 21%; and Conoco Inc., 16%. The poorest return in the sector was by Repsol-YPF SA of Spain, with a loss of 29%.