It’s Been Another Black Month For Investors In Afren Plc, Premier Oil PLC & Tullow Oil plc…

Afren (LON: AFR), Premier Oil (LON: PMO) and Tullow Oil (LON: TLW) had a miserable May as the oil price rally stalled, says Harvey Jones

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One month ago I said that a double dip in the oil price was the last thing investors in Afren (LSE: AFR), Premier Oil (LSE: PMO) and Tullow Oil (LSE: TLW) needed.

At the time, a barrel of Brent Crude was heading towards $70 but the rally seemed to be running out of gas.

It has stalled for now, as have Afren, Premier and Tullow. All three stocks fell by 7-8% in May.

Afren Adventure

Afren is burning through capital at a time when the falling oil prices are hitting revenues.

It achieved a realised price of just $48 a barrel in the first quarter of this year, less than half the $106.5 it achieved in Q1 2014.

The resulting drop in revenues has dented confidence and chief executive officer Alan Linn has admitted that “funding remains extremely tight”.

Afren did secure $255m of debt funding in April, and a further noteholder subscription topping that up to $369m in May.

Production is holding up at 36,035 barrels per day but is expected to decline slightly, which is bad news as Afren pumps millions into developing its assets, $212m in the first quarter.

Personally, I don’t foresee a massive oil price rebound in the months to come, and that’s what Afren needs most of all right now.

The share price has halved in the last year, just so you know.

Premier Discovery

There was at least some good news for investors in Premier Oil at the end of May, after it announced an oil discovery at the Isobel Deep exploration well in the North Falkland Basin.

Premier has a 36% stake in the well, along with Falkland Oil & Gas (40%) and Rockhopper (24%).

These are early days and we have to wait for further tests later in the summer, but it is more positive news following April’s discoveries at the Zebedee well in the Falklands, in which it has a 36% stake.

Premier doesn’t have major funding concerns and looks a safer bet if you think the oil price will rebound later this year. It is 54% cheaper than one year ago, which some may see as a buying opportunity.

Tullow Talk

Investors enjoyed a few flutters in the wake of the Shell takeover of BG Group, with rumours that Tullow would be next.

Tullow chief Aidan Heavey has since buried speculation by pointing out how complex that would be, given its broad-ranging African operations.

The explorer posted its first loss in 15 years in 2014, and its share price is down more than 53% over the last 12 months, but this isn’t an existential crisis.

Like Premier, Tullow looks a tempting flutter for investors looking to turbo-charge their portfolio with a bit of risk.

If Heavey is right, and oil hits $90 in the next couple of years, the future could be a little brighter for both Premier and Tullow. Prospects look darker at Afren.

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be assessed. Consider taking independent financial advice.

Harvey Jones has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Tullow Oil. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

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