Will Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Cape PLC And Pantheon Resources Plc Prove To Be Star Buys?

Shares in Shell (LSE: RDSB) have begun a comeback of sorts in recent months, with the oil major’s valuation rising by 16% year-to-date. Clearly, there’s a long way to go before the price of oil returns to anywhere close to its previous high, but with it being uneconomic to produce at the current level for a number of companies, the current supply/demand imbalance is unlikely to last indefinitely.

This would be good news for Shell, but in the meantime it seems to be doing all of the right things through which to survive the current low oil price environment. It has slashed costs, reduced exploration investment and sought to improve the quality of its asset base while asset prices are lower than they have been for many years.

Certainly, Shell’s future as an income stock may be rather uncertain due to the squeeze on profitability that the low oil price has caused. However, with its shares trading on a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 13.7, Shell seems to offer good value for money. And due to its sound balance sheet and excellent cash flow, it looks set to emerge from the current oil crisis in a relatively strong position.

Long-term appeal

Also offering upside potential is Cape (LSE: CIU), with the support services company offering a super-low valuation. Cape trades on a P/E ratio of just 9.7 and this indicates that there’s a wide margin of safety on offer. As such, the fact that Cape’s bottom line is due to come under pressure this year and fall by 19% appears to already be priced-in, meaning that the outlook for the company’s share price is relatively positive.

In addition, Cape remains a very appealing long-term income play. It currently yields around 6% and with Cape’s dividends being covered 1.7 times by profit, it seems to have sufficient headroom to be able to increase dividends even if profitability fails to increase rapidly. Although Cape’s share price could be hurt by further falls in the price of oil, the company is due to return to earnings growth next year and this has the potential to improve investor sentiment in the stock.

Take a closer look

Meanwhile, shares in Pantheon Resources (LSE: PANR) have fallen by around 4% today after it released an operational update. Encouragingly, Pantheon has announced that the drilling rig has been contracted for the drilling of three consecutive wells in its upcoming drilling programme. The first two wells will be horizontal development wells stepping out from the recent VOBM#1 discovery well in Polk County, while the third will be a step out appraisal well around five miles west of the recent VOS#1 discovery in Tyler County.

This is good news for the company and there could be material implications if the drilling is successful. And with Pantheon being well-funded following its $30m placing last month, it seems to be in a relatively strong position – especially with costs being lower. As such, for less risk-averse investors, it could be worth a closer look.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of Royal Dutch Shell. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Royal Dutch Shell B. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.