The collapse of deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, (GoM) beginning in 2014, with no real recovery yet in sight, has spread a lot of misery around the oilfield. Nowhere is that more evident than in the fortunes of Carbo Ceramics, NYSE: CRR. A former oilfield high flyer, Carbo, whose stock crested in 2014 at $154.30 per share, now trades under $2.00 per share.
Their legacy is that of the provision of high technology of crush-resistant ceramic beads used to prop open fractures created in oil and gas formations by hydraulic fracking. This is referred to in the industry as “stimulation”, and is the process by which oil and gas flow is enabled from tight rock formations. The deepwater jobs in the GoM sometimes used as much as a million pounds of the stuff at a time. As in all booms, the industry players lost sight of the general up and down nature of the oil markets historically, and when the bust hit were stuck with too much inventory, and a bloated manufacturing structure. A situation that described Carbo to a T.
The question now before us is, does Carbo have a long term upside that might make a patient investor some money? Or are they a value trap, slated to slide to zero?
The problem with ceramics in the “low cost” oilfield
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