National Fuel Gas
This diversified energy company conducts business in the eye of many storms, providing natural gas to 735,000 customers in Western New York (Buffalo) and in Erie, Pa. Although the utility portion of the company does particularly well when gas prices are high, exploration and pipe production is the real bread-and-butter for this small-cap company.
National Fuel (NFG) owns an integrated gas pipeline system extending from southwestern Pennsylvania to the New York-Canadian border, and east to Ellisburg and Leidy, Pa. It also operates 27 underground natural gas storage fields, four underground natural gas storage fields and the Empire Pipeline, a 249-mile integrated pipeline system.
Like most companies in this arena, it performed much better in fourth quarter of 2013. Production for the year was up 44.8%, coming mostly from the Seneca Appalachia properties.
NFG’s earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 of $82.3 million increased $14.4 million, compared to $67.9 million year-over-year. The increase is due to higher earnings across all segments.
NFG increased its earnings guidance for fiscal 2014 to a range of $3.10 to $3.40 per share (the previous earnings guidance had been a range of $3.05 to $3.30).