2015 All-America Research Team: Natural Gas, No. 2: Robert Morris
Citi researcher Robert Morris returns to this roster for the first time since his 2011 debut, securing the No. 2 position.
First-Place Appearances: 0
Total appearances: 2
Analyst debut: 2011
Citi researcher Robert Morris returns to this roster for the first time since his 2011 debut, securing the No. 2 position. His outlook on U.S. natural gas companies has been bearish, he says, because robust supply has not been helping prices or the companies that produce pure natural gas. His price forecast for the commodity this year is $2.80 per thousand cubic feet; it stood at $2.68 per mcf in mid-September. Beyond an intermediate horizon, however, Morris is more constructive, predicting a gradual rise to $3.75 per mcf in 2018, thanks largely to environmental regulations that aim to increase the number of natural-gas-powered plants and reduce the number of their coal-powered counterparts. “That is more demand that’s created for natural gas, apart from what industrial demand is doing and just secular power generation demand growth,” the 53-year-old says. Among his favorite companies is Houston-based Memorial Resource Development Corp., which produces natural gas from a field in Louisiana, while most of its competition is producing gas from the Northeast’s Marcellus Shale. “They’ve got comparable quality assets and production to those in the Marcellus Shale that are driving a lot of the U.S. production growth, but with much better pricing, being located closer to the Gulf Coast,” he explains. Morris graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a bachelor’s degree in chemical and petroleum refining engineering and from Boston’s Harvard Business School with an MBA. He initially joined Citi in 2000, leaving in 2003 for Banc of America Securities, where he led energy coverage, and then rejoining the firm in July 2009 after a stint as an energy trader and portfolio manager at Outpost Investment Group. Before Citi, he worked as an engineer at Texas-based integrated oil major Exxon Mobil Corp. and an oil and gas exploration and production analyst at Paine Webber & Co. This year Morris also notches his fifth consecutive runner-up appearance for his tracking of the E&P space.