A Tale of 2 Energy Companies

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Not all earnings reports have a dramatic flare to them. But one of the most controversial energy companies, Chesapeake Energy (CHK), steps into the earnings spotlight early Thursday.

I'm not going to regurgitate all the old news about CHK. Wednesday, the drama continued in a positive way as an investigation by CHK's board of directors into outgoing CEO Aubrey McClendon's personal financing deals with company partners determined the deals didn't benefit McClendon improperly or cost the company directly.

In an Associated Press report Wednesday afternoon the company said that "no intentional misconduct by Mr. McClendon or any of the company's management was found."

What will be "found" on Thursday is how CHK did in its last quarter when it comes to EPS and sales revenue. The consensus of 32 analysts is for only 14 cents of EPS in the fourth quarter compared to the same year-ago quarterly EPS of 58 cents. It will be difficult to disappoint with such low expectations.

When it comes to revenue from sales, analysts are expecting $2.86 billion, which is a 4.8% improvement over the same quarter in 2011. The chart below paints the picture of CHK's price, EPS and revenue history over a one-year period of time. I'd describe all three as "flat to down!"

CHK Chart CHK data by YCharts

Another energy company that reports Thursday is not the most glamorous in its sector but it does consistently make money and even a few headlines. Ensco ( ESV) hit a new 52-week high Thursday as it closed at $65.25.

ESV provides offshore contract drilling services to the oil and gas industry worldwide. The company has a P/E ratio of 12.4, below the S&P 500 P/E ratio of 17.7. Its forward, one-year PE is an appealing 9.06. Analysts expect a 19% increase in earnings per share over the year-ago quarter.

When it comes to sales growth and revenue, those same 35 analysts are looking for a year-over-year quarterly sales growth increase of 8.7%. That would mean a quarterly revenue number of about $1.09 billion. That, by the way, would bring the 2012 revenue growth to almost a 52% gain. Impressive!

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Here's the one-year chart with the same metrics we used for CHK. ESV is one of my favorite companies in the oil services sector and this is one of the nicest looking charts, except for the line concerning its diluted quarterly year-over-year EPS growth.

ESV Chart ESV data by YCharts

Like you, I'll be listening and watching for explanations as to why the diluted quarterly year-over-year EPS growth line isn't going the same direction as the share price and the revenue. We may see ESV correct if the forward guidance isn't ebullient enough. That, in my opinion, would be a buying chance.

ESV's management had guided for higher average day rates in 2013. This wouldn't be too surprising since its deep-water rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and Middle East already have a 100% and 95% utilization rate. In the industry that's what a drilling rig fleet company would be shooting for.

Ensco, which is headquartered in the U.K., owns and operates an offshore drilling rig fleet of approximately 77 rigs, including 7 drill ships, 13 dynamically positioned semisubmersible rigs, seven moored semisubmersible rigs, 49 jackup rigs, and one barge rig used to drill and complete oil and natural gas wells.

Its drilling rigs are located in Brazil, Europe and Mediterranean region, the Middle East and Africa region, and the Asia Pacific rim region. ESV serves government owned, and independent oil and gas companies, as well as various independent operators. Check out its colorfully beneficial Web site for more details and specifics.

There's at least a 50-50 chance that both CHK and ESV may correct after the earnings news is out and both companies have spilled the beans. CHK will be affected by any news about who will take CEO McClendon's place and also by the tone of the company's forward guidance about 2013.

As the AP report mentioned above reminded, "McClendon was stripped of his role as board chairman in May. Last month Chesapeake announced McClendon would leave the company April 1 amid philosophical differences."

Chesapeake shares closed down 12 cents to $20.24 Wednesday. They have traded in a 52-week range of $13.32 to $26.09. Patient investors may be able to buy shares around $18.40, which would constitute a 50% retracement of the shares ascent since the Jan. 10, 2013, intraday low of $16.37.

At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.

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