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Jim Chanos Should Tell Carl Icahn To Short Cheniere Not Chevron

  • Based on Mr. Chanos' revealed short thesis in the LNG space, I examined his analysis.
  • I will review the headwinds facing the LNG sector.
  • I will share my analysis as to why Cheniere is a better short than Chevron.

Mr. Chanos appeared on CNBC this past Friday and publicly disclosed a short position in both Chevron (NYSE:CVX) and Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS.A). Mr Chanos' core thesis is that global over capacity in the LNG space will severely impact both names. To quote Mr. Chanos, "this is a disaster waiting to happen." During the interview, Mr. Chanos goes on to say that the situation in the LNG space is exactly the same as the over capacity build out in coal and iron ore spaces in the 2009 - 2013 time frames. Although, I think Mr. Chanos is an excellent analyst that has exhibited uncanny foresight with his uncovering of the Enron and Worldcom scandals, I think he picked the wrong LNG pony to short, as Cheniere (NYSEMKT:LNG) is a better short bet than either Chevron or Shell.

Through the combination of time, some intellectual curiosity, and a modest ability to synthesize information, I did some homework over the weekend in the LNG space to stress test Mr. Chanos' bold claims. As a brief aside, the excitement of the discovery phase of any new analysis is full of unexpected twists and turns. Initially, I spent a few hours reading Chevron's 10-K, reviewing its investor slides, and building a strong rebuttal article arguing that Chevron was a fabulous buy in the mid $70s. Although, I think this is largely the case, and I did buy some Chevron Monday, August 24, 2015 at $70, my analysis actually led me to conclude that Carl Icahn's recent purchase of Cheniere is the firm that Mr. Chanos should be shorting, not Chevron. Therefore, as a result of my findings, I think it is far more compelling to present the bearish case on Cheniere instead of writing up the bull case of Chevron.