The Hess story sounds complicated: They're selling their refining assets, they've received overtures from super-investor Paul Singer for $800 million in shares and board seats and they've orchestrated one of the greatest stock-price rallies in the oil patch, jumping almost $20 a share since early December. But the single takeaway from the Hess story is far more simple: Smart oil companies are concentrating solely on growing their production of crude oil.
The Hess refining assets have been such a strong component of its corporate structure that it's difficult to think of Hess without its 20 terminal fields and east coast refining presence. But the plan to sell everything "downstream" (the transport, storage and refining assets) has really made Wall Street happy; since announcing its restructuring plan, shares have soared. The added interest of Elliot Associates (the hedge fund of Paul Singer) has further boosted shares, as many believe he is investing to position the company for a sale.