Natural Gas: Beaten Down, but Looking Up

Natural gas has been pushed further and further down for the past few years. According to Business Insider, Professor Mark Perry of the Carpe Diem blog noted that if adjusted for inflation, natural gas prices have reached a multidecade low.

Reasons for the continuous price decrease include a warmer winter (heating costs were reduced) and increased supplies from easy drilling. Due to higher oil prices and environmental concerns, though, more and more people are beginning to use natural gas for a multitude of purposes. With the interest in using natural gas piquing, some companies have to benefit from it.

Kapitall reported some points from Croft Leominster, a value mutual fund with a contrarian perspective. According to Croft, because gas trades below the industry's marginal cost of production, we'll see companies shutting down and going back into oil, which will slow supply and drive up the price of natural gas. And, he argues, since natural gas is already seeing increased demand, the shift in production will further stress the supply/demand issues that are good for prices in the middle to long term.

Business section: Investing ideas
The natural gas bandwagon is beginning to look inviting, and there are companies that stand to profit from a swing toward its use. Below is a list of companies that are heavily exposed to natural gas. Do you think these names will see an upside from the trend?

List sorted by market cap. (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas.)

1. Williams (NYSE: WMB  ) : Engages in finding, producing, gathering, processing, and transporting natural gas primarily in the United States. The company has a market cap of $20.04 billion, most recent closing price at $33.89.

2. Spectra Energy (NYSE: SE  ) : Engages in the ownership and operation of a portfolio of complementary natural gas-related energy assets in the United States and Canada. The company has a market cap of $19.9 billion, most recent closing price at $30.49.

3. ONEOK (NYSE: OKE  ) : Operates as a natural gas distributor primarily in the United States. The company has a market cap of $8.88 billion, most recent closing price at $84.96.

4. Sunoco (NYSE: SUN  ) : Through its subsidiaries, refines and markets petroleum products, and manufactures chemicals in the United States. The company has a market cap of $4.37 billion, most recent closing price at $40.63.

5. Targa Resources: Through its general and limited partner interests in Targa Resources Partners, provides midstream natural gas and natural gas liquid services in the United States. The company has a market cap of $2.02 billion, most recent closing price at $47.51.

6. Crosstex Energy (Nasdaq: XTXI  ) : Through its partnership interest in Crosstex Energy, L.P., engages in gathering, transmission, processing, and marketing natural gas and natural gas liquids in the United States. The company has a market cap of $707.99 million, most recent closing price at $14.87.

Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.


Kapitall's Danny Guttridge does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned above. Data sourced from Finviz. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Spectra Energy and ONEOK. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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