With so many diversified oil and gas producers out there, paying attention to companies like Ultra Petroleum (NASDAQOTH:UPLMQ) can be valuable because it gives you direct insight into the performance and expectations of the natural gas market. Fortunately for Ultra Petroleum, 2012 is over. Unfortunately for the company, 2013 has just begun. Despite record production on the year, writedowns due to suppressed natural gas prices led to poor financial performance. With expectations for production to drag through 2013, Ultra will need to maintain its focus on being the lowest-cost producer until 2014, when it expects production to begin picking up again. For more details, tune into the video below.

Taylor Muckerman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ultra Petroleum. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ultra Petroleum and has the following options: Long Jan 2014 $20 Calls on Chesapeake Energy, Long Jan 2014 $30 Calls on Chesapeake Energy, Short Jan 2014 $15 Puts on Chesapeake Energy, Long Jan 2014 $30 Calls on Ultra Petroleum, Long Jan 2014 $40 Calls on Ultra Petroleum, and Long Jan 2014 $50 Calls on Ultra Petroleum. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.