3 Oil Stocks That Could Emerge as Winners in 2014

Swift Energy, Triangle Petroleum, and Laredo Petroleum are all in the right place at the right time to emerge as winners in 2014.

Jan 21, 2014 at 1:00PM

America's oil boom is being fueled by production growth out of three key basins. While the easy money is gone, as this growth fueled remarkable gains in some stocks, there are still a few interesting names that have yet to emerge as companies investors know. In fact, each basin has a stock to watch that could emerge in 2014.

Production soaring like an eagle
Swift Energy
(NYSE:SFY) is among the expanding list of oil producers using the Eagle Ford Shale to fuel growth. The company has a high quality position in the play, which it's using to literally manufacture oil production growth.

Swift Energy is investing about 80% of its capital in the Eagle Ford, making it a near-pure play on that oil-rich shale. What's important for investors is that Swift Energy continues to improve as it drills new wells. Last year it saw an average increase of 19% on the initial production rates of its Eagle Ford Shale wells when compared to wells drilled in 2012. At the same time, it also improved on the number of days required to drill and complete each well, which cut its well costs by more than 10%

As Swift Energy continues to aggressively develop its position in the Eagle Ford, it's also improving its long-term value proposition to investors. The company is shedding low-growth assets to lower leverage, while also improving its cash flow and earnings growth. Add it all up, and Swift Energy is an oil stock that could reverse its poor showing in 2013 and emerge as a winner in 2014.

Three sides, but one focus: the Bakken Shale
Triangle Petroleum
 (NYSEMKT:TPLM) is an exploration and production company, oil-field service provider, and midstream operator all rolled into one, hence the triangle. The business that has the potential to fuel growth for investors is the exploration and production segment, which is focused on developing the oil-rich Bakken Shale.

With 94,000 net acres, Triangle Petroleum has a lot of room to grow in the Williston Basin. The company's production is already growing at a healthy clip, as evidenced by the 390% year-over-year jump in production. Furthermore, with reserves up 293% over that same time frame, production won't be drying up anytime soon. Together with its other two businesses, Triangle Petroleum has all of the tools it needs to fuel growth for investors in 2014 and beyond.

Prime position in the Permian Basin
The third leg of the onshore oil boom is Texas' Permian Basin. That's where Laredo Petroleum (NYSE:LPI)has built up a high-quality, concentrated position in the Midland Basin portion of the play. The company controls 141,230 net acres that lie above emerging zones like the Wolfcamp and Cline shales.

Laredo sees vast potential from its position in the Permian Basin. In fact, the company anticipates its resource potential being more than 10 times its proved reserves. That's one reason why Laredo believes it can grow production by 30%-35% annually through at least 2016. If these emerging zones of the Permian Basin turn out to be as good as Laredo and its Permian-focused peers believe, then Laredo Petroleum could emerge a winner again in 2014.

Investor takeaway
All three of these oil stocks carry more risk than a well-established oil stock. That said, there's also a lot more reward if these companies do start to really produce growth that catches Wall Street's eye in 2014.

One stock you must buy in 2014
There's a huge difference between a good stock, and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Fool contributor Matt DiLallo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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.

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