What happened

Shares of Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ) jumped 11.4% last month, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Driving up the energy company's stock price was a big spike in crude prices following an attack on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure.

So what

Drones hit the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure in mid-September, sending shockwaves throughout the oil market. The Middle Eastern country initially took half of its production offline, which knocked out 5% of global supplies. It was the biggest disruption to ever hit the oil market.

Barrels of oil with a rising arrow and a bright light in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Crude prices, unsurprisingly, skyrocketed more than 15% following the attack, which caused shares of oil producers to soar. Canadian Natural Resources was among those that spiked, with its shares surging 13% that day. That's because higher oil prices are good for its bottom line.

Crude prices, however, would go on to give up much of those fear-induced gains as Saudi Arabia started bringing its output back on line. It currently expects to be back at full capacity by the end of November. As a result, the U.S. oil price benchmark is now below where it was following the attack. That's due to increasing concerns that demand growth is slowing with the global economy.

Now what

Despite rallying last month, shares of Canadian Natural Resources haven't done much this year, as they're only up about 1% due to all the volatility in the oil market. This lackluster performance doesn't make much sense. The company is on track to produce 6.2 billion Canadian dollars ($4.7 billion) in free cash flow this year, more than double its initial target. That's given it the funds to increase its dividend another 12%, repurchase nearly CA$800 million ($600 million) of its shares, and make a needle-moving acquisition. Because of those positives, this oil stock is worth a closer look even after bouncing back a bit last month. 

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.