Enbridge (ENB 1.10%) has been a model of consistency over the years. The Canadian energy infrastructure behemoth has achieved its guidance for the last 16 years, grown its dividend for the previous 27 years, and produced sector-leading and market-beating total shareholder returns since 2008. Because of that, it has stood out as a great long-term investment in the volatile energy sector.
It still looks like an excellent investment today, even though the sector is in the midst of a major transition. Here's a closer look at why Enbridge tops my list as the best energy stock to buy this August.
Improving an already low-risk business
One thing I love about Enbridge is that it has one of the lowest-risk businesses in the sector. Its pipeline-utility model generates very stable cash flow because 98% of its revenue comes from long-term contracts or cost-of-service arrangements. Meanwhile, 95% of its customers have investment-grade credit ratings. In addition, 80% of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) have inflation protections, while the company has minimal commodity price exposure. Because of that, Enbridge is resilient in all market cycles.
The company has also been taking steps to reduce risk further and improve its cash flow durability. Enbridge recently completed a high-value swap with refiner Phillips 66 (PSX 1.19%). It increased its interest in the Gray Oak Pipeline in exchange for reducing its stake in DCP Midstream (DCP), a master limited partnership focused on gathering and processing (G&P) natural gas. The trade will further reduce its exposure to commodity price volatility by increasing its earnings from a contracted oil pipeline while reducing the contribution from DCP Midstream's more volatile G&P business, strengthening its low-risk pipeline-utility model.
That deal will also further improve Enbridge's financial profile. It's immediately accretive to its distributable cash flow per share, providing further support to its dividend. Meanwhile, Enbridge will receive $400 million in cash from Phillips 66 as part of the deal, giving it additional financial flexibility. Thanks to its abundant post-dividend free cash flow and conservative leverage ratio, it has an investment-grade balance sheet and several billion dollars of annual investment capacity.
Add the fuel to keep growing
Another factor that makes Enbridge stand out is its visible growth prospects. The company has several billion dollars of expansion projects on track to enter service by the end of this year. Meanwhile, it has an extensive backlog of commercially secured projects. Those secured projects lead Enbridge to believe it can grow its cash flow per share at a 5% to 7% annual rate through 2024.
Meanwhile, the company is already starting to line up its post-2024 growth. It recently agreed to invest in the Woodfibre LNG project, which should enter service in 2027. Enbridge also approved the expansion of its T-North system that should start in 2026 and has an offshore wind energy farm in Europe on track to enter commercial service in 2025.
Enbridge sees many opportunities to expand its energy infrastructure platform in the coming years. The world still needs access to fossil fuels, which should drive growth in its liquids pipelines, gas transmission, and gas distribution businesses. Meanwhile, Enbridge is working to build the infrastructure for lower-carbon energy. In addition to renewable energy, it's investing in green hydrogen, renewable natural gas, and other new energy sources. These investments should give Enbridge the fuel to continue growing its cash flow and dividend for years to come.
A low-risk, high-reward energy stock
Enbridge has one of the lowest-risk business models in the energy sector. Meanwhile, it offers investors high upside potential in the form of a high-yielding dividend (currently over 6%) and a business that should grow at a mid-to-high single-digit rate for years to come. That excellent risk/reward profile makes Enbridge look like a great energy stock to buy this August, especially after its recent moves to boost growth and reduce risk.