Energy prices have been on a rollercoaster ride since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Geopolitics, supply and demand, and OPEC are just some of the things pushing oil and natural gas prices up and down today, suggesting that caution is in order if you're looking to put any money, even just $100, into the sector.

That's why TotalEnergies (TTE 1.34%) and Enterprise Products Partners (EPD 0.72%) are two of the best options for investors with $100 available to put toward stock purchases right now.

Prepared for the worst

TotalEnergies is one of the world's largest integrated energy companies. That means that its business spans from oil drilling all the way through to the gas pump. This is notable because oil and gas production benefits from high energy prices, while downstream operations like refining tend to benefit when energy prices are low. It provides an inherent balance to the company's business that helps smooth out the ups and downs in the highly cyclical energy sector.

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There are a lot of other companies that follow this model, so that's not unique -- but it is an important benefit for investors. On top of that, the current good times in the oil patch have helped to strengthen TotalEnergies' balance sheet. The company expects to have zero net debt in short order, which means that its cash holdings are roughly as large as its debt obligations. It's a very strong position to be in. The company is also projecting a very low break-even price of around $25 per barrel of oil. That gives it plenty of breathing room should an oil price decline occur.

And, lastly, TotalEnergies has made a huge commitment to clean energy. At this point it is expecting to put around a third of its capital spending into this space so it can change along with the world around it. Most notably, it is making this important business shift while still managing to maintain its dividend payment, something that none of its closest peers has done. All in, if you are looking for a balanced way to play the energy sector, TotalEnergies is a great pick. And its stock is selling for less than $100 a share while paying a generous 4.8% dividend yield (note that U.S. investors will have to pay French taxes on that). 

Avoid the headache

If the inherent ups and downs in the price of oil and natural gas are a bit too much for you, then you might want to look at master limited partnership (MLP) Enterprise Products Partners. Units trade below $100, and the distribution yield is a very generous 7.9%. The key here, however, is that Enterprise doesn't drill for energy, it simply helps to move it from where it is produced to where it gets used.

The MLP is what is known as a midstream company. It collects fees for operating pipelines, storage, processing, and transportation assets. Enterprise is one of the largest midstream companies in North America, with a portfolio that would be difficult if not impossible to replace. While its $50 billion market cap is dwarfed by those of the big integrated oil majors, it is still an energy industry giant in the niche where it operates. 

Although the partnership has a strong core business, long-term growth comes from investing in new, fee-generating assets. On that score, Enterprise has $5.5 billion in projects on the drawing board to support long-term distribution growth. The distribution, notably, has been increased for 24 consecutive years and is covered by distributable cash flow by a robust 1.8 times. Add in an investment-grade rated balance sheet, and there's a lot to like here even in the face of energy market volatility.

Being prudent can still be profitable

While you can easily find an energy stock with a high yield or with huge upside exposure to energy prices, that probably isn't the best way to go about investing in the energy sector for most investors. If you want exposure to oil and natural gas, TotalEnergies can provide that while offering a solid foundation and a hedge against the shift toward cleaner alternatives. Enterprise, meanwhile, provides huge distributions while limiting the impact of energy price volatility on your cash flow. Both are great options that can be bought for under $100 a share today.