Oil and gas exploration has taken off this year, amid mutterings of phrases like "peak oil" and "solar power." Analysts estimate that the top independent oil and gas producers spent between 13% and 15% of their capital spending on exploration, up from 8.6% in 2005. The spending has paid off, and discovery after discovery should prompt investors to check out the best E&P outfits as potential investments.
The top 10
Platts Energy recently ranked the top 250 energy companies; the list below is composed solely of the top tier of oil and gas exploration and production companies from those rankings.
Overall Platts 250 Rank
|2||21||Oil and Natural Gas Corp.||$42.8||$25.9||18%|
Canadian Natural Resources
Source: Platts. Dollar figures are in billions.
It's no surprise to see CNOOC at the top of this list. The Chinese company posted a great return on invested capital and is tops in assets and revenue. Chesapeake is surprisingly low on the list. The second largest natural gas producer in the States, it could only muster the second-lowest revenue of the 10 companies listed here.
This list is indicative of the global parity in the oil and gas sector right now, showcasing companies from China, India, Russia, and Japan, as well as the U.S. and Canada.
One more to watch
No E&P left behind
The integrated majors are finding their exploration mojo as well. Eni
Foolish bottom line
Once you've identified some solid E&P investments, take it the next step forward. Every exploration and production company needs an oil field service company to assist in the development of new discoveries -- The Motley Fool's special free report "The Only Energy Stock You'll Ever Need" recommends one such company. Click here to check it out!
Fool contributor Aimee Duffy doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned in this article. If you have the energy, check out what she's keeping an eye on by following her on Twitter, where she goes by @TMFDuffy.
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