Penn Virginia is up 20% in the past three months and 35% year to date, yet energy editor Joel South is not convinced that this company will continue to outperform. Penn Virginia has solid assets and can be purchased at a steep discount. but it has a significant debt obstacle to overcome before it can reward shareholders for the long term. With just under $60 million in interest expenses per quarter, and negative earnings, the company has to shore up its balance sheet before it can harvest its newly acquired liquids-heavy assets. 

Penn Virginia is among the majority of oil and gas producers that are shedding their dry gas drilling and moving into liquids. With the oil and gas price disparity growing, energy firms are taking advantage of the high price crude oil fetches and you should as well. If you're on the lookout for some currently intriguing energy plays, check out The Motley Fool's "3 Stocks for $100 Oil." You can get free access to this special report by clicking here.

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.