Ultra Petroleum (NASDAQ:UPL) is the leading producer in the natural gas arena, reason being that their focus is almost entirely on natural gas. This is in contrast with companies like Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK), Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN), and SandRidge Energy (UNKNOWN:SD.DL), all of which balance oil production as well.
With natural gas prices slowly creeping up, expect to see $4 per 1,000 cubic feet in the not-too-distant future. At $4, Ultra Petroleum will be able to drive 8%-10% returns on small wells, which is far better than the industry can do as a whole. Ultimately, UPL's specialization goes to show that when prices are low, lack of differentiation can spell major trouble, but once prices start to rise, this positioning can lead to an industry's share of rewards.
Fool.com analyst Joel South recently saw Ultra Petroleum's company presentation, which provided insight at the firm level as well as a valuable look at the present natural gas market. Watch the video below for Joel's takeaways from the presentation and his analysis of Ultra Petroleum's prospects for the future.
Another player in this space with an exciting future is SandRidge Energy. Investors were startled after SandRidge plummeted when natural gas prices reached 10-year lows, but with the company halfway through its ambitious three-year plan to profitability, the future looks bright. If you are unsure about the future of this emerging oil and gas junior, and are looking to find out more about its strengths and weaknesses, you should view this brand new premium report detailing SandRidge's game plan and what to expect from the company going forward. To get started -- click here!
Joel South has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Taylor Muckerman has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Devon Energy and Ultra Petroleum and has the following options: long JAN 2013 $16.00 calls on Chesapeake Energy, long JAN 2013 $25.00 calls on Chesapeake Energy, short JAN 2014 $17.00 puts on Chesapeake Energy, long JAN 2014 $20.00 calls on Chesapeake Energy, long JAN 2014 $30.00 calls on Chesapeake Energy, short JAN 2014 $20.00 puts on Ultra Petroleum, long JAN 2014 $30.00 calls on Ultra Petroleum, long JAN 2014 $40.00 calls on Ultra Petroleum, and long JAN 2014 $50.00 calls on Ultra Petroleum. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Ultra Petroleum. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.