Recent oil discoveries in South America have put that continent on the map for investors looking to profit from the development of these resources. While there are many companies that will be operating in the region over the years, these five are among the first movers. That makes these stocks the five best to play this coming oil production boom.
It's well known that Brazil is blessed with massive oil reserves. The discovery of the pre-salt reserves has added nearly 100 billion barrels of oil equivalent reserves to Brazil's total estimated reserves. The problem for investors is that the country is keeping those reserves for itself.
That makes Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) one of the best pure-play stocks to buy if you want to invest in the growth of oil production. The company is investing heavily to explore and develop these massive oil fields with a goal to produce 1 million barrels of oil per day by 2016. But it's not the only company operating offshore: Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL) is another potential stock play here. One of the interesting things it's doing is looking at spinning off part its Brazilian business. This will help the company navigate the country's regulations while retaining upside as offshore oil production grows. It will also help the company to continue producing income to keep its top-tier dividend flowing back to investors.
Shale oil in Argentina
While Brazil's offshore reserves are well known, we're just beginning to learn the extent of the shale oil reserves in Argentina. A recent study by the EIA found that Argentina has the fourth-largest technically recoverable shale oil resources, as well as the second-largest shale gas reserves. In fact, the total barrels of oil equivalent are actually estimated to be more than the pre-salt reserves of Brazil.
That potential is drawing many exploration and production companies to the country, including EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG). While currently just a small exploratory operation for the company, Argentina's potentially vast resources could be a big future growth driver for EOG. That's because the country's main shale oil play has the resource potential to make the Eagle Ford Shale look like an eaglet, if it can be economically developed. EOG is very early to the play which makes it one of the best oil stocks to buy if you want to invest in the pure upside from Argentinian oil production growth.
Another top stock to consider buying is midstream operator Buckeye Partners (NYSE:BPL). While a bulk of the company's assets are in the U.S., the crown jewel is its BORCO storage terminal business in the Bahamas. This asset is of strategic importance to the region as it provides Latin American producers with storage and blending options. As you can see in the map below, the asset's strategic location puts it in the best position to be a regional hub for the movement of crude oil and refined products. If oil production in the region comes as expected, the company has more than enough room to double its current capacity, which means lots of growth potential for investors.
Oil and gas producers won't be the only big winners in South America. Not only is there a great need for contract drillers like Seadrill and logistics providers like Buckeye, but the industry needs oil-field services companies like Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) to assist in getting that oil out of the ground. Halliburton has been investing to grow its business in South America and recently opened a new technology and innovation center in Brazil to help the country develop its resources. Not only that, but the company just provided completion services to the largest shale well drilled in Argentina. Overall, its Latin American revenue grew 21% year over year while offering the company a vast opportunity to capture more growth in the future. This makes Halliburton one of the best overall stocks to buy when looking to invest in worldwide oil and gas production growth.
Final Foolish thoughts
There are a lot of potential winners as South America begins to produce more oil. If you want to play both Argentina and Brazil then the name you may want is Halliburton. Not only is it investing in technology and innovation in Brazil, but the company is also a leader in fracking technology. This makes it one of the best stocks to buy for an investor looking for the key to helping Argentina unlock its shale resources.
Matt DiLallo has the following options: Short Jul 2013 $35 Puts on Seadrill. The Motley Fool recommends Halliburton, Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (ADR), and Seadrill. The Motley Fool owns shares of Seadrill. 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.