Photo credit: LINN Energy LLC  

For a number of reasons LINN Energy (OTC:LINEQ), and by association its affiliate LinnCo (NASDAQ: LNCO) have become a battleground investment. Many investors love the super high yielding distributions the pair pays monthly. Others worry that those payouts could come to an end. Finally, there are some that just don't think LINN Energy is worth owning anymore.

On top of that investors have similar choices when it comes to high yielding oil and gas MLPs. BreitBurn Energy Partners' (OTC:BBEPQ) distribution yield is about the same as LINN Energy. However, BreitBurn produces more oil as a percentage of its production, and as a smaller company it could offer more upside. On the other hand, Vanguard Natural Resources (NASDAQ: VNR) offers a lower yield, but it has massive upside to natural gas. Because of this investors have a choice when it comes to massive energy dividends.

That's why it is important for investors to cut through all the noise and really understand what an investment in LINN Energy or LinnCo represents. The following slideshow is meant to help investors better understand what LINN Energy actually owns, how it makes its money, where it's different from BreitBurn and Vanguard as well as what its future might hold. Only then can investors judge if the 10% yield of LINN Energy or LinnCo is worth adding or keeping in their portfolio.

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.