The current downturn in the oil market has made one thing abundantly clear: Not all shale drillers are alike. In fact, it is often the key differences between companies that is what's separating the winners and the losers. Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) is one company that strives to distinguish itself from the rest of the sector. In doing so, it has set itself up for long-term success. 

One example of how Pioneer differentiates itself from its peers is by investing alongside its midstream partner Targa Resources (NYSE:TRGP) to ensure that natural gas processing plants are built in time to meet its needs. Together, the partners have built 655 MMCF/D of capacity, of which Pioneer uses a third. Furthermore, Targa Resources and Pioneer are building another 200 MMCF/D of capacity that's expected to come on line next quarter to help support Pioneer's growth plans. Combined, Pioneer owns a 27% interest in Targa Resources' natural gas processing system that services its core acreage, which not only ensures it has the capacity it needs, but enables the company to earn a profit from this investment. 

To learn more about what differentiates Pioneer Natural Resources from its peers, check out the slideshow below. 

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.