One of the biggest stories throughout 2013 has no doubt been America’s “energy renaissance”. Who could argue? There certainly seems to be no disputing the fact that by end of the present decade, the US will indeed be the world’s largest producer and exporter of oil and gas.
Advances in exploration technology, primarily in the form of seismic imaging, and in extraction technology, in the form of horizontal drilling and, of course, hydraulic fracturing, have allowed companies, particularly smaller independent outfits, to tap into vast and previously unreachable reserves in shale formations lying deep beneath the surface of the earth.
The Marcellus, the Eagle Ford, and the Permian Basin have since practically become household names, as major epicenters of the “shale boom” that is sending the US well on its way to a milestone that many were taught could only be achieved through renewable sources like wind and solar power, if at all. But now, the once idealistic, even quixotic notion of “energy independence” is well on its way to being an undeniable fact of potentially enormous consequence.
While there has already been and will not doubt continue to be a great deal of speculation about what an energy-independent America will mean for international relations, or the global energy market, we can already see some of the effects of the shale boom in the 2013 performance of oil & gas stocks.
The following five stocks were selected from the 82 publicly-traded independent oil & gas sector companies with market-caps greater than $300 million, in other words “small-cap” and up, based solely on 2013 performance. These companies, who all turn out to be small-caps, are the five best performers of their industry in 2013, and all five are also to be found among the year’s 15 best performers in the overall basic materials sector as well.
And their success has been the result of the work they have done locating, drilling, and pumping oil & gas out of some of the best Shale plays the US has to offer, for the time being at least. Come what may of the “shale boom”, these companies have managed to make a good run of it this year:
Gastar Exploration Ltd. (GST)
Market Cap: $365.95 million
Year-to-date Performance: +427 percent
Rank in Basic Materials Sector in 2013: #1
Shale Plays: Marcellus (West Virginia), Oklahoma
Diamondback Energy Inc. (FANG)
Market Cap: $2.30 billion
Year-to-date Performance: +172 percent
Rank in Basic Materials Sector in 2013: #3
Shale Plays: Permian Basin (West Texas)
Matador Resources Company (MTDR)
Market Cap: $1.11 billion
Year-to-date Performance: +132 percent
Rank in Basic Materials Sector in 2013: #11
Shale Plays: Eagle Ford (South Texas), Haynesville (Louisiana/Texas), Mead Peak (Wyoming, Utah, Idaho), Wolfcamp (New Mexico/Texas)
Penn Virginia Corporation (PVA)
Market Cap: $631.74 million
Year-to-date Performance: +119 percent
Rank in Basic Materials Sector in 2013: #14
Shale Plays: Eagle Ford, Haynesville
Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (CRZO)
Market Cap: $1.78 billion
Year-to-date Performance: +111 percent
Rank in Basic Materials Sector in 2013: #15
Shale Plays: Eagle Ford, Niobrara (Colorado), Uticah (Ohio/Pennsylvania)