Investing in the Oil Sector

There is advantages to investing in areas of the stock market that you know or have some personal experience with on a daily basis. Nearly everyone is effected in one way or another by the commodity oil. If you are an individual you take note of prices at the gas pump, heating bill and other uses of oil. If you are a business owner the price of oil is a factor in the operation of your business. For the purposes of this article the two areas that will be covered is oil & gas and oil service stocks. The first area oil & gas covers some of the big oil stocks whose names you may know. The second area is the oil service stocks that support and aid the extraction and distribution of oil.

Big Oil & Gas:

For all the rhetoric and interesting speculation about “green energy,” and the alternative fuels like ethanol, biomass, and wind energy the present circumstances places the lion share of energy that moves the world in the lap of the oil industry. Names you not only hear about, but have been around in one shape or another for a century. Chevron, Exxon-Mobil, Conoco-Philips, British Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell and Hess Corporation. These companies have an individual market capitalization of hundreds of billion of dollars, with the exception of Hess that has a mere 19 billion in market cap. It is hard to imagine a more solid group of stocks with as much clout as this elite club.

All of the stocks mentioned above are involved in exploration, distribution and marketing of oil products around the world. Their influence and their financial worth allows them to invest in costly drilling, manufacturing and distribution of oil in all of its forms. While the rhetoric continues about building and providing alternative sources of energy. These companies presently support a significant percentage of the every day uses of energy. Some of the big oil companies even support blends of biomass fuels and ethanol as a compliment to their own primary purposes.

The cost of purchasing stock in this stock is relatively cheap when you consider the likes of Google selling for in excess of $500 per share. Still other intellectual property stocks on the market and conglomerates sell for in excess of $200 a share. The range of prices in Big Oil is between $61 to $89 per share. What you get is a stock that is capitalized with billions of dollars, has a management team that is beyond exceptional and an underlying product “oil” that is in short supply.

For the moral investor that blames Big Oil for the environmental mess, wars and other maladies the world faces the only American not to blame are the Amish with their horse and buggies. Still, the Amish may leave a smaller foot print, but we all have in one way or another impacted and contributed to the need Big Oil has satisfied and will continue to do so. At present there is small improvements everyone can do, but Big Oil’s contribution to a strong economy, and living in a modern society is not going to be replaced any time soon.

The best bet for future stock growth and for pure investment is in oil & gas. Of the Big Oil stocks that are worth looking at Royal Dutch Shell and Conoco-Philips are the two that have some noteable room for short term growth. Another reason to consider Conoco-Philips is that George Soros recently took a position in this company. In investing it is good to follow the leaders. Review the institutional investors in all of the stocks mentioned above and make a decision on which company you think will be a good addition to your portfolio. If in time you make a huge gain take a portion of the profits and contribute to a fledgling “green energy” cooperative.

Oil Service Stocks:

The oil sector would not be complete without mentioning the drillers who get that precious commodity out of the ground, ocean bed or frozen tundra. The oil drilling stocks are rumored by some financial experts to be waning in appeal or topped out. In order to put this in perspective the long history of the oil drilling companies goes back a century. These tough minded riggers and engineers made the oil industry what it is today. The inventive engineers and scientists found astounding ways to detect and then extract oil from the most harsh environmental challenges. The oil drilling stocks are part and parcel of the oil industry.

Recently two of the biggest players in the drilling industry, Transocean Inc, (RIG) and Global Santa Fe Corp. (GSF) announced merger plans. Individually, RIG sells for around $70 per share and RIG in the neighborhood of $102. These companies are backed by billions of dollars and their institutional investors are stellar. Another drilling company of note is Diamond Drilling. This drilling stock is owned by Fidelity Funds, Vanguard Funds, Loews Corp. and Thornburg Investments to name just a few. The oil drilling stocks merit a good look and watch for buying opportunities if there are dips in the near future. In the alternative you can choose a mutual fund from one of the institutional investors mentioned in this piece that focuses on the oil sector.

This has been a brief overview of the oil sector. Review your investment objectives and seek the advice of licensed estate planner or stock broker. Company prospectives are available on-line and by mail.