MILLBURN, N.J. ( Stockpickr) -- Recently crude oil prices have spiked, creating a series of macroeconomic concerns, of which rising gasoline prices, the increased potential for a recession and a reversal of recent stock market gains are taking center stage.
I attribute the rise in crude oil prices to a series of concurrent events and conditions such as:
1. Concerns over mounting tensions associated with the nuclear weapons threat coming out of Iran.
2. Trapped crude oil, which is unable to make itself from Canada or Oklahoma to the coastal refineries in the U.S.
3. Lack of a comprehensive, cogent and practical energy policy from the Obama administration in Washington. Just recently, the administration rallied Democratic senators to reject a Republican amendment to a transportation bill, which would mandate the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
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4. A failure of the CFTC to prevent and curb excessive speculation.
5. The media. Apparently, according to the local, national and cable news, gas prices at the pump are going to $5. That prognostication is based on speculation and not fact or rigorous research.
Points 1, 4 and 5 are, in my opinion, transitory or short-term in nature. I find points 2 and 3 above to provide the greatest opportunity from an investment point of view. This nation cannot get the raw product to the refineries fast enough or efficiently. Thus we need to improve both oil and gas storage and transportation capabilities. In the meantime, existing companies that provide storage and transportation are at an advantage. Furthermore, the aging oil and gas infrastructure will require repair and maintenance.
One conclusion could be that the integrated oil companies might benefit from the increase in crude prices. However, those benefits will be offset by pain caused from a multi-year trough in natural gas prices. Those companies are to be avoided.
Hence, I am seeking small-cap stocks that provide opportunities in what is considered to be the midstream part of the oil and gas industry. Here are
five small-cap opportunities in the oil and gas sector