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'Texas of Italy' Shows Strong Energy Potential

Stocks in this article: COP HAL E XOM

France's loss could soon be Italy's gains, with potential profits for investors around the world.

Italy is moving to double its annual oil production by 2020. That will reduce its oil import bill by about one-quarter and immediately benefit the economy. Italy's annual oil import cost is 62 billion Euros. Every Euro that goes abroad to pay for oil is one that doesn't to stay at home to create employment opportunities for Italians. The Great Recession took the unemployment rate in Italy to record levels (over 12%), so every Euro possible is needed.

The more oil pumped in Italy and the more citizens working, the more tax revenues for Rome and the localities of the country.

For investors, there are income, value and growth opportunities in European energy stocks. ExxonMobil has a dividend yield of 2.65%. For ENI SPA, it is 5.12%. The dividend income from Total SA comes at a 5.58% rate. Both BP and Royal Dutch Shell have dividend yields over 4.5%.

Value and growth investors should look to the small cap sector. Both Octagon 88 (up 74.85%) and SeaDrill Partners (up 18.46%) have also done well over the last year of market action. The analyst community remains bullish on each: SISM Research set a target price of $23.11 for Octagon 88, with Global Hunter Securities LLC expecting SeaDrill Partners LLC to reach $38 from around $31.38, according to Finviz.

Investors should expect European governments to be more supportive of the energy sector.

There is nothing but upside. The immediate result will be more jobs and more tax revenues, both desperately needed. Long term, the economies of European nations will grow as the energy sector increases. Investors in the drillers, producers, explorers and others should do well from the European governments doing the right thing for their constituents, their countries and the global economy. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

Jonathan Yates has written for numerous publications including Newsweek and The Washington Post. He is a former general counsel for a publicly traded corporation. Much of his career was spent working on Capitol Hill for Members of Congress in both the House and Senate. He has degrees from Harvard University, Georgetown University Law Center and The Johns Hopkins University.
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