Oil prices are rallying, and the global glut of oil from 2014-2016 is finally wearing down. That means investment opportunities. 

Brent crude, the international benchmark, has climbed to over $75 a barrel for the first time in four years. We can credit this to multiple catalysts, including robust demand, supply challenges from Russia and increasing geopolitical tensions in Syria and Iran. In particular, analysts highlight the chance of renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran as a key factor driving prices.

So which stocks look set to benefit from this new golden era? Here we use TipRanks' stock screener to pinpoint four stocks with big exposure to rising oil prices. All these stocks share a very bullish 'strong buy' analyst consensus rating based only on ratings from the last three months. 

Chevron Corporation

Shares in California-based oil giant Chevron (CVX) - Get Report are spiking right now. In the last five days shares are up 3.5% -- this figure rises to 12% on a one-month basis. Crucially, Chevron stands to benefit the most from greater upside to oil prices. This is because Chevron has among the highest leverage to oil prices among its peers. In 2017, for example, Chevron produced 2.728 million net oil-equivalent barrels per day from its operations around the world.

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RBC Capital's Biraj Borkhataria explains that "Higher commodity prices are obviously a catalyst for any commodity producer, but Chevron would likely benefit more than peers given its high operating leverage, especially with its liquids-heavy exposure."

At the same time, says Borkhataria, "in a higher oil price environment, underlying CFFO [cash flow from operations] could surprise positively (to our $27bn estimate), as higher profitability could mean the TCO project could potentially pay a higher dividend to the parent." TCO- otherwise known as Tengizchevroil- is Chevron's $37 billion consortium project in Kazakhstan.

Overall, Chevron boasts seven buy ratings and only one hold rating from top-performing analysts. These analysts see Chevron shares rising a further 12% to hit $142. Bear in mind that Chevron is also one of the best dividend stocks out there with a 3.6% dividend yield.

Pioneer Natural Resources 

Exploration and production company Pioneer Natural (PXD) - Get Report has a strategy to become a pure-play on the Permian Basin. In the Permian Basin alone, Pioneer's acreage could contain 20,000 drilling locations and a whopping 11 BBOE (billion barrels of oil equivalent). And by divesting assets outside the Permian Basin (including Eagleford, Raton (CO), South Texas, and West Panhandle (TX), Pioneer is looking at raising $600-$900 million.

Most encouragingly, top Goldman Sachs analyst Brian Singer has just added Pioneer to his exclusive 'Conviction Buy' stock list. The move comes with a newly-hiked price target of $231. The stock screens favorably on a number of metrics says Singer, including debt-adjusted growth, free-cash-flow, and balance sheet fundamentals. And the best part for shareholders is that this excess free cash flow is widely expected to fund strong stock buybacks and higher dividend payouts.

Overall, this 'strong buy' stock has received eight buy ratings in the last three months. In this same time period, only one analyst has stayed sidelined. In the last month shares are up 19% and looking forward, analysts are predicting (on average) further upside potential of 21% to $235.

Chevron is worth a look.

Concho Resources

Now is the 'Time to Flex Your Muscles' writes RBC Capital's Scott Hanold on our third energy stock. This is because Concho Resources (CXO) - Get Report is now poised to become the biggest player in the Permian Basin. Earlier in April, Concho announced a $9.5 billion deal to snap up fellow Permian fracker RSP Permian.

According to Concho, this deal "creates the largest crude oil and natural gas producer from unconventional shale in the Permian Basin." And the icing on the cake: management is modelling for an impressive $2 billion in acquisition synergies. After the deal closes in the third quarter, these efficiencies should materialize fairly quickly, says management.

In his post-announcement report, Hanold tells clients he is impressed by the 'complimentary' deal. He notes that "our well data shows RSPP wells are among the most prolific, portending to improving returns." Plus, the deal will provide more scale for Concho in the Permian Basin. He concludes: "Core activity should generate industry-leading returns, margins, and growth. CXO has a well-established asset base and is one of the largest producers and the most active operator in the Permian Basin. We think this scale provides significant advantages over its peers."

Shares in Concho have popped 10% in the last month, and according to the Street there is still big growth potential ahead. Indeed, the average analyst price target of $185 indicates 20% upside from current levels. Plus, our data shows that in the last three months, 11 out of 13 analysts have rated the stock a 'Buy'.

Newfield Exploration Co 

To round off this list, we have another Texas-based energy stock- one that has jumped 25% in the last month. The stock had been performing badly, with prices touching as low as $23.4 in March. However, high oil prices pushed investors back into gear and prices are now rising fast. Indeed, Piper Jaffray's David Kistler is forecasting over 50% upside potential for this "strong buy" stock, which focuses on 'liquids-rich unconventional resource play' mainly in the U.S.

If we turn to our data, we can see that five-star RBC Capital analyst Brad Heffern has also just reiterated his Newfield (NFX)  buy rating. He likes its exposure to the 'prolific' Anadarko Basin, and "expects that Newfield will have strongly economic inventory in the Anadarko for years to come." He has a $33 price target on the stock.

Plus: "Newfield has also historically had a cash flow and returns-focused mentality, which we think plays perfectly into current investor preferences. We could easily imagine Newfield spending below cash flow in the future in order to fund capital returns to shareholders."

Heffern is one of ten analysts who have published buy ratings on the stock in the last three months. In the same time period, only two analysts have stayed on the sidelines. The $37 average analyst price target works out at 25% upside from the current share price.

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-Analysis by Harriet Lefton.

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