This story was originally published on RealMoney on June 29 at 3:03 p.m. EDT.

With the midyear point fast approaching, energy remains a powerful investment theme. Certainly, $60 oil and $7-plus natural gas haven't hurt, but even at prices a good 10%-15% below current commodity levels, there are still plenty of opportunities to make money in the energy patch.

That said, all investors know it isn't where prices have been that is important; it's where they are going. And many investors believe it will be harder to make money in the energy space in the second half of the year than it was in the first.

While selectivity may be more important, there will be plenty of opportunities to capture profits in the coming six months. Here's a quick look at three themes that should matter in the back half of 2005.

Drilling for Dollars

I continue to like the drillers, especially the land-based contractors of drilling rigs. With effectively every rig in the U.S. that is available to drill currently at work, day rates should continue to work higher. While there was a widespread belief that margins for companies like Nabors ( NBR - Get Report) and Patterson-UTI ( PTEN - Get Report) could not keep accelerating at the pace seen in the first quarter, second-quarter results may well be just as stout, something most estimates don't currently anticipate.

In addition, there is a growing need for land rigs in international markets, which will tighten domestic markets even more. Nabors continues to see the need for 45 to 60 additional land rigs in foreign markets in the coming months, an estimate that may prove conservative. Given that there is very little additional global spare capacity, rigs may well move from the U.S. to foreign countries and work at higher day rates. The going rate for rigs in Saudi Arabia today is $20,000-plus per day with a three-year term contact.

I continue to think the best way to play the land drilling market is with Nabors, the leader of the group. However, smaller step-out plays like Grey Wolf and Pioneer Drilling also hold promise as rates and utilization continue to press higher, something that appears likely to continue over the next 6 to 12 months.

Drilling Deeper, New Technologies

In addition to more drilling, the need to find larger reservoirs of hydrocarbons has exploration and production companies looking to drill deeper wells, both onshore and offshore.

While a plethora of companies benefit from deeper wells -- tubing manufacturers like NS Group ( NSS) and drill pipe and drillbit manufacturers like Grant Prideco and Baker Hughes ( BHI) -- there are two other companies that could benefit greatly from offshore drilling in the deepwater.

When wells are drilled in the deepwater, there is a lot of work that is done on seafloor: well tiebacks, completion systems and the like. Two companies provide the bulk of that equipment: FMC Technologies ( FTI - Get Report) and Cooper Cameron ( CAM). While FMC has seemed to gain the upper hand in recent orders, there should be plenty of business for both companies over time. As the major integrated oil companies and larger independents begin to announce plans for more deepwater drilling, look for both of these companies to react in anticipation of new orders.

Regardless of your investment interest in these names, I highly recommend that energy investors read up on the brave new world of underwater and seafloor engineering. This is a business that will become very important in the coming years as we continue our quest for new sources of hydrocarbons.

Tight Products: Bullish for Refiners

What do concerns over tight inventories of gasoline and distillates have in common with the fact we have not built a new refinery in the U.S. for nearly three decades?

If you answer that they both feed the bullish case for refining stocks, you would be right. While many of these names have had nice runs in the past couple of years, tight markets for products refined from a barrel of crude oil continue to make refiners look attractive.

While I am no refining expert, I talk regularly to those who are, and there is still money to be made in this group, especially for the nimble investor. The theme is be disciplined and focus on the best in class, which will lead most investors to Valero Energy ( VLO - Get Report).

The second half of the year will focus even more on produce inventories as we approach winter, the peak period for heating oil. And until will build more refineries, those that have capacity should continue to make money.

After a successful first-half of the year, my energy playbook in the second half is simple: drillers, deepwater technology and watch the refiners.

If the energy thesis holds in the second half, that should be a powerful trio.

Christopher S. Edmonds is vice president and director of research at Pritchard Capital Partners, a New Orleans energy investment firm. He is based in Atlanta. At time of publication, neither Edmonds nor his firm held positions in any securities mentioned in this column, although holdings can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. While Edmonds cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.