NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- I was talking to Stephanie Link today about the oil patch and whether there was any place to confidently invest money. I thought the refining space was one of the few that still offered some good, long-term value.
There are a couple of reasons why refiners offer a good place to look for value. First, when oil prices fall, it takes many of the shares of refiners with them, even though a dropping price of crude is often good for them. Low crude prices mean the input costs for refined products go down. Also, with a lower gas prices, generally demand goes up.
As with all sub-sectors, however, there are some better candidates to consider. I would want a refiner that would be close to the most distressed of the oil producers as they are likely to get the best price for a very steady supply. I would also like to see a very good midstream pipeline network that allows not only unfettered access to crude, but also good transport of finished refined products.
Finally, I would pick a refiner based upon its relative ability to drop down its own pipeline and terminal assets at some point into a sister master limited partnership-type company. Many of the refiners have begun this process, which naturally unlocks value and boosts share price. Both Marathon Petroleum (MPC) and Valero VLO have this specific set of characteristics and are solid recommendations.