Editor's pick: Originally published Jan. 6.
Shares of Exxon Mobil (XOM - Get Report) fell 14% in 2015, but the oil giant has a lot of positive levers it can pull to turn things around in 2016, said Stewart Glickman, equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ.
"In an environment where there are going to be a lot of companies under some degree of duress, Exxon is probably one of the few that might be able to take advantage with some M&A activity," said Glickman.
Glickman added that Exxon continues to buy back shares and raise its dividend, both increasingly rare financial moves in the troubled energy space.
On the flip side, shares of Valero (VLO - Get Report) surged over 49% last year and Glickman suggested that investors should stick with the refiner in the coming year, especially with gasoline prices remaining low in the U.S.
"They have been the beneficiary of strong gasoline demand," said Glickman. "They are also very well positioned in the U.S. Gulf Coast from the perspective of refined product exports. There are a lot of refined products that are getting moved to Mexico, as well as overseas to the eastern hemisphere."
Shares of EOG Resources (EOG - Get Report) fell 15% in 2015 as the drop in crude and natural gas slammed energy companies across the board. But Glickman said EOG is a best of breed outfit that does a great job of driving costs out of the system.
"Their completed well costs continue to get lower," said Glickman. "I think they spent more money and more effort on R&D -- particularly on well design in places like the Eagle Ford (Shale) and Permian Basin -- that I really think will help their results."
Finally, Glickman is constructive on shares of Occidental Petroleum (OXY - Get Report) , down 12% in 2015, calling it one of the lowest levered energy companies on Wall Street, thereby giving it a degree of safety its rivals do not enjoy.
"I think they have a lot of latitude to do a lot of things," said Glickman. "They are going to generate positive free cash flow, I think it's the highest that we see among all the E&P's that we cover in 2016."
EOG Resources and Occidental Petroleum are among the holdings of Action Alerts PLUS, the charitable trust managed by TheStreet's Jim Cramer.