After an Exciting Year for Petroleum, Natural Gas Takes Center Stage for Investors

Last year was an exciting one for many energy investors, with the price of petroleum on global commodity markets plummeting to around $20 per barrel before doubling back to its previous level. While that somewhat unexpected plunge and reversal understandably took many by surprise, a fair number of investors made out very well for themselves on at least one side of the overall development. This year, on the other hand, has so far turned out to be somewhat less interesting seeming, with many predicting a fairly stable petroleum price regime for some time to come. As those who browse this page will see, there are good reasons for such predictions, but also some interesting plays to research for investors who seek impressive returns from the energy markets.

Last year’s drama, of course, was largely the result of several different factors that combined to send prices down sharply, albeit only temporarily. With Saudi Arabia and the OPEC members that follow its lead having achieved their shared goal of pushing some North American shale oil producers out of the market, the group sought to deliver a final blow to at least a few more. A surge in production on the part of OPEC happened to coincide with increased output from a number of other global producers, even while demand was holding fairly steady. When it became clear that many of the remaining shale oil operations in the United States and Canada were content to keep pumping even in the face of that pressure, the price of petroleum dropped quickly.

It recovered soon thereafter, and has remained in that broad price band ever since. This has led some investors to suppose that oil might not be such an interesting play in the months and even years to come, but this is not to say that the energy markets themselves have become devoid of potential. In fact, with global demand for natural gas now growing steadily as more of the necessary infrastructure comes online, some experts suppose that this fossil fuel will be the next one to provide truly impressive returns. As the price of natural gas continues to climb, certain businesses that specialize in extracting or transporting are starting to look like good bets.