3 Oil Stocks For A Romney Victory
Knowing that investors start to get politically sensitive at this point in a presidential election year, it must be noted this piece is not an endorsement of one candidate over another. Rather, the point is to offer up some energy equities that could be winners for investors if Republican challenger Mitt Romney does become the next president of the U.S.
To be fair, energy stocks have performed quite well since President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009. At the time Obama was sworn into office, the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSE: XLE) was trading in the mid $40s. That ETF closed just over $73 on September 10.
Some would even say that U.S. oil production increased because of Obama. While it is true the U.S. was a net oil exporter last year, it is also true that imports here are falling because of sluggish economic growth, as legendary energy investor T. Boone Pickens acknowledged in an interview with CNBC.
Only time will tell if a change in residents at the White House will benefit stocks, but the following energy names do stand a good chance of benefiting from a Romney presidency.
Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) It is a shame that California is so stridently liberal when it comes to politics because California-based Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY) is sitting on a potential goldmine in the form of the Monterey Shale. Estimates vary wildly about how much crude can be recovered in the Monterey Shale where Occidental is the dominant operator, but last year the Energy Department said 15 billion barrels seems feasible.
The problem as it pertains to oil exploration and production in California is not finding oil. It is getting permits approved for new exploration. At a time when the state desperately needs jobs, onshore oil production is one way of boosting employment.
Even if Occidental does not get all that it wants in the near-term in its home state, it should be noted the company only explores for oil and natural gas onshore. Its presence in other U.S. shale plays means the company could benefit from any administration committed to increasing U.S. energy output.
Hess (NYSE: HESS) There are a couple of potential "X" factors that need to be acknowledged. First, the company has been mentioned as possible takeover target for cash-rich Chevron (NYSE: CVX). Second, Hess does have some problems in Russia that sound like scenes straight out of a gangster movie.
So if the company is not acquired and investors look past the Russia issues, Hess stands to be a prime beneficiary of a Romney White House because of the company's dominant footprint in the Bakken Shale.
BP (NYSE: BP) More than two years removed from the worst oil spill in U.S. history, the legal drama for Europe's second-largest oil company may just be getting started. In recent weeks, the Justice Department has stepped up its rhetoric against BP and if the company is found guilty of gross negligence in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, it could be on the hook for up to $21 billion in Clean Water Act damages.
Romney will not be able to influence a court's decision, but a fresh start, politically speaking, could be just what BP needs in the U.S. Before the spill, the company was the largest operator in the Gulf. Do not confuse BP's sale of $5.5 billion worth of mature Gulf assets to Plains Exploration (NYSE: PXP) as meaning the British oil major does not want to operate in the Gulf any longer. Quite the contrary. The company appears adamant about bolstering production there.
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