Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oil | Gasprom, Statoil, Petrobras

What to the names Gasprom, Statoil and Petrobras have in common? They're all state-owned oil and natural gas energy companies that have a lot of upside potential for oil investors.

When you consider the national monopolies represented by state-owned oil & gas companies, you realize the great potential an energy investor has, assuming they do their homework, as not all nationalized oil companies are the same. Take Mexico and Venezuela, who run their oil exploration companies horribly, and you'd have to have oil in your veins to invest in them.

But in some cases, the competitive advantage for a well run national oil company offers great opportunity.

Take Petrobras of Brazil for a moment. They discovered huge offshore oil fields over the last couple years, and the government offered the prime drilling locations to who? You got it: Petrobras. If any other oil companies are allowed in, you know all they'll get is the leftovers.

Now Statoil, or StoilHydro, from Norway, is in a similar situation, and are positioned for some good profits going forword.

As far as Russian oil company Gazprom, which also has a presence in the UK, they are obviously a much more risky investment, but worthwhile testing out with your spare change rather than serious energy investment money. The Gazprom news is a little more volatile than the oil news concerning other energy companies owned by governments.

Now that the idea is being floated around out there that all the easy oil has been accessed (it hasn't but that's a different story), these national oil and natural gas exploration companies should receive a lot of positive attention from news outlets as the idea of scarcity and higher prices woo oil investors.

We're going to see more oil rigs offshore, and those will be installed by companies like statoil, Petrobras and Gazprom.

Many energy investors don't realize the size of some of the state oil companies even when compared to huge oil and gas firms like Exxon Mobile. Exxon Mobile doesn't have anywhere near the oil and gas capacity that these state oil & gas companies have, and they have to pay taxes, contrary to the national oil and gas companies.

Where does that leave us? It leaves us with huge companies that own a monopoly exploring and drilling a natural resource that will be needed for decades and decades ahead.

Those energy companies owned run by those countries operationally sound way, will bring good returns for investors for years to come. Just think of the country producing the oil and gas to see what the risks are. As risky as the country is in other areas, will be the risk involved for investors in oil and gas.

New techniques used allow oil & gas exploration companies to see through the salty ocean bottoms to find new energy reserves. That is what allowed Petrobras to discover the Tupi and other oil fields which had been there all along.

Depending on what your energy investment strategy is and your personal risk disposition, national companies like Gazprom, Statoil and Petrobras could be places you put your dollars for the long haul.

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