Natural Gas Investing: Private Equity Firms Smell Blood

May 11, 2012 | By More

No doubt about it, the past two years have been a complete disaster for many natural gas exploration and production (E&P) companies.  With the price of their product falling through the floor, producers are taking it on the chin.

Revenues are sinking, margins are getting mauled, and balance sheets are broken- all due to the remarkable collapse in natural gas prices.

As you can see, it’s been nothing but pain for natural gas bulls in recent years. Abundant supplies have the commodity trading at decade how prices.
How are natural gas producers coping?

It’s survival of the fittest right now.  Low prices are pressuring companies into selling their natural gas assets.  Producers are dumping gas acreage at fire sale prices to shore up their books.  They’re also divesting natural gas acreage so they have cash to buy oil and natural gas liquids properties… a more profitable venture.

Who would want to buy depressed natural gas acreage?

Smart money is all over it…

Private equity firms Blackstone Group LP (BX), KKR & C0. (KKR), and Apollo Global Management (APO) are all on the hunt for cheap natural gas assets.  These sharks smell blood in the water, and they’re going on a feeding frenzy.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the first quarter of 2012 saw $11 billion in private equity oil and gas transactions… the highest level in the past 20 years.

Why are these firms going ga-ga for gas?

Private equity realizes the deeply depressed natural gas pricing situation will right itself at some point.  Surging demand from utilities, growing transportation usage, and recently approved export terminals all point to higher natural gas prices in the long run.

Once prices return to a normalized level (which they will), private equity firms will be sitting on a natural gas gold mine.

What does private equity’s natural gas buying spree mean for investors like you?

There are a slew of natural gas E&Ps trading at cheap, beaten down prices right now.  It’s tempting to go on a shopping spree like the private equity firms I just mentioned.

But this is one investment arena where you have to be extremely careful. Minefields are abundant in natural gas E&P investing right now.  But if you know what to look for, there’s enormous profit potential as well.

As a matter of fact, there is a bunch of gas producers priced below $10.00 right now.  But there are only a select few I’m confident will make it out of the current natural gas price depression in one piece.  And once they do, investors who scooped up shares at today’s bargain basement prices will be rewarded heftily.

Unfortunately, I can’t reveal which companies are at the top of my buy list.  These high profit potential ideas are reserved for subscribers to the The Energy Investor.

But the good news is, another issue of my flagship energy service comes out next week.  In it, I’m revealing my favorite gas E&P stock that’s ready to rocket higher when natural gas rebounds.

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Category: Commodities

About the Author ()

Justin Bennett is the editor of Commodity ETF Alert, an investment advisory focused on profiting from the ebb and flow of important commodities via ETFs. The commodity veteran and options specialist is also a regular contributor to the Dynamic Wealth Report. Every week, Justin shares his thoughts with our readers on a variety of commodity-related topics. Justin is also a frequent contributor to Commodity Trading Research’s free daily e-letter. And he’s the editor of another highly successful and popular investment advisory, the Options Profit Pipeline.

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