Oil prices have been depressed for more than two years, and the falling price has pushed some oil stocks below $1 per share, making them penny stocks. However, the International Energy Agency has predicted an end to the world oil oversupply in late 2017, and OPEC has entered into two agreements to limit production levels.

These developments pushed oil above $50 per barrel, but oil continues to dip below that level, struggling to move upward. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has issued a forecast for oil prices of $52 to $53 per barrel for the remainder of 2017. That would mean oil prices would have to rise from their current levels of just below $50 per barrel and hold on to their gains for the rest of the year. If that happens, some beaten-down oil stocks may rise above the $1-per-share mark.

The fact that these low-priced energy stocks have survived the oil slump may speak to their resilience. They were chosen based on their longevity and potential to profit from higher oil prices, as well as the EIA’s prediction for higher natural gas prices through 2017. All figures are current as of September 7, 2017. (To improve your trading skills, Investopedia Academy has a day trading course online.)

1. EnerJex Resources Inc.

EnergJex (ENRJ) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. It was a $10 stock in 2013, but has since fallen to $0.31 per share as of this writing.

ENRJ makes its living producing oil and gas through leases in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska, and Texas. The company has been paring its net operating income losses for the past four quarters.

  • Avg. Volume: 406,532
  • Market Cap: $3.148 million
  • PE Ratio (TTM): 1.59
  • EPS (TTM): 0.19

2. Petro River Oil

The stock price for Petro River Oil (PTRC) saw a dramatic drop since 2013, and is now around $2.50 a share.

The company develops oil internationally, with a presence in Oklahoma, California, Ireland, England, and Denmark. The company uses 3D seismic analysis to find oil resources.

PTRC has shown increased cash reserves in the past five quarters, so it could be in a position to acquire assets to take advantage of higher oil prices.

  • Avg. Volume: 41,434
  • Market Cap: $32.47 million
  • PE Ratio (TTM): -10.85
  • EPS (TTM): -0.19

3. Exco Resources Inc.

Exco Resources (XCO) is another penny stock currently trading on the New York Stock Exchange. It dropped below $1 per share in December 2016. It is currently at $1.13. Total revenues have been decreasing for the past three quarters, but operating income has been growing during that period.

The consensus recommendation from analysts is a “sell.” However, the company gets 90% of its revenue from natural gas, and positive forecasts for that commodity in 2017 bode well for the company. It has consistently beaten analysts’ earnings estimates in recent quarters.

  • Avg. Volume: 769,379
  • Market Cap: $34.59 million
  • PE Ratio (TTM): 0.21
  • EPS (TTM): 7.59

4. Granite Oil Corp. (GXOCF)

Granite focuses on the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. The company declared a dividend of $0.035 cents per share in May 2017. Management has reduced costs significantly to make up for declining oil prices, and debt is relatively low. The fact that the company has not eliminated its dividend bodes well.

Granite's stock price has fallen since the beginning of April, to around $3.00 per share. This is one to watch to see if it turns around.

  • Avg. Volume: 4,967
  • Market Cap: $101.74 million
  • PE Ratio (TTM): 54.03
  • EPS (TTM): 0.06

The Bottom Line

There is a saying among investors that goes, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” But the rising tide of oil prices won’t lift a leaky boat. Penny oil stocks on this list have seen better days. They are not startups; they are has-beens. In other words, these plays are for those who see significant odds that the companies can turn around.

To be sure, the drop in oil prices was not the fault of any of these companies, but that doesn’t change the fact that they will have to make some quick moves to reverse their financial fortunes.

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