The energy sector is overflowing with company-specific events that many short-term investors use to make directional trading bets employing either the stock or derivative instruments. Here are some upcoming events over the next two quarters that should provide volatility for traders.

TUTORIAL: Introduction To Fundamental Analysis

Niobrara Shale
Continental Resources (NYSE:CLR) is one of the kings of the Bakken formation in North Dakota, but the company is also starting up development of properties in Colorado that are prospective for the Niobrara Shale.

Continental Resources just finished hydraulic fracturing operations on its first Niobrara well, located in Weld County. The well is currently flowing back fracturing fluid, and investors are looking for a good initial production number here to validate the company's investment.

Another company active in Weld County is Whiting Petroleum (NYSE:WLL), which is at the tail end of a seven well exploratory program. The company has approximately 75,000 net acres under lease and may release results of some of these wells once completion operations are finished.

While investors have bid up stocks with exposure to this play, the Niobrara is very much at an early stage of exploration and development, with few results released to date. In February 2011, QEP Resources (NYSE:QEP) plugged and abandoned a well targeting this formation after it was determined to be uneconomic.

Cabot Oil and Gas (NYSE:COG) is testing out the Heath formation, a new play on its acreage in Montana. The company just finished drilling a well and plans to start completion operations in May 2011. If Cabot Oil and Gas reports a successful well here, the stock may move sharply as investors may extrapolate the potential of the Heath across the company's entire acreage position.

Quicksilver Resources (NYSE:KWK) has been slowly developing the Horn River Basin and has 130,000 net acres under lease. The company has drilled eight wells and plans to drill two more in 2011. Quicksilver Resources has also drilled its first well into the Exshaw oil formation in the Horn River Basin, and plans to complete the well during the summer of 2011.

The results of this well will be highly anticipated by investors as the industry has not disclosed the results of many wells into the Exshaw. Like the Heath, a successful well here with a high proportion of oil and liquids might be extrapolated across the company's acreage position in the Horn River Basin.

Another company with exposure to the Exshaw is Murphy Oil (NYSE:MUR) which has acreage in Alberta that is prospective for this formation. The company is currently conducting appraisal drilling on its properties and has not released any details to date.

The Bottom Line
Traders love volatility and the energy sector has no shortage of upcoming tradable data points that can quickly move stocks up or down. (Before jumping into this hot sector, learn how these companies make their money. Check out Oil And Gas Industry Primer.)

Use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

Related Articles
  1. Professionals

    Chinese Slowdown Affects Iron Ore Market

    The Chinese economy's ongoing slowdown is having a major impact on iron ore demand.
  2. Investing Basics

    Why do Debt to Equity Ratios Vary From Industry to Industry?

    Obtain a better understanding of the debt/equity ratio, and learn why this fundamental financial metric varies significantly between industries.
  3. Personal Finance

    A Day in the Life of an Equity Research Analyst

    What does an equity research analyst do on an everyday basis?
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged

    Find out about the PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged ETF, and learn detailed information about characteristics, suitability and recommendations of it.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Morningstar Small-Cap Value

    Find out about the Shares Morningstar Small-Cap Value ETF, and learn detailed information about this exchange-traded fund that focuses on small-cap equities.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ProShares Large Cap Core Plus

    Learn information about the ProShares Large Cap Core Plus ETF, and explore detailed analysis of its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  7. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Core Growth Allocation

    Find out about the iShares Core Growth Allocation Fund, and learn detailed information about its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  8. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility

    Learn about the iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility exchange-traded fund, which invests in low-volatility equities traded on the U.S. stock market.
  9. Stock Analysis

    Should You Follow Millionaires into This Sector?

    Millionaire investors—and those who follow them—should take another look at the current economic situation before making any more investment decisions.
  10. Professionals

    What to do During a Market Correction

    The market has what? Here's what you should consider rather than panicking.
  1. Equity

    The value of an asset less the value of all liabilities on that ...
  2. Profit Margin

    A category of ratios measuring profitability calculated as net ...
  3. Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

    A three-month period on a financial calendar that acts as a basis ...
  4. Debt Ratio

    A financial ratio that measures the extent of a company’s or ...
  5. Price-Earnings Ratio - P/E Ratio

    The Price-to-Earnings Ratio or P/E ratio is a ratio for valuing ...
  6. Net Present Value - NPV

    The difference between the present values of cash inflows and ...
  1. What is the formula for calculating compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in Excel?

    The compound annual growth rate, or CAGR for short, measures the return on an investment over a certain period of time. Below ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. When does the fixed charge coverage ratio suggest that a company should stop borrowing ...

    Since the fixed charge coverage ratio indicates the number of times a company is capable of making its fixed charge payments ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between the return on total assets and an interest rate?

    Return on total assets (ROTA) represents one of the profitability metrics. It is calculated by taking a company's earnings ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!