The oil & gas industry comprises upstream companies that explore and produce energy, midstream pipeline companies that transport and store energy, and downstream companies that refine oil and gas into finished products. Additionally, there are companies that provide oilfield drilling equipment and services. Some also manufacture and maintain equipment used in production. The industry's biggest companies are Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A), U.K.-based BP PLC (BP), and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM).

Oil demand and prices collapsed a year ago as COVID-19 prompted governments to shut down commerce and require millions of people to stay at home. However, crude oil prices have recovered after governments have gradually permitted businesses to reopen, and new vaccines have opened the door to an economic recovery.

The oil & gas industry is best represented by the Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLE). While the energy sector consists of non-oil & -gas companies, its dominant components are from the oil & gas industry. Therefore, the energy sector's performance is a good benchmark for the oil & gas sector as a whole. The XLE ETF posted a total return of 46.1% over the last year, outperforming the Russell 1000's 44.4%, return. These figures and all statistics in the tables below are as of June 14.

Here are the top 3 oil and gas stocks with the best value, the fastest growth, and the most momentum.

Best Value Oil and Gas Stocks

These are the oil and gas stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Best Value Oil and Gas Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
California Resources Corp. ( CRC) 33.28 2.8 0.8
NuVista Energy Ltd. ( NVA.TO) CA$3.09 CA$0.7 1.2
Spartan Delta Corp. ( SDE.V) CA$5.70 CA$0.6 3.2

Source: YCharts

  • California Resources Corp.: California Resources is an independent oil & natural gas exploration and production company focused on the California market. It emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October of last year. For Q1 2021, the company's net loss narrowed sharply to $94 million from $1.8 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.
  • NuVista Energy Ltd.: NuVista Energy is a Canada-based oil & natural exploration and production company focused on the Montney formation in Alberta.
  • Spartan Delta Corp: Spartan Delta is an oil & natural gas exploration and production company based in Western Canada. High commodity prices helped the company to post net income of $59.2 million in Q1 2021 after reporting a net loss of $4.8 million the same quarter a year earlier.

Fastest Growing Oil and Gas Stocks

These are the top oil and gas stocks as ranked by a growth model that scores companies based on a 50/50 weighting of their most recent quarterly YOY percentage revenue growth and their most recent quarterly YOY earnings-per-share (EPS) growth. Both sales and earnings are critical factors in the success of a company. Therefore, ranking companies by only one growth metric makes a ranking susceptible to the accounting anomalies of that quarter (such as changes in tax law or restructuring costs) that may make one or the other figure unrepresentative of the business in general. Companies with quarterly EPS or revenue growth of over 2,500% were excluded as outliers.

Fastest Growing Oil and Gas Stocks
  Price ($) Market Cap ($M) EPS Diluted (%) Revenue Growth (%)
Ecopetrol SA ( EC) 13.11 26,950 2,220 12.6
Hoegh LNG Partners LP ( HMLP) 17.11 570.8 1,380 -5.2
Headwater Exploration Inc. ( HWX.TO) CA$4.46 CA$872.3 N/A (See Company Description) 1,000

Source: YCharts

  • Ecopetrol S.A.: Ecopetrol S.A. is a Colombian integrated oil company involved in oil exploration, production, refining, and transportation in the country. It is majority state-owned. In Q1 2021, the company reported a sharp increase in net profit compared to the same period a year earlier. The results were fueled by higher oil prices and increased gas production.
  • Hoegh LNG Partners LP: Hoegh LNG Partners is a Bermuda-based floating, storage, and regasification unit (FSRU) master limited partnership. It provides floating LNG processing import terminals to companies.
  • Headwater Exploration Inc.: Headwater Exploration is a Canadian energy company involved in production, exploration, and development of oil and natural gas facilities in the province of Alberta. For Q1 2021, it reported negative earnings, posting a net loss of nearly $12.8 million compared to a $6.8 million loss in the same period a year earlier. Due the Q1 2021 loss, a number cannot be calculated for the EPS growth section in the above table.

Oil and Gas Stocks with the Most Momentum

These are the oil and gas stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months. Companies with total returns over 2500% were excluded as outliers.

Oil and Gas Stocks with the Most Momentum
  Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
California Resources Corp. ( CRC) 33.28 2.8 2,310
Aemetis Inc. ( AMTX) 14.15 0.4 1,810
Reconnaissance Energy Africa Ltd. ( RECO.V) CA$8.92 CA$1.4 1,290
iShares Russell 1000 ETF ( IWB) N/A N/A 44.4
Energy Select Sector SPDR ETF ( XLE) N/A N/A 46.1

Source: YCharts

  • California Resources Corp.: See description above.
  • Aemetis Inc.: Aemetis is a renewable natural gas and fuel company that acquires, develops, and commercializes technologies designed to replace traditional carbon-based products and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reconnaissance Energy Africa Ltd.: Reconnaissance Energy Africa is an oil & gas company engaged in the exploration and development of petroleum reserves in the Kavango Basin that straddles northeast Namibia and northwest Botswana. In April, it signed a letter of intent to acquire Mexico-based Renaissance Oil for a transaction value of $155 million.

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