Investing in Energy Markets Part 2: Oil, Gas and Energy

by Tuesday, September 30, 2014

It’s no secret that the energy industry is very profitable, with oil and gas making up 80% of the market.

Thus, these two resources attract the most people. They are the best energy investment resources due to high demand and wide range of options. However, with energy scares fresh in our recent memory and the climate change movement greatly affecting energy policy, new alternatives are constantly being sought.

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Everything that we do requires some type of energy. As a result, the price of energy affects the going rate for other commodities as well. When the price of oil increases, the price of transporting goods goes up as well.

That is why the cost of milk fluctuates and why your favorite imported coffee beans are more expensive than Folgers. Factors that contribute to these prices include geopolitics and natural disasters, but can never truly be accounted for in full. That is one of the underlying points to understand and accept about energy markets. Something can always go wrong. Typically, it doesn’t, but when it does things can get hairy and fast.

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Nuclear Nuclear power actually produces 1/10th of the world’s power, without emitting carbon. The United States and China have roughly 75% of the world’s nuclear plants with India and Russia also tapping into the market.

“Green” and renewable energy companies You can invest in different companies that place an emphasis on renewable resources by using the stock market. This option is optimal for investors who like the idea of green technology but do not now want to run the risk of investing in developing companies directly. This market has always been tricky from an investment perspective due to volatility. If you have an appetite for risk, however, this is a good place to look.

Modern Energy (solar, wind, geothermal, transportation, efficiency) Modern energy is made up of three major components or categories. They are wind, solar and biomass. The renewable sector is expanding at a rapid rate. We have witnessed a steady employment increase in the energy sector since 2011 with no end in sight. All types of investors and speculators are flocking to the natural resource markets in attempts to get out ahead of the renewable energy trend that could be the way of the future.

Big Oil In 2010, the world market for oil witnessed an incredible increase of 32%, to over $2,100 billion. According to estimations of oil segment professionals, the market’s value will hit $2,683 billion in 2015. The competitiveness of the global market of the crude oil is explained by its limited resources and mankind’s insatiable appetite for growth. This factor should not be disregarded easily. Our desire for more explains the majority of the energy marketplace.

Gas sector The market of natural gas reached $18.5 billion by the end of 2011. Demand for gas has recovered to match and surpass pre-recession levels. The US prices for gas are half of those in Asian countries and the EU. Gas demand decreased 3% in 2009, but at present is on the rise.

Electricity Buying the stock of electricity companies is the preferred way of entering this marketplace. The majority of the participation in electricity markets, however, takes place in the futures markets. Since power companies are constantly projecting and calibrating their loads, the futures market is the only place where investors with this sort of risk profile will feel that they belong.

Coal Many non-coal energy sectors directly depend on the performance of coal because burning coal has been proven to produce enough energy to support high demand. Due to recent regulations in the US by the Environmental Protection Agency, coal has taken a minor hit, but until a massive, institutionalized adoption of newer technology, it is highly unlikely coal will be going anywhere for the foreseeable future. In other words, coal is very much a barometer for this market. Though it is unlikely to happen any time soon, a massive dip in coal production would likely signal the emergence of a new viable energy source.

Hydro Hydropower energy is still very limited but there has been over $75 billion in investments pledged to R&D before the year 2020. There are some companies worth checking into, but for now this is very much a long term play.

Energy Funds These funds are established with companies related to the energy field. Be aware that some energy funds are more successful than others and produce a higher return than others. Often times, the energy funds are established to diversify various portfolios and minimize risk.

Read more on How Natural Resource Distribution affects your wealth

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