Usually when we think of infrastructure, visions of bridges, tunnels, buildings, industrial plants, come to mind. When talk turns to energy we think of oil, natural gas, coal, and nuclear power.
Yet the two are inexorably linked together: you need good infrastructure to move energy around, and you can’t create the infrastructure without good sources of cheap energy.
As the world continues – albeit ever so slowly – to wean itself off fossil fuels in favor of greener sources of energy, the two are increasingly talked about in the same conversation.
And for good reason… there’s much new “energy infrastructure” that needs to be created:
- Higher capacity transmission lines to move mid-west wind generated power to densely populated, energy-hungry coastal areas.
- Bigger pipelines to move natural gas from distant places like the north slope of Alaska and Canada to the lower 48 states.
- Storage facilities for both oil and natural gas.
- Liquid Natural Gas terminal facilities both here and abroad.
These are all huge, complicated, expensive projects that take years to build. But before the first shovelful of dirt is turned, detailed designs down to the last nut, bolt and washer have to be created.
In some cases, pilot plants or small systems are engineered and built as proof of concept for new plant designs. And since the end result is only as good as the design construction company behind it, large firms with the depth and breadth of experience are usually tapped to pull these types of projects together.
One company that’s been doing it for years is Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. (NYSE:JEC), one of the world’s biggest technical, professional and construction service companies.
With annual revenues exceeding $12 billion, Jacobs provides project services including design, engineering and architectural services. It also provides consulting services for process and scientific systems.
Its construction services include traditional industrial and commercial construction services, as well as construction management and operations and maintenance services to operate large, complex factories and plants on behalf of the owners.
In the energy and infrastructure field, Jacobs has over 100 years of experience in the gasification and carbon-capture technologies, electrical transmission systems, and power and switching plants.
The company is active in the development of renewable energy projects, including wind farms, tidal power, hydro-power, tidal stream and waste energy plants.
From offshore platforms to gas storage, Jacobs has designed it, built it, managed it and operated it.
As the Obama administration’s economic stimulus dollars begin to flow into the energy and infrastructure space, I expect Jacobs to be a direct beneficiary. And since it is involved in the design phases of new projects, it should see a financial benefit long before the construction gets underway.
Now is a perfect time to consider investing in Jacobs, as the stock is down nearly 80% from its 52-week high – reached last year. Investors who want exposure in the energy and infrastructure sectors would be wise to consider a solid player like Jacobs Engineering Group.