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Crude oil prices continue to march higher due to geo-political risks and other factors. On the New York Mercantile Exchange March crude rose 0.1% to settle at $90.86 a barrel. Across the U.S. consumers are already feeling the impact of rising oil prices with pump prices well above $3.00 a gallon.With the economy slowly recovering, gasoline demand may increase.

In the production of crude oil and natural gas, North America was considered to be in terminal decline for many years.However that has changed with surprising production growth coming from onshore North American wells. The global oil consultancy firm PFC Energy celebrated this revival by publishing a new list of top Exploration and Production (E&P) companies. These North America-focused E&P firms derived at least 80% of their 2010 production from North America.

The table below lists the top 15 North America-focused E&P firms:

2010 Rank Company Ticker Market Cap in $ (billions) as of 12/31/2010
1 Anadarko APC 37.7
2 Devon DVN 33.9
3 EOG Resources EOG 23.2
4 EnCana ECA 21.5
5 Chesapeake CHK 16.9
6 Southwest Gas SWX 13.0
7 Penn West PWE 10.9
8 Pioneer PXD 10.1
9 Continental Resources CLR 10.0
10 Newfield NFX 9.7
11 Concho CXO 9.0
12 Denbury DNR 7.6
13 Cimarex XEC 7.5
14 Ultra Petroleum UPL 7.3
15 Range Resources RRC 7.2

Encana and Penn West are based in Canada. The share prices of majority of the companies above rose by double digit percentages last year. Instead of focusing their attention on the integrated global oil majors such as BP plc (NYSE:BP) or ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), investors looking to profit from growth in North American production may want to consider some of these E&P companies.