U.S. Shale, Technological Advances And An Oil Services ETF

Includes: APA, CAT, HAL, OIH
by: Jeff Williams

As the U.S. is focusing on reducing its dependence on others for its oil and gas, this has created significant opportunities for many investors. Currently, the International Energy Agency (NASDAQ:IEA) is forecasting the U.S. to become the world's largest oil producer by 2020, while the B.P. PLC's (BP) energy outlook is predicting the U.S. to be 99% self-sufficient in energy by 2030.

As the U.S. is focusing on becoming self-sufficient in energy by 2030, the country is looking at tight oil and shale gas as a one of the main sources for its oil and gas production. As the map below indicates, the U.S. has plenty of oil and gas reserves and at predicted current consumption rates, the IEA estimates that the U.S. has around 92 years of technically recoverable natural gas reserves. Technically recoverable reserves consist of "proved reserves" and "unproved resources." As the U.S. has enough oil and gas to sustain itself for many years this will open the door for many investment opportunities. One sector that will directly benefit from U.S. becoming self-sufficient in energy is the oil and gas service sector.

Chart sources by (EIA)

As we can see from the chart below, shale gas will lead the growth in gas production for the next 30 years. According to the British Petroleum 2030 energy outlook, one of the main drivers that has enabled the U.S. to access the oil and gas is the increase in technology. From an investment outlook the companies that provide the greatest opportunity to access these reserves economically, environmentally, and safely will provide some of the greatest investment opportunities.

Over the last ten years, there has been some major advances in technology that has made it economically viable to access the shale oil and gas. The introduction of horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing as well as improved safety regulations have created a safer and more cost effective ways to access the shale oil and gas.

As advancement in the industry improve into the future this will create investment opportunities. Recently, one example of some companies teaming up to create more cost effective and environmentally safer ways to access these resources is Caterpillar inc. (NYSE:CAT), Halliburton Inc. (NYSE:HAL) and Apache Energy (APA). These three companies have been involved in producing and begining to use Dynamic Gas Blending (DGB) engine technology. According to businesswire.com "the Dynamic Gas Blending kit allows customers to reduce fuel costs and meet changing emissions regulations by utilizing a wide range of gaseous fuels in their existing diesel generator sets. The kit also recently successfully completed an extensive field test for Encana Oil & Gas Inc (NYSE:ECA).

According to Halliburton's January 11th press release "We anticipate that in the not-so-distant future, these DGB engines can be easily retrofitted to efficiently burn available on-site conditioned field gas, thereby saving operators additional fuel transport costs."

This is one recent example of how a company within gas and oil service industry is advancing technology to create more cost effective, environmentally safer ways to extract oil and gas from the earth.

As it is very challenging to predict which company or companies will produce technologies that will advance the shale boom in the U.S. one way to invest in these advancements is to buy an Oil Services ETF. Investing in an ETF will allow the investor to access all of the benefits that a particular sector has without all of the risk of investing in one company.

One ETF by Market Vectors that can be used to invest in the oil and gas service industry is Market Vectors Oil Services ETF (NYSEARCA:OIH). The Market Vectors Oil Services ETF has many solid companies within its portfolio. Some of the companies within its portfolio include Schlumberger NV (NYSE:SLB), Halliburton Inc. , National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV) and many others. Below is the current and compete list of the holdings within the ETF as of March 19th, 2013. This ETF will provide an investor with a wide range of diversification across the oil and gas service sector.

List provided by (www.vaneck.com)

As the U.S. is focusing on reducing its dependence of oil and gas from other countries this will produce many investment opportunities. One sector that is leading the way regarding technological advancements is the oil and gas service sector. As there are many changes occurring in this sector, a strong way to invest in this sector while diminishing the risk of owning a single company, is through the Market Vectors Oil Services ETF .

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.