Best Natural Gas Stocks to Buy Now

The price of natural gas is soaring, with prices rising 50% over the last 12 months. And we see them headed even higher in 2017.

In fact, Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors' natural gas price prediction calls for prices to rise up to 43% in 2017. To help you profit from this price rise, we've compiled our list of the best natural gas stocks to buy now.

best natural gas stocks to buy now

While natural gas prices should head higher in 2017, the natural gas stocks we're recommending today have an even higher profit potential. Traders might be tempted to invest in a natural gas ETF, but our stocks have bigger upside potential, and investors won't get bogged down with ETF fees, either.

Just last year, our picks grew an average of 94%, while natural gas prices rose only 55%. And our picks are well-positioned to do the same this year.

Before we get to our top natural gas stocks, here's why we're bullish on natural gas prices...

Why the Price of Natural Gas Is Going Up in 2017

Demand for natural gas is going to rise in 2017, which will drive prices.

Natural gas is traditionally associated with domestic uses, like heating and cooking.

That's why natural gas futures fluctuate based on the weather. A cold winter, for instance, means households use more gas to keep warm. So, when the forecast calls for an unseasonably cold month, natural gas futures go up.

But natural gas has many more uses.

Natural gas is also used for a wide range of energy needs, like fuel for vehicles or power for electricity plants. And it's getting a lot more popular.

One of the main reasons for natural gas' growth is its cleanliness compared to other fossil fuels. Natural gas produces about half the carbon dioxide as coal and oil.

As environmental concerns grow, natural gas has become a more viable option than oil and coal for energy. According to Pew Research, 64% of Americans favor stricter emissions limits on power plants.

That's part of the reason why natural gas use increased 24% between 2005 and 2015. This isn't "typical" growth, either. Natural gas usage actually decreased between 1995 and 2005 by 1%.

Natural gas' appeal as being a cleaner alternative to coal and oil means it will be used for much more than traditional heating and cooking.

Trending Now: There Are Big Changes and Big Profits Coming to the Oil Sector in 2017

Natural gas is already used as fuel in commuter buses and construction vehicles. But it's increasingly used in conventional cars and trucks, too. Investopedia expects the sales of natural gas-fueled vehicles to rise 65% before 2023.

Not only that, but the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts natural gas-fired power plants will add 18.7 gigawatts of capacity between 2016 and 2018. This represents a 20% increase over the average yearly growth of natural gas-fired capacity for the last five years.

As vehicles and power plants transition to a cleaner, affordable energy like natural gas, demand will only increase.

With demand for natural gas rising, companies who produce, transport, and distribute natural gas are getting more valuable. And savvy investors can reap the benefits by finding the right energy stocks.

To help investors take advantage of this new trend, these are our best natural gas stocks to buy now...

Best Natural Gas Stocks to Buy Now

CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CNX) is a major coal company that has branched into natural gas. CONSOL began operating coal mines in Maryland during the Civil War in 1864.

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But as coal became less profitable, CONSOL made a strategic shift into natural gas. And now CONSOL's natural gas business makes up the majority of the company's earnings.

Starting in 2013, CNX began selling its coal mines and reinvesting in natural gas production. Now that natural gas prices are on the rise, CNX is poised to capitalize. In a Yahoo! Finance survey of six financial analysts, the consensus is CNX will increase its revenue by an average of 14% in 2017.

CONSOL stock has already surged 262% since this time last year as natural gas prices rose. And Moors expects natural gas prices to reach $4.50 per million BTU in 2017, a 43% increase over current prices.

Plains All American Pipeline LP (NYSE: PAA) handles the production, storage, and transportation of both petroleum and natural gas. PAA has natural gas processing plants, storage facilities, and natural gas pipelines across both the United States and Canada.

Plains All American has a natural gas storage capacity of around 97 billion cubic feet and a storage capacity of natural gas liquid of around 23 million barrels.

While PAA is poised to benefit from rising natural gas prices, it's also a well-managed company.

In a Yahoo! Finance survey of 19 financial analysts, PAA is expected to improve its EPS by 52% this year.

PAA is also paying a dividend yield of 6.8%, which gives its owners a substantial benefit over the S&P 500 average of 1.9%.

PAA stock currently trades at $31.51 a share.

While natural gas is booming in the United States, the United Kingdom is dealing with a shortage of energy since the Brexit vote. Moors says the British may be facing a winter of blackouts. Here's what you need to know about the UK's energy crisis...

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