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Oil prices have climbed 45% in the last 12 months, and we see them going even higher in 2017. In fact, Money Morning Global Energy Strategist Dr. Kent Moors sees oil prices going nearly 20% higher in 2017, too.
And owning the right oil stocks in 2017 is the best way to profit from rising oil prices. Today, we've picked out two of the best oil stocks to buy for Money Morning readers.
Right now, WTI crude oil is currently priced at $51.67. That's up 13% from $45.74 just before the OPEC agreement on Nov. 30. Moors says oil prices will keep climbing because of OPEC's agreement to cut oil production. Producing less limits the supply of oil. As demand stays the same, the price of oil rises.
As oil prices rise, the best oil stocks in 2017 are poised to do even better. In a survey of financial analysts by Yahoo Finance, analysts projected up to 85% revenue growth for one of the top oil stocks on our list.
Why Oil Stocks in 2017 Will Receive a Major Boost
As prices rise, oil companies make more money from the oil they're already producing. But higher prices can also encourage these companies to expand their operations.
For example, shale oil has been expensive to extract. According to the Financial Times, U.S. shale oil is only profitable to extract when oil is trading above $60 a barrel. That means some oil companies leave oil in the ground when prices are too low.
That's why when U.S. production fell 12.2% from June 2015 to July 2016 when WTI crude oil prices fell 16.8%.
But with prices rising, oil companies are ready to expand again. And we're already seeing oil production increase.
Here's a look at the soaring U.S. oil production...
That's a 6% increase in oil production since July 2016 and a 3% increase since the OPEC agreement on Nov. 30.
So when we looked for the best oil stocks to buy in 2017, we specifically targeted companies that profit the most from climbing production.
Trending Now: Natural Gas Prices in 2017 Will Soar Double Digits
If you're worried rising oil production could push prices down again, then fear not.
While we noted above that shale oil is more costly to produce, that production cost has been dropping as U.S. oil producers innovate.
A November 2016 Reuters report explains low oil prices since 2014 have forced American shale oil producers to find cheaper ways to extract oil.
"In shale fields from Texas to North Dakota, production costs have roughly halved since 2014," reports Reuters.
That means the break-even price for shale oil producers is now around $30 a barrel, down from $60 a barrel just over two years ago.
If the cartel's agreement holds and oil stays above $50 a barrel, then we expect to see U.S. oil producers thrive.
That's why on Tuesday (Jan. 17), Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) made a major expansion into shale oil. Exxon bought $5.6 billion worth of Bass family companies. The Bass family is a prominent player in the Permian Basin, a major shale oil field.
Exxon's purchase doubles its current holdings in the Permian Basin and brings its total investment there this year alone to over $10 billion.
American oil production is gearing up for a boom. And while an oil giant like Exxon is investing billions in U.S. expansion, it's only playing catch-up to other oil companies already there.
Our list of oil stocks features companies ahead of the curve who've already exploded for up to 49% gains as oil prices rose last year. That's why as oil prices continue to rise, these oil company stocks will continue to climb. These are the best oil stocks to buy now...
The Best Oil Stocks in 2017
One of the best ways to profit from rising oil prices and the shale oil boom is through companies that store and transport oil.
Plains All American Pipeline (NYSE: PAA) handles the production, storage, and transportation of both petroleum and natural gas.
PAA has crude oil pipelines all the way from Northern Canada to the Corpus Christi Bay in Texas. Their pipelines connect major shale oil regions like the Permian Basin in Texas and the Bakken fields in North Dakota to major distribution hubs like Cushing, Okla., and the Gulf Coast.
And just last year, PAA invested $15 billion in expanding the capacity of its pipeline from Cushing to Canada.
As American oil production increases, PAA's services will be in high demand.
That's why in a Yahoo Finance survey of 19 financial analysts, PAA is expected to improve its earnings per share (EPS) by 52% in 2017.
PAA is also paying a dividend yield of 7.12%, which is higher than leading oil major Royal Dutch Shell's yield of 6.86%.
PAA stock currently trades at $30.90 a share and is up 49% in the last year.
Magellan Midstream Partners (NYSE: MMP) is a $17.56 billion company that also primarily transports petroleum.
MMP owns and operates pipelines connecting the Permian Basin and the Bakken oil fields to the central hub in Cushing. And MMP has marine terminals in both the Gulf Coast and Atlantic. Before Jan. 1, 2016, it was illegal for American companies to export oil. But now that the export business has been opened up, MMP's marine terminals are ahead of the curve.
And is a strong company to own all around.
Magellan has an operating margin of 39.69%. That means it takes in an average profit of 39.69% on each dollar of sales. As oil prices rise and Magellan's services are increasingly needed, its profit potentially could go even higher.
MMP also pays an annual dividend yield of 4.12%. While the dividend isn't as extravagant as PAA's, it's important income for investors and well above the S&P 500 average of 1.9%.
MMP stock currently trades at $74.58 a share and is up 16% since last year.
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