Natural gas companies are hurting - there's no doubt about it. But that doesn't mean natural gas companies are bad investments.
In fact, some of these companies are currently on the bargain rack. You just have to know where to look.
Take EOG Resources Inc. (NYSE: EOG), for instance.
Traditionally known as a natural gas producer, EOG has reinvented itself as a major oil producer.
It's still heavily involved in the natural gas market, but the company also has managed to increase its total liquid oil production by 49% to 130,000 barrels per day.
Chief Executive Officer Mark G. Papa said he expects to reach 200,000 barrels per day this year. That would make EOG the second- or third-largest oil producer in the United States.
The effects of this transformation are evident in the company's earnings.
After taking a third-quarter loss of $70.9 million in 2010, EOG reported net income of $541 million for the third quarter of 2011.
That's not all. EOG's potential for growth is outstanding, since it has huge oil shale reserves. The company is the largest oil producer in both North Dakota's Bakken Shale and the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas.
These two shale oil fields have played a key role in ramping up U.S. oil production over the past few years. They each have an estimated 4 billion barrels of recoverable reserves.
Earlier this month, analysts from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) raised their EOG share price target to $118, while RBC Capital Markets (NYSE: RY) analysts set their target at $119. Those targets estimates represent a 13% to 14% premium from yesterday's (Tuesday's) closing price of $104.55.
And that's just one natural gas company with a strong investment pedigree.
Here are three others...