Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V.
It’s not based in Chicago, nor does it build bridges out of iron, but Chicago Bridge & Iron Company N.V. (CBI) could be one of the best ways to play the natural gas boom.
The engineering and construction firm is a petro construction powerhouse, with projects ranging from huge offshore/underwater pipeline networks in the North Sea as well as new chemical facilities here in the U.S. However, its biggest natural gas fortunes could lie with its expertise in constructing liquefied natural gas export terminals.
CBI is one of the leading plant builders and was tapped by Chevron (CVX) to help construct its massive Gorgon project in Australia. Four LNG export facilities have been approved in the U.S., and analysts say more will be coming as production volumes grow. As a leader in the field, CB&I could see itself winning more contracts to construct and modify these facilities. It could also win more pipeline contracts stemming from these facilities.
All of this will help build CB&I’s massive backlog as well as its earnings. Not that it really needs any help there — in the last four quarters, the firm’s earnings per share jump 14%, 30%, 37% and 39% year-over-year, respectively. CBI trades for a forward P/E of just 12.48.