When it comes to the overriding narrative of oil stocks to buy in 2022, the framework points to an obvious catalyst: Russia, Russia, Russia. With its invasion of neighboring Ukraine, the action tilted the energy market off kilter. Further, with Ukraine now gaining momentum with its counteroffensive, the fear is that the Kremlin will become a cornered animal.
Cornered animals are unpredictable though arguably in this case, whatever actions the Russians would take aim at Western interests. Cynically, this dynamic represents another catalyst for oil stocks to buy. Further, Moscow has already ordered critical energy outflows to Europe to be cut, plunging the region into a potential crisis.
While the primary issue focuses on natural gas, Europe depends on Russia for various critical commodities, including crude oil. As Reuters reported, European leaders have been bracing for retaliatory actions by the Kremlin for their support of Ukraine. Because the battlefield shifted unfavorably for Russia, oil stocks again garner much attention, especially headed toward the winter season.
Though no one can predict what will happen next, it may be time to at least prepare the fort. Here are seven oil stocks to consider.
Exxon Mobil (XOM)
One of the biggest oil stocks in the world — number two by market capitalization if you want to dive into the granularity — Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) offers viable exposure to the hydrocarbon business for retail investors. Cynically, the circumstances associated with Russia’s so-called “special military operation” gave new life to XOM. Since the start of this year, shares skyrocketed nearly 54%.
What makes Exxon Mobil particularly compelling is that it covers the core bases of the oil and gas industry. Fundamentally, the company features a massive upstream portfolio. This is the component of the company that centers on energy exploration and production. As well, it commands a lucrative downstream portfolio, which focuses on the retailing of finished products.
About the only thing that Exxon doesn’t do is represent the midstream side, which zeroes in on storage and transportation. Per Seeking Alpha, the company moved to exit its midstream business back in 2020. In the long run, this should enable the firm to stay laser-focused on what it does very well, making XOM a top idea among oil stocks to buy.
Typically, the companies undergirding big oil stocks command a reputation for vertical integration. In the hydrocarbon sector, this term means that a business is tied to every segment of the industry; again, that would be upstream, midstream and downstream. If you happen to be looking for a comprehensive oil play, then Shell (NYSE:SHEL) represents a solid bet.
So far, Shell is making a strong comeback to return to pre-pandemic norms. In 2020, for instance, the company posted revenue of $180.5 billion, a staggering loss of 48%. However, on a trailing-12-month (TTM) basis, Shell posted sales of almost $330 billion. If you need more convincing, the oil firm also pays out a forward yield of 3.75%.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that on top of its hydrocarbon endeavors, Shell has an eye on the future. A few months ago, management announced that it will construct Europe’s largest green hydrogen plant. That should deliver much-needed diversification, making SHEL an intriguing name among oil stocks.
Occidental Petroleum (OXY)
Though Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) features exposure to multiple business segments, it primarily focuses on hydrocarbon exploration. The company features several projects in the U.S. and the Middle East. It also operates petrochemical manufacturing businesses in the U.S., Canada and Chile.
Against a wide framework, Occidental Petroleum brings relevance to the table because of potential energy supply crunches. Since no one knows how the unpredictable Kremlin will proceed, oil stocks carry more interest than usual.
However, another reason exists to be bullish on OXY stock: Warren Buffett, known as the Oracle of Omaha. Specifically, Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK-A, NYSE:BRK-B) made a bold bet on Occidental Petroleum. In August, CNBC reported that the conglomerate received regulatory approval to purchase up to 50% of the oil firm.
While no investor should blindly follow anybody’s opinion, Buffett carries a decades-long reputation for patiently building wealth. Thus, if OXY is good enough for him, it could certainly belong on your list of oil stocks to buy.
Although the hydrocarbon exploration segment tends to be the most exciting subsector of oil stocks, the midstream may arguably be the smartest component to focus on. Essentially, midstream operators represent the stagehands of the hydrocarbon industry.
You don’t see their handiwork as the thespians on stage do their thing. But the show would absolutely not go on without midstream players providing critical storage hubs and transportation networks. Indeed, these companies are essential to national security. Just look at the Colonial Pipeline cyberattack for proof.
Anyways, it’s time to bring up Enbridge (NYSE:ENB). According to its website, Enbridge “operates the world’s longest and most complex crude oil and liquids transportation system.” Specifically, this bold claim entails 17,809 miles of active crude pipelines, 9,299 miles of which crisscross throughout the U.S.
In addition, Enbridge delivers the goods for investors seeking some shelter from inflation. The company currently provides a forward yield of 6.37%. However, ENB is only up about 7% on a year-to-date basis, implying that investors have an opportunity to get in during a lull.
Magellan Midstream (MMP)
Another midstream opportunity to consider for those seeking viable oil stocks, Magellan Midstream (NYSE:MMP) “primarily transports, stores and distributes refined petroleum products and crude oil based in Tulsa, Okla.” As with other companies in the subsegment, Magellan Midstream effectively keeps the lights on.
In other words, you don’t want to be hearing about Magellan too much as it might imply that something seriously awry occurred.
Aside from its tremendous relevance, Magellan may attract investors because of its massive payout. According to Dividend, MMP features a forward yield of 7.99%. Notably, the energy sector average yield stands at 4.24%. As well, Magellan commands 19 consecutive years of dividend increases.
So, MMP is a no-brainer, right? For some folks, yes. However, before you dive in, you must realize that Magellan represents a master limited partnership (MLP). Without getting bogged into the details, MLPs feature tax filing requirements that oil firms structured as C-corporations don’t have to deal with.
Phillips 66 (PSX)
With Phillips 66 (NYSE:PSX), we dive into the downstream section of the hydrocarbon industry. As a reminder, downstream deals with the retailing and marketing of finished products. Essentially, whenever you pull up to a gasoline station and wince at the prices, you’re dealing with a downstream operator. And while Phillips 66 has been responsible for a lot of wincing, that consumer discomfort also translates into profitability.
In 2020, the company suffered a net loss of nearly $4 billion, an understandable performance given the context. However, by the following year, Phillips 66 posted a positive net income of $1.32 billion. On a TTM basis, the company is looking at a net income of $5.42 billion — close to what it posted in 2018. Finally, in the second quarter of 2022, PSX generated a net income of $3.17 billion, up nearly 11-fold from the year-ago level.
Fundamentally, Phillips 66 should benefit from gasoline commanding a baseline price inelasticity. In other words, consumers must purchase a minimum level of fuel to get where they need to be. Thus, PSX embodies an intriguing idea among oil stocks to buy.
If you want to simultaneously dive into controversy and contrarianism, take a look at PetroChina (OTCMKTS:PTRCY). Let me get the obvious concern out of the way first. In August, mainstream news outlets reported that PetroChina stood among a few Chinese companies that voluntarily delisted from U.S. exchanges. The development presents much significance because PTRCY presumably won’t enjoy the same level of visibility as before.
As well, PetroChina for now does not seem to be a beneficiary of Russia’s military excursions. Per Reuters, Beijing apparently wants to avoid the perception of advantaging the geopolitical flashpoint for fear of incurring Western-backed penalties.
Still, the long-term issue is that China and Russia, at least in theory, share a “no limits” partnership. Should the ideological battlelines between East and West become further cemented — after all, China has that whole Taiwan situation going on — PTRCY could be interesting.
Then again, PetroChina represents an idea for the geopolitically agnostic.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.