The energy world is rife with all sorts of wheelings and dealings: mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, and, my personal favorite, unsubstantiated buyout rumors. Sometimes it's flat-out impossible to keep track of everything that's going on, let alone take the time to separate the wheat from the chaff. To that end, I've highlighted three energy stocks making smart moves to stay on top.
Enbridge (NYSE: ENB)
The Canadian midstream company announced plans for numerous expansions across its system last week, including its Line 6B pipeline that connects Indiana to Ontario. If the project goes through, Enbridge will more than double Line 6B's capacity from 230,000 barrels per day to 500,000 bpd.
This particular pipeline spilled 800,000 gallons of crude in southwestern Michigan during the summer of 2010. The accident polluted the Kalamazoo River, and though most of the oil has been cleaned up, the process has not yet been completed. The National Transportation Safety Board is in the final stages of wrapping up its two-year investigation of the incident.
The NTSB report itself doesn't have the power to stop Enbridge's plan to replace the 286-mile line. That said, the agency has already begun to release findings that may influence the Michigan Public Service Commission, which does have the power to stop the project. The MPSC has a hearing on the matter scheduled for June 6.
Penn Virginia Resource Partners (NYSE: PVR)
Last week, the Pennsylvania-based natural resources and midstream company announced it would spend $380 million to increase its pipeline footprint in the state. Beginning in the next two weeks, PVR will expand its Lycoming County pipeline system, securing fee-based agreements with several of the top producers in the Marcellus shale, including Range Resources (NYSE: RRC) and Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN) .
The news comes on the heels of PVR's announcement last month that it was acquiring pipeline company Chief Gathering for $1 billion. That deal, which closed last week, tripled PVR's pipeline and gathering system assets in the Marcellus shale.
Total (NYSE: TOT)
The French energy giant's share price has fallen nearly 20% since the news of the gas leak at its Elgin field operations. The company has stopped the leak and is preparing to send staff back to the North Sea platform, with the goal of restarting production in the field before the end of the year. The leaky well will be cemented and abandoned in the next few weeks.
The company expects the cost of the leak, including loss of production, to top out around $400 million.
The energy industry is one that must be monitored closely. An investor's best bet is to keep an eye on press releases and conference calls, making note of what moves companies are making and the justifications CEOs give for those moves. Internet-based tools like Twitter and My Watchlist are also great ways to stay informed on company updates and analysis.