This Oil Town Topples the Hedge Fund Ghetto


Oil pump jack near Midland, Texas. Photo credit: Flickr/Paul Lowry

America's energy boom is reaching new heights. Its latest feat has it ascending past Wall Street according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. This latest data shows that Midland, Texas, is now America's top-earning metro area.

The Texas town knocked Fairfield, Conn., off its long-held perch to take the title. Fairfield, which has held this title for 26 years, relies heavily on income derived by providing financial services. Midland, on the other hand, is in the heart of the Permian Basin and is seeing a revival thanks to America's new energy boom.

It has been a great few years for the 275,000 residents of the Midland metro area. Per capital income in the Midland metro area rose by $3,600 last year to an average of $83,049. The Bridgeport metro area, on the other hand, saw average income drop by $950 last year to a total of $81,068.

Midland has been on the rise for a while now. According to Forbes, it is ranked as the second best small city in America for jobs, which is up from fourth in 2011. The city saw 6.3% year-over-year growth in employment while its unemployment rate is the lowest in Texas as it's now less than 4%.

What's truly amazing is that the oil boom hitting Midland is only just beginning. Energy companies like Pioneer Natural Resources and Concho Resources only recently switched from drilling vertical wells to drilling horizontally in this legacy oil basin. So, while the basin already produces 14% of America's oil, the pump is just starting to get primed.

Pioneer Natural Resources is one of the companies with the best position to profit from the Permian's future. The company has already drilled some Texas gushers, and it sees the potential to drill nearly 38,000 future wells on its acreage in the Permian Basin. Overall, it sees resource potential of nearly seven billion barrels of oil equivalent.

Another company to keep a close eye on is Concho Resources. It's a pure play in the Permian and it is just beginning to transition more of its operations to horizontal drilling. Because of this, Concho Resources recently announced an accelerated growth plan to double its production by 2016.

A final name to keep an eye on is EOG Resources . Not only is EOG Resources one of the best-positioned oil companies in America, it is simply printing money these days. But it has focused a lot of its recent attention on the Eagle Ford and Bakken. Going forward, it has a vast opportunity in the Permian Basin that is underappreciated by the market because the focus is on those two new shale plays. Over the long term, the Permian could be a big future opportunity for EOG Resources.

America's oil boom has turned Midland Texas into one of the most well-off cities in America. But the boom in Midland appears to be just getting started. That's great news for investors as it means that there is still time to invest in America's energy boom.

Learn more about investing in America's energy boom

Record oil and natural gas production is revolutionizing the United States' energy position. It's bringing economic prosperity to places like Midland, Texas. It can also help your portfolio to prosper. To get started, check our special free report, "3 Stocks for the American Energy Bonanza." Don't miss out on this timely opportunity; click here to access your report -- it's absolutely free.

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Fool contributor Matt DiLallo has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of EOG Resources. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Originally published