A football player on the All-Madden team is not only one of the best. Often he's unheralded despite his superior performance. That's the position Heckmann (NYS: HEK) holds in the oil and gas services industry. When it comes to profiting from the boom in oil and natural gas production in North America, Heckmann is a better bet than those actually doing the exploring, drilling, and pumping. Let's look at why.

Happy to be of service
Offering the services to this industry provides a much more solid and stable revenue platform than the drillers such as Chesapeake Energy (NYS: CHK) , Chevron (NYS: CVX) , BP (NYS: BP) , and Halliburton (NYS: HAL) can offer. Heckmann now has contracts with the top 10 oil and natural gas exploration firms and will gain from those activities.

Geographically, Heckmann is also strong. It's active in the Appalachian fields and now has a position in the Bakken region, from its recent purchase of Power Fuels. From that acquisition, Heckmann is operating in every significant shale field in the United States.


Superior growth and value
Like most things All-Madden, Heckmann is underappreciated. Its growth and value potential is much more appealing than those of the more prominent players in oil and natural gas exploration. Its quarterly revenue growth has been surging.

HEK Revenue Quarterly Chart

HEK Revenue Quarterly data by YCharts.

Even with that strong growth, it still has more attractive valuations in many ways than the companies that do the exploring and production. Its assets are undervalued compared with Occidental Petroleum and Chevron as measured by the price-to-book ratio. The value of its sales is better priced than those for Occidental Petroleum, too.

Metric

Heckmann

Occidental Petroleum

Chevron

BP*

Chesapeake Energy*

Price-to-Book

1.22

1.50

1.53

0.35

0.95

Price-to-Sales

1.97

2.53

0.88

1.12

1.02

Source: Motley Fool CAPS.
*Legal woes have depressed the share prices of BP and Chesapeake Energy, skewing the price-to-book and price-to-sales ratios.

Revenue should keep growing
When companies use fracking to extract oil and natural gas from shale-rock formations, they use a great deal of water, and expenses can run as high as $400,000 per fracturing attempt. A million new wells will be fracking by 2035, so the industry is seeking ways to recycle the water to make the operations as efficient and cost-effective as possible.

Meanwhile, with an upcoming EPA report expected to link fracking with water pollution, we'll see an increased demand the for companies that can clean up the exploration and extraction activities.

Both of these developments are likely to increase revenues even more for Heckmann, with its presence in all the significant fracking fields and its contracts already in place with every major player.

Is a holiday short squeeze coming?
Heckmann's stock price is low, with heavy insider buying and a high short position, and the change in insider ownership is up more than 134% over the past six months. Shareholders could profit from a short squeeze, in which those holding a short position are forced to buy, thus raising the stock price.

The insider buying is bullish in itself. Tom Gardner, CEO and co-founder of The Motley Fool, once advised that if he were to select just one criterion for investing, "I wouldn't look for growth. I wouldn't look for a great balance sheet. I would focus only on insider ownership."

Profit without the risks of drilling
The recent acquisition of Power Fuel  focused attention on Heckmann and lifted the share price as Wall Street realized that the deal had created a major player in environmental services for the oil shale industry. With the fracking boom, Heckmann should benefit more than those doing the actual exploration and extraction. Even if there is no oil or natural gas found, there will be a great need for Heckmann's services, allowing for shareholders to profit when others don't.

No matter what happens to the price of oil and natural gas, Heckmann is still a great stock. There are 3 Stocks for $100 Oil you should also check out in our special report; just click here.

The article Heckmann Is an Unsung Hero in Oil and Gas Services originally appeared on Fool.com.

Jonathan Yates has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Halliburton and Heckmann and has options on Chesapeake Energy and Heckmann. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Chevron and Halliburton. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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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