Some analysts are saying the Canadian oil patch is the last place investors should be putting new money. It’s easy to understand why. Many of the companies in the sector have slashed their once-sacred payouts and diluted shareholders by issuing new stock to shore up their balance sheets. High debt loads are still weighing heavily on a number of the popular names and although prices are improving, uncertainty still remains.

The NDP victory in Alberta could lead to higher royalty rates and an increase in corporate taxes. That’s the last thing energy companies want to deal with right now, and the concern surrounding new policy in the patch is going to keep investors on the sidelines, especially those based south of the border.

With all this going on, you might wonder why anyone would consider putting new money into the space, but times of turmoil are often the best moments to do so.

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ)(NYSE:CNQ) is one name that should emerge as a winner.

Canadian Natural has a unique portfolio of reserves that offers investors diversification across products and geography. The company’s assets include light, medium, and heavy crude oil, natural gas, natural gas liquids, and oil sands properties, with operations spanning the western Canadian provinces, the North Sea, and offshore Africa.

All in, the company controls more than nine billion barrels of proved and probable oil equivalent reserves.

As the sole owner of most of its assets, Canadian Natural has the flexibility to move capital around very quickly. This provides the opportunity to take advantage of price shifts in the various product markets, or move money to projects in more favourable jurisdictions.

For example, the price of natural gas has increased nearly 20% in the past month. As one of Canada’s largest natural gas producers, Canadian Natural can allocate more capital to its gas assets to take advantage of the upswing in the market.

Canadian Natural has done an excellent job of reducing expenses and capital expenditures while still growing output. In its Q1 2015 earnings statement, the company said quarterly production hit a record 900,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d). Year-over-year crude oil production increased 23% and natural gas production rose by 51%.

At the same time, operating costs dropped 22% for liquids production and 10% for natural gas. The company just reduced its 2015 capital expenditure guidance by another $300 million, but production growth for the year is still expected to be 11%. Canadian Natural had negative free cash flow in the first quarter. That should reverse in Q2, given the improvements in gas and oil prices and the continued progress on expenses.

With a rock-solid a solid balance sheet, growing production, and declining costs, the company is well positioned to ride out an extended slump in the market. Another drop in oil prices will certainly affect the stock price, so short-term volatility should be expected, but the long-term outlook for Canadian Natural Resources is attractive.

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Fool coFool contributor Andrew Walker has no position in any stocks mentioned.