The Motley Fool

These 2 Gas Producers Have Had a Great Run

While most Canadians have suffered through freezing temperatures this winter, the weather has provided some much-needed relief to Canada’s natural gas producers. The Henry Hub gas price even reached $6 at one point this year, something that would have been unthinkable two years ago. Canada’s largest natural gas producer, Encana (TSX:ECA)(NYSE:ECA) has seen its share price increase by over 11% this year (although the gas giant has still seen its shares decrease by 40% over the past four years).

Two gas producers have done particularly well over the past two years, and with gas prices up sharply, one question remains: does the news get even better from here?

Peyto: Investing against the cycle

There are very few companies in the Canadian energy sector, or any other sector, that have a better track record than Peyto Exploration & Development (TSX:PEY). Over the course of its history, Peyto has invested heavily while gas prices are depressed. This has allowed the company to take advantage of low equipment and labour costs while expanding, and enjoy the fruits of its labour once gas prices recover.

So the recent price run-up isn’t necessarily great news for Peyto. Other producers may be inspired to boost production, which would increase capital costs for Peyto. Furthermore, Peyto hedges much of its future sales, meaning it won’t get to take advantage of temporarily high gas prices as much as its peers.

Furthermore, Peyto’s share price has already increased by about 140% since April 2012. Arguably, the best time to buy the shares has already passed.

Tourmaline: Strong growth in production and share price

Tourmaline Oil (TSX:TOU) has been one of Canada’s fastest-growing energy companies. Daily production last November was almost double the average daily production in 2012. More importantly, the company has expanded responsibly, and remained very profitable.

Like Peyto, Tourmaline’s share price has responded accordingly, with the shares appreciating by 150% since April 2012. Tourmaline has taken advantage of this recently, raising equity twice in the past six months.

Foolish bottom line

Peyto and Tourmaline have certainly been on a great run, but the best time to buy these shares has likely passed. They remain great companies with excellent track records. Investors who place a premium on those attributes should continue to hold the shares. But for those looking to bet on continued high natural gas prices, it’s likely best to look elsewhere.

Just Released! 5 Stocks Under $49 (FREE REPORT)

Motley Fool Canada's market-beating team has just released a brand-new FREE report revealing 5 "dirt cheap" stocks that you can buy today for under $49 a share. Our team thinks these 5 stocks are critically undervalued, but more importantly, could potentially make Canadian investors who act quickly a fortune. Don't miss out! Simply click the link below to grab your free copy and discover all 5 of these stocks now.

Claim your FREE 5-stock report now!

Fool contributor Benjamin Sinclair holds a position in the shares of Peyto Exploration & Development Corp

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss an important event.

Iain Butler and the Stock Advisor Canada team only publish their new “buy alerts” twice a month, and only to an exclusively small group.

This is your chance to get in early on what could prove to be very special investment advice.

Enter your email address below to get started now, and join the other thousands of Canadians who have already signed up for their chance to get the market-beating advice from Stock Advisor Canada.

I consent to receiving information from The Motley Fool via email, direct mail, and occasional special offer phone calls. I understand I can unsubscribe from these updates at any time. Please read the Privacy Statement and Terms of Service for more information.