Truckers Tap into U.S. Natural Gas Boom-WSJ

While the media attention has certainly been significant, the renaissance in the U.S. energy business in for real and will continue to have huge implications.  The development of “fracking” techniques to extract gas and oil from shale at a reasonable cost, has opened huge resources for development.  The United States is one of few countries with the infrastructure and capacity to fully take advantage of this technological revolution at this point in time.  Cheap natural gas is a bonanza for chemical and manufacturing companies , which should benefit from improved margins based on cheaper energy costs.  Transportation is another avenue for growth and many municipalities are already shifting to natural gas-powered vehicles.  Now large trucking supplier are making the shift and the costs will only become more competitive over time.  It is difficult to see natural gas prices rising rapidly over the short-term, but the long-term fundamentals seem quite reasonable as the higher-cost operators’ stop drilling.  At T&T Capital Management (TTCM), we’ve been buyers of some of the domestic E&P’s such as Apache (APA), Devon Energy (DVN) and Ultra Petroleum (UPL) when they were trading at discounts to their net asset values.  We’ve since trimmed some of the positions after significant appreciation, while adding to others.  British Petroleum (BP) has also been a very large position, which we were able to trim recently after reporting reasonably strong earnings and attractive capital allocation.