CHICAGO, Nov. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK), Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM), Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP), El Paso Corp. (NYSE: EP) and BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP).
Get the most recent insight from Zacks Equity Research with the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5513
Here are highlights from Wednesday's Analyst Blog:
Shale Gas: Cleaner, Cheaper
The Obama administration has set its eyes on developing domestic shale gas (natural gas trapped within dense rock formations) from sources such as the vast Marcellus Shale, which stretches from New York to Virginia. Besides being significantly cheaper than crude oil, reliance on shale gas will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate change issues are dominating international forums. The U.S. has committed to reduce carbon emissions by 7% in 2012.
Shale gas makes sound economic sense and would ensure cleanliness. It also represents a viable energy strategy vis a vis the stranglehold of OPEC, which accounts for 42% of global oil supplies and 18% of natural gas.
Moreover, the substitution of domestic shale gas for coal/imported crude oil has other advantages, such as aiding local industry and employment and addressing balance of trade issues.
The U.S. still uses coal, a major polluter, to produce about 45% of its electricity. However, the country recently displaced Russia as the largest producer of natural gas. It now meets about a quarter of its energy supply from cleaner natural gas, which is only expected to grow. The production of shale gas has increased exponentially over the past decade and now accounts for 30% of the natural gas supply of the country.
Independent operators such as Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK) are concentrating on their core competence with renewed focus. Majors such as Exxon Mobil Corporation (NYSE: XOM) are investing large amounts in purchasing smaller players with sizeable stakes in the big shale fields.
In a related development, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP) acquired El Paso Corp. (NYSE: EP), in October 2011, for over $21 billion, making it the largest pipeline distributor of natural gas. Earlier, last July, BHP Billiton Ltd. (NYSE: BHP) took over Petrohawk Energy Corporation, which had interests in oil and gas, for $15 billion or so.
The mid-western states, blessed with significant deposits of shale gas, faced a fresh lease of life. Can the Rust Belt reinvent itself to be the Natural Gas Belt? The signs are positive as some upcoming production capacities have been sold out even prior to going on stream.
In fact, shale gas development has been one of the few bright spots in the U.S. economy in the past three years. The stakes are high as national unemployment remains stubbornly high at about the 9% mark. The shale gas industry has already created an estimated 200,000 jobs. Other countries have shown an openness to tap American know-how in shale gas production.
Yet, many experts wonder if environmental concerns will take out part of the sheen of shale gas prospects? The extraction of gas involves a controversial technique called "fracking" whereby a huge amount of chemical-laced water is injected underground so that cracks are created on the rock surface by the high pressure, which releases the gas.
The methodology, which is used for capturing natural gas from vast underground fields, has been hailed as a major breakthrough for U.S. energy supplies. Environmentalists have been divided, at times, on the impact of fracking on underground water reservoirs.
Want more from Zacks Equity Research? Subscribe to the free Profit from the Pros newsletter: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5515.
About Zacks Equity Research
Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.
Continuous coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.
Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Subscribe to this free newsletter today: http://at.zacks.com/?id=5517
Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978 by Leon Zacks. As a PhD from MIT Len knew he could find patterns in stock market data that would lead to superior investment results. Amongst his many accomplishments was the formation of his proprietary stock picking system; the Zacks Rank, which continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros at http://at.zacks.com/?id=5518.
Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts
Disclaimer: Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors should always research companies and securities before making any investments. Nothing herein should be construed as an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any security.
SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.