With Oil Prices Fairly Low and Stable, Certain Secondary Businesses Shine

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The energy markets can be nerve-wracking, especially for investors who fail to keep up with every latest bit of news. Seemingly inscrutable forces can cause the price of oil to plummet or rise steeply, to the point that few ever feel comfortable making clear, unprotected bets. In some cases, the best way of taking advantage of growth in the world’s energy markets is to seek out and invest in companies that are shielded from such influences. Some of the best performing stocks of recent years have been those who do not engage directly in extraction or refining themselves, but provide products and services that support or enable these activities.

Those who check out here will discover an enlightening, in-depth analysis of one such business. While Houston-based Kirby is known for a number of things, it has recently been thrust into the financial spotlight thanks to the ongoing North American shale oil boom. Even if extraction activity has been pared back a notch compared to recent records, a huge amount of demand remains to have oil extracted from shale transported around the country and the world.

With a fleet of barges that are designed for this purpose, Kirby has found itself in recent times busier than at any point in the past. Although most crude oil still moves about within domestic North American markets by rail, transport by waterway often makes an appealing choice, as well. Moving oil by barge will typically be a good deal slower, but it can also cut costs by thirty percent or more.

That can be attractive even when petroleum prices are high, but it becomes even more so as they drop. In fact, transporting the bulk of a given extraction site’s output by rail can help make it financially viable at far lower prices than would otherwise be practical. This can mean either that an operation keeps pumping even as prices drop low, or that a new venture can be kicked off that would otherwise remain on ice. Because companies like Kirby therefore have plenty of value to offer even when conditions are less than ideal, they can help shield investors from what might otherwise start to feel like the cruel vicissitudes of the global energy markets.