Looking for a new angle to the energy trade? Interested in successful but undervalued energy stocks? If yes, then you should look north to Canada, which is home to dozens of publicly traded oil and gas companies, most of which have been on fire this year amid rising prices for crude oil and natural gas. While it isn’t widely publicized, Canada has an estimated 17o billion barrels of crude oil, accounting for 10% of the world’s proven oil reserves. That makes Canada the perfect place to look for undervalued energy stocks that still have room to run. So far in 2022, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s energy index has gained an impressive 54%. And many analysts see more growth ahead as we head into the cold winter months and the global demand for oil and natural gas spikes. Here are seven top energy stocks to buy in an under-the-radar market.
Imperial Oil (IMO)
Like most Canadian oil and gas companies, Imperial Oil (NYSE:IMO) is based in the western city of Calgary, Alberta.
Imperial Oil is currently the second-biggest oil company north of the border with a market capitalization of about $30 billion. Imperial Oil is also majority owned by U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), which has a nearly 70% ownership stake in the Canadian concern. Currently, Imperial owns nearly a quarter of Canada’s vast oil sands lands in northern Alberta, and it is also heavily involved in oil and natural gas exploration in the Arctic region.
This year’s elevated prices for crude oil and natural gas have been a boom for Imperial Oil, and this has been reflected in the company’s stock price. In 2022, IMO stock has gained an impressive 35% to trade at $48.65. The stock is up 34% over the last 12 months.
Even with its sharp rally in recent months, Imperial Oil is trading with a P/E ratio of just eight times. And, if all this weren’t enough, Imperial’s stock also pays a quarterly dividend that yields 2.2% or 26 cents a share. This is a leading Canadian energy company whose stock has been delivering for investors, making it one of the top energy stocks to buy.
Enbridge (NYSE:ENB) is another Canadian-based oil and gas giant. However, Enbridge is different because it specializes in pipelines that are used to transport oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids.
In fact, Enbridge operates the largest system of oil and gas pipelines in all of North America, stretching from Canada’s northern oil patch to the Gulf of Mexico. In 2022, ENB stock is down 3%. However, that’s better than the stock market, which has fallen into bear territory. Plus, Enbridge’s P/E ratio of 21 makes the stock look fairly valued.
The big attraction of owning ENB stock is its dividend, which currently yields 7.1%, or 67 cents a share per quarter. That’s an impressive yield for any stock.
And the company has been posting blowout earnings this year that should ensure the dividend continues to be paid without fail. It’s worth pointing out that Enbridge has raised its dividend payouts for 22 consecutive years.
In June, the company reported that its second-quarter revenue had jumped 20% versus the same period a year earlier to 13.21 billion Canadian dollars ($9.62 billion) as it continues to benefit from elevated oil and natural gas prices.
Cenovus Energy (CVE)
Shares of Cenovus Energy (NYSE:CVE) are up an eye popping 60% this year and trading at $19.63 a share on the New York Stock Exchange.
During the last 12 months, CVE stock has gained 65%, making it one of the best performing stocks in Canada and the U.S. The Calgary-based company acquired competitor Husky Energy for $3.9 billion Canadian dollars (US$2.84 billion) of stock last year, a move that made Cenovus Canada’s third-largest crude oil and natural gas producer.
Like all Canadian energy producers, Cenovus has been making hay this year while the sun shines in the oil and natural gas sector, ramping up production and rushing to get its products to market.
Working overtime has given Cenovus Energy’s financial results a boost. Through three quarters of this year, the company reported growth across all of its operating units, and, in Q2, it announced that it had operating cash flow of $3 billion, compared with $1.3 billion during the same quarter a year earlier.
Due to its stellar finances and solid cash position, Cenovus Energy tripled its dividend in April of this year. CVE stock now pays a quarterly dividend that yields 1.63% or eight cents a share every three months.
Canadian Natural Resources (CNQ)
Speaking of hefty dividends, Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE:CNQ) has been paying out special dividends to shareholders this year following a string of strong earnings results. The Calgary-based company most recently paid a special dividend of $1.50 per share to shareholders on August 31 after its cash flow doubled in the second quarter from a year earlier, rising to $5.9 billion. Beyond its special payouts, Canadian Natural Resources pays a quarterly dividend that yields 3.87% for a payout every three months of 57 cents.
In addition to the big dividend payouts, CNQ stock has also had a big run this year, rising nearly 40% in 2022 and now trading at $59.33 per share. Despite the bull run, Canadian Natural Resources stock continues to have a low P/E ratio, trading at 8.8 times its forward earnings. Perhaps most interesting, CNQ stock is currently 16% below its 52-week high of $70.60 a share, offering up a nice entry point to investors.
The median price target on the shares among the 20 professional analysts who cover the company is $65.64, which is 12% higher than where the stock currently trades.
Tourmaline Oil (TRMLF)
For a truly monster gain this year, look to Tourmaline Oil (OTC:TRMLF). The company’s stock has increased 71% this year to $55.30. The stock has soared nearly 240% over the last five years. Tourmaline is a bit different than the other Canadian energy stocks on this list because it is the largest natural gas producer in Canada. The company gets nearly 80% of its revenue from natural gas sales. The company was also the first Canadian energy company to directly produce liquified natural gas (LNG), which is estimated to now be a $112 billion industry globally, according to Grand View Research.
Tourmaline has reported exceptional earnings over the last year, including $2.2 billion of free cash flow, an increase of 156% from last year. The company has used its windfall to generously reward shareholders. In the last 12 months, Tourmaline paid a total dividend of $6.50 to shareholders. That gives TOU stock an impressive dividend yield of 8%.
While many Canadian energy producers have used their excess cash to buy back their stock, Tourmaline has chosen to directly share its profits with its shareholders. With its earnings growth expected to continue for the foreseeable future, shareholders can reasonably expect further dividend payouts from TOU in the coming quarters.
Vermilion Energy (VET)
Vermilion Energy’s (NYSE:VET) stock is up an astounding 79% this year and trading at $22.50 a share. In the last 12 months, VET stock has risen 93% while the benchmark Toronto Stock Exchange has fallen 11% and the S&P 500 index has slumped 17%.
By nearly any measure, Vermilion Energy’s stock has been a grand slam for investors. However, even with its sprint higher over the past year, Vermilion’s stock still trades at an extremely low P/E ratio of 5.7, making it look cheap compared to most other stocks. And, believe it or not, analysts feel this stock still has more room to run. Their median price target on VET stock is $29.09 a share, which is 32% higher than its current level.
In addition to its share price appreciation, VET stock has been following other Canadian energy stocks and raising its dividend payouts this year. In August, Vermilion Energy hiked its quarterly dividend by 33% to 8 Canadian cents (US 5.82 cents) as part of its “Return of Capital” strategy.
Vermilion also announced plans to return 25% of its free cash flow to its shareholders in the second half of this year and return up to 75% of its free cash flow to shareholders in 2023 through share buybacks and dividend payments.
The company has said that it plans to buy back 1.5 million of its own shares each day during the second half of 2022.
Suncor Energy (SU)
Last but far from least, we have Calgary-based Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU). As with the other stocks on this list, the Canadian energy concern’s stock has posted strong gains this year while providing shareholders with a stellar dividend.
So far in 2022, SU stock is up 29% and trading at $33.12 a share. Through 12 months, the stock has risen 40%. The company’s dividend currently yields a healthy 4.32%, which equates to a quarterly payment to shareholders of 36 cents.
As with most Canadian energy companies, Suncor’s stock trades at a modest six times forward earnings. Between January and May of this year, Suncor bought back $1.3 billion of its common stock.
While it’s hard to argue with SU stock’s performance or the rewards it offers to investors, at least one activist investor expects more from the company. Earlier this year, New York-based Elliott Management took a stake in Suncor and promptly called for changes at the company.
To appease Elliott Management, which is run by hedge fund titan Paul Singer, Suncor announced in July that it would expand its board of directors and undertake a strategic review of its retail business, which includes 1,500 gas stations across Canada, with a view to selling that part of its business.
The gas stations are estimated to be worth 11 billion Canadian dollars (US$8 billion). Suncor also fired CEO Mark Little and replaced him with Executive Vice President for Downstream Operations Kris Smith. Elliott Management is pushing to unlock more shareholder value from SU stock.
On the date of publication, Joel Baglole did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
Joel Baglole has been a business journalist for 20 years. He spent five years as a staff reporter at The Wall Street Journal, and has also written for The Washington Post and Toronto Star newspapers, as well as financial websites such as The Motley Fool and Investopedia.