Being contrarian could lead to lucrative energy plays

Sometimes the most attractive energy assets aren’t found in the ground. Rather, at times like today, they are listed on the stock exchange.

Billionaire businessman Carl Icahn is one investor seeing value in energy companies. The hedge fund manager recently announced his purchase of 60 million shares in the Canadian oil and gas producer, Talisman Energy. Icahn has built up a nearly 6% stake in the Calgary-based energy producer, worth a whopping $300 million. Even though the company has been a perennial underperformer, after Icahn’s tweet, the stock climbed to the highest level in more than a year.

According to Forbes, analysts figure if Icahn and the CEO can successfully turn the company around, “The gain on the legendary raider’s 6% could be more than $500 million.”

I believe this “raider’s” deal represents one of the many potentially lucrative energy plays that savvy investors are getting excited about. Whereas last summer, Chinese companies were scooping up valuable resource assets, now a different phenomenon is taking place.

For example, I recently talked to Martin Soong on CNBC Asia about Petrominerales being purchased for about $900 million in cash by Bogota-based major oil producer Pacific Rubiales. Petrominerales’ stock popped an incredible 42% on Sept. 27 before trading on the stock was halted.

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