Oil Explodes Higher on Further Saudi Production Cuts: 7 'Strong Buy' Big Dividend Stocks to Buy Now

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Since topping out at $120 a barrel back in the summer of 2022, the major oil benchmarks had traded down every month until bottoming in the beginning of December. The decline from the top in June of 2022 was a staggering 40%. While the oil majors can still make money at that level, with a declining price many opted to slow or halt production. By March of this year, West Texas Intermediate had dropped to $67.61, a bottom that stayed in place until late June, when oil broke out.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) announced last Friday that its production levels will stay in place going forward, and Saudi Arabia extended its 1 million barrel-per-day production cuts through September and hinted it could continue to keep those cuts in place past then. In addition, Russia said it will be cutting oil exports in September by 300 million barrels.

The cuts, combined with an increase in demand from China, could spike prices in a big way, especially with the peak usage and summer driving still in the playbook for another few weeks.

We screened our 24/7 Wall St. energy research universe looking for stocks that are rated Buy, come with large and dependable dividends and have solid upside to the posted price targets. Seven top companies came up, and all make sense for growth and income investors looking to add energy.

It is important to remember that no single analyst report should be used as a sole basis for any buying or selling decision.

Coterra Energy

This company was formed by the closing of the $17 billion merger of Cabot Oil & Gas and Cimarex Energy in 2021. Coterra Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: CTRA) is an independent oil and gas company engaged in the development, exploration and production of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs) in the United States. It primarily focuses on the Marcellus Shale, with approximately 177,000 net acres in the dry gas window of the play located in Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

The company also holds Permian Basin properties with approximately 306,000 net acres and Anadarko Basin properties located in Oklahoma with approximately 182,000 net acres. In addition, it operates natural gas and saltwater disposal gathering systems in Texas. The company sells its natural gas to industrial customers, local distribution companies, oil and gas marketers, major energy companies, pipeline companies and power-generation facilities.

Investors receive a 7.62% dividend. Stifel has a $35 target price on Coterra Energy stock. The consensus target is lower at $29.61, and the shares closed on Monday at $27.80 apiece.

Devon Energy

This may be one of the best value propositions in the sector, and it was one of the first to utilize a variable dividend strategy. Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE: DVN) is an independent energy company that primarily engages in the exploration, development and production of oil, natural gas and NGLs in the United States and Canada.

Devon Energy operates approximately 19,000 wells and also offers midstream energy services, including gathering, transmission, processing, fractionation and marketing to producers of natural gas, NGLs, crude oil and condensate through its natural gas pipelines, plants and treatment facilities.

Production is weighted toward crude oil while growth opportunities are liquids focused, anchored by the Delaware Basin, SCOOP/STACK, Eagle Ford Shale, Canadian Oil Sands, and the Barnett. Devon also owns equity in the publicly traded midstream MLP EnLink.

Shareholders receive a 6.79% dividend. A Strong Buy rating accompanies the $62 target price at Raymond James. Devon Energy stock has a $60.04 consensus target, and shares closed on Monday at $50.81.

Diamondback Energy

This red-hot energy play looks poised to press higher again. Diamondback Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FANG) is an independent oil and natural gas company focused on the acquisition, development, exploration and exploitation of unconventional and onshore oil and natural gas reserves in the Permian Basin in West Texas and New Mexico.

Diamondback Energy primarily focuses on the development of the Spraberry and Wolfcamp formations of the Midland basin, as well as the Wolfcamp and Bone Spring formations of the Delaware basin, which are part of the Permian Basin.

The company owns, operates, develops and acquires midstream infrastructure assets, including 770 miles of crude oil gathering pipelines, natural gas gathering pipelines and an integrated water system in the Midland and Delaware Basins.

As of December 31, 2021, the company’s total acreage position was approximately 524,700 gross acres in the Permian Basin, and estimated proved oil and natural gas reserves were 1,788,991 thousand barrels of crude oil equivalent.

It also holds working interests in 5,289 gross producing wells, as well as royalty interests in 6,455 additional wells. In addition, the company owns mineral interests approximately 930,871 gross acres and 27,027 net royalty acres in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford Shale.

Diamondback Energy stock investors receive a 4.63% dividend. Truist Financial’s $185 target price is well above the consensus target of $167.70 and Monday’s $148.59 closing share price.

Enterprise Products Partners

This is the largest publicly traded energy partnership and a leading North American provider of midstream energy services to producers and consumers. Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE: EPD) provides a wide variety of midstream energy services, including gathering, processing, transportation and storage of natural gas, NGL fractionation, import and export terminaling, and offshore production platform services.

One reason many analysts may have a liking for the stock might be its distribution coverage ratio. This ratio is well above 1 times, making it relatively less risky among the master limited partnerships.

Enterprise Products Partners stock comes with a 7.54% distribution. J.P. Morgan has set its price target at $33, and the consensus target is $32.16. Shares closed at $26.48 on Monday.

Northern Oil & Gas

We have covered this stock since it traded in the single digits, and it is an outstanding small-cap value idea. Northern Oil & Gas Inc. (NYSE: NOG) is an independent energy company engaged in the acquisition, exploration, exploitation, development and production of crude oil and natural gas properties in the United States.

The company primarily holds interests in the Williston Basin, the Appalachian Basin and the Permian Basin in the United States. Solid second-quarter results topped both earnings and revenue expectations.

The dividend was just increased by 3%, the 10th consecutive hike, and is now 3.60%. The $53 Truist Financial target price compares with a $46.25 consensus target. Northern Oil & Gas Monday was reported at $41.83.

Pioneer Natural Resources

Many Wall Street analysts love this stock as a pure crude oil play, and the company also employs a variable dividend strategy. Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (NYSE: PXD) operates as an independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the United States.

The company explores for, develops and produces oil, NGLs and natural gas. It has operations in the Midland Basin in West Texas. As of December 31, 2021, the company had proved undeveloped reserves and proved developed non-producing reserves of 130 million barrels of oil, 92 million barrels of NGLs and 462 billion cubic feet of gas, and it owned interests in 11 gas processing plants.

Pioneer production services are supported by 100 well-servicing rigs, more than 100 cased-hole, open-hole and offshore wireline units, and a range of advanced coiled tubing units.
Pioneer Natural Resources is a huge player in the Permian basin and the Eagle Ford in Texas, and it owns more than 20,000 locations in the world’s second-largest oil reservoir in the Midland Basin. With a stellar balance sheet, the company is poised to remain a top player in the Permian, as it expects to deliver solid production growth going forward.

Investors receive a 7.04% dividend, which could change due to the variable dividend strategy. Pioneer Natural Resources stock has a $275 target price at Stifel. The consensus target is $249.44, and Monday’s close was at $232.32.


This French integrated giant is another great way to play an energy rally from the European side. TotalEnergies S.E. (NYSE: TTE) operates as an integrated oil and gas company worldwide. Its Exploration & Production segment engages in oil and natural gas exploration and production activities in approximately 50 countries.

The Integrated Gas, Renewables & Power segment engages in the LNG production, shipping, trading and regasification activities; trading of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), petcoke and sulfur, natural gas and electricity; transportation of natural gas; electricity production from natural gas, wind, solar, hydroelectric and biogas sources; energy storage activities; and development and operation of biomethane production units, as well as provides energy efficiency services.

The Refining & Chemicals segment refines petrochemicals, including olefins and aromatics; and polymer derivatives, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene and hydrocarbon resins, as well as biomass conversion and elastomer processing. This segment also engages in trading and shipping crude oil and petroleum products.

The Marketing & Services segment produces and sells lubricants; supplies and markets petroleum products, including bulk fuel, aviation and marine fuel, special fluids, compressed natural gas, LPG and bitumen; and provides fuel payment solutions. It operates approximately 15,500 service stations.

Shareholders receive a 4.89% dividend. The BofA Securities price target is $85. The consensus target is $72.57. TotalEnergies stock closed on Monday at $61.01.

Regardless of the ongoing climate change rhetoric, the demand for oil is steady and could be ready to explode higher this year. All these top companies are well positioned for the demand challenges and could be among the best ideas for this year and beyond.

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