A deep and prolonged slump in natural gas prices has thrown much of the industry’s largest produces into a state of panic and turmoil. As prices have fallen, so have stock prices — with shares of natural gas giants like Chesapeake Energy , Devon Energy , and Encana have fallen twenty-plus percent over the last year.
But among the ruins of larger companies, traders have singled out a small and relatively unknown U.S. producer called Linn Energy that could thrive in a low-price environment.
The reason is simple they say: Linn runs one of the best hedging programs in the industry.
“We’re 100 percent hedged through 2015 on natural gas at a pretty attractive price,” says Mark Ellis, the company’s CEO. “It’s an absolute critical part of our success.”
That success is thanks to simple math: while other producers are selling the natural gas from their wells at prices hovering around $2 (natural gas sank to decade-low levels of $2.06 in Monday trading), Linn will be selling theirs, on average in 2012, for around $5.44 — a massive margin for a company that produces an average of 370 million cubic feet of gas every day.
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