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For value, look past front line energy producers

In a hot crude market, playing the front line producers is the easiest way to get into the game. Their production metrics are readily available, and their proven reserves give you a sense of what could come.

But there are also lots of companies operating behind the scenes that provide good value for investors, or that could get wrapped up in a deal. For proof, look no further than Flint Energy Services Ltd. , which is being bought by URS Corp. for $1.25-billion, a whopping 68 per cent premium.

With crude sitting at $106 (U.S.) per barrel, expanding your scope of energy names is pretty much a no brainer. "With oil sands spending expected to reach about $20-billion in 2012 (according to industry sources), Flint, which offers diversified activities spanning the full cycle of oil and gas exploration and production, is well positioned to capitalize on the capex up-cycle; a point not lost on URS as evidenced by yesterday's announcement," noted Altacorp analyst Maxim Sytchev.

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To get a sense of just how attractive some of these names can be, look at a firm like Gibson Energy, which has soared north of $21 per share. Though Gibson is a bit special, because it offers a nice hefty yield to investors as well, it's still a midstream energy company that offers things like well site fluid products and truck and rail energy transportation.

And on the natural gas side, there's already been a big takeover of Provident Energy Ltd, which also operates in the midstream space.

So keep your eyes open for other names. Waiting for that Suncor recovery could take a while.

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