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‘New Middle East’ Seen Lifting U.S. Oil Stocks: Chart of the Day

Dozens of U.S. companies will benefit as North America becomes “the new Middle East” for energy production during this decade, according to Citigroup Inc.’s analysts.

The CHART OF THE DAY depicts the gap between U.S. exports and imports of oil products, as compiled monthly by the Energy Department since 1973. Commodity analysts at Citigroup cited net exports in a report two days ago to support their view about the continent’s prospects.

Shipments of gasoline, diesel fuel and other products surpassed imports by an average of 439,000 barrels a day in 2011, according to the department. Last year was the first time since 1949 that the U.S. was a net exporter. Crude-oil output exceeded 2 billion barrels for the first time since 2003.

“The U.S. has become the fastest-growing oil and natural-gas producing area of the world,” Edward L. Morse, Citigroup’s New York-based head of global commodities research, and half a dozen colleagues wrote in the report. Greater output from Canada and a rebound in Mexico point to bigger increases in North American production “than all of OPEC can sustain.”

Citigroup’s U.S. equity analysts, in a separate report, named 63 energy producers, oilfield-service providers, pipeline owners, oil refiners and other companies poised to profit from the growth. They narrowed the list down to 10 top picks.

EOG Resources Inc., Helmerich & Payne Inc. and Valero Energy Corp. were included along with two energy partnerships, Enterprise Products Partners LP and MarkWest Energy Partners LP. Sunoco Inc. and its Sunoco Logistics Partners LP affiliate were counted as one pick. Calpine Corp., KBR Inc., LyondellBasell Industries NV and Roper Industries Inc. completed the lineup.

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