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How to Invest in Oil Without Taking a Risk

  • Private equity firms snap up mineral rights to get royalties
  • More pay up front to secure steady income on oil, gas output
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Gary Shilling Sees Correlation Between Oil and Stocks

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Bob Ravnaas raised a paddle in a Houston auction house to secure his first block of mineral rights 19 years ago, when oil prices were swooning below $20 a barrel.

A generation later, that same West Texas oilfield is still spinning off royalties, part of a mineral-rights empire amassed by Ravnaas that stretches across 20 states and delivers millions of dollars in cash payments. Kimbell Royalty Partners LP, where the former petroleum engineer is now chief executive officer, has stakes in 48,000 oil and natural-gas wells in some of the hottest U.S. shale patches. These days, it’s not alone.