How to invest in gas

Thinking about investing in gas? Read or guide to buying, selling and investing in natural gas.

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a working man looking at a gas refinery

Gas has been a reliable source of energy since the mid-19th century and currently makes up a significant percentage of the UK’s annual energy production. As a result of its availability and necessity, it has become a mainstream commodity on the investment market.

Like many commodities, the natural gas market has also been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with wholesale gas prices falling as a result of a huge drop in demand. While gas market prices were declining before the crisis, the pandemic has accelerated this fall.

This guide discusses the four main ways that you can invest in gas, as well as any risks that may come with those options.

Investing in gasoline

If you’re considering investing in gasoline or petrol, you’ll want to look at how you can invest in crude oil, which is the commodity used to produce the fuel used in cars and other vehicles.

Investing in gas ETFs

Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a way of investing your money in a selection of assets rather than buying shares in a couple of specific companies. You can find out more about ETFs here.

ETFs are fairly simple and accessible, and trading them works in a similar way to regular stocks. As well as being relatively straightforward, ETFs are also seen as less risky. By investing in a basket of assets you leave yourself less vulnerable to the fluctuations of the market.

If you are new to the world of investment then ETFs may be the best choice for you. Gas is an incredibly popular commodity, with a range of companies and ETFs to choose from.

The world’s three largest natural gas ETFs at the moment are:

  • VelocityShares 3x Long Natural Gas (UGAZ)
  • United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG)
  • VelocityShares 3x Inverse Natural Gas (DGAZ)

Pros

  • ETFs give you widespread access to the natural gas industry at a competitive price.
  • In comparison to some of the other options ETFs are seen as a safer, more reliable choice for investors.

Cons

  • There is less control over your investment due to the diverse range of assets in an ETF.

Compare brokers to buy gas ETFs


Invest in gas futures

Futures are a direct but risky investment that are subject to both the fluctuations of the market and the knowledge of the buyer. A high-risk, high-reward system, newcomers may want to gain some experience in the field before purchasing futures.

Futures, as the name suggests, are a way of buying gas at a later date at an agreed price. Depending on market movements you may end up making a solid return on your investment, or just as easily losing money.

Pros

  • With a good knowledge of the market and some good fortune gas futures could bring you large returns on your investment.
  • A very direct way of owning a share of a commodity.

Cons

  • The market is unpredictable and constantly fluctuating – futures are vulnerable to these movements and making the wrong investment can lose you money.
  • If you don’t act on futures within the specified period they expire and are worth nothing.

Compare brokers to buy gas futures


Buying shares in gas companies

Stocks are one of the more conventional ways to invest in a commodity. Gas is a popular investment and a necessary form of energy for many households around the world, so there are multiple gas-producing companies to choose from: ranging from Chevron to BP to Shell. Stocks are simple to buy through brokers and advisors, but the decision on what shares to buy is up to you!

Buying stocks takes some knowledge of the market and its fluctuations, but this can be safer than investing in futures as you buy stock at the current price that is displayed. However, ETFs may still be a safer option as you aren’t relying on the performance of just one or two companies.

Pros

  • One of the most conventional and accessible ways of entering the market.
  • Choose from a variety of stock from different companies.
  • Exit the market at any time.

Cons

  • Interference from businesses involved in the refining process can curb a company’s stock value, so share prices don’t always grow at the same rate as the price of the commodity itself.
  • As with all shares on the stock market, their value can go down as well as up.

Compare brokers to buy gas company shares


Investing in MLPs

It is also possible to buy stocks in Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs). These are structured to offer certain tax advantages that mean profits are only taxed when they are distributed to the general and limited partners of a company. This type of set-up is appealing to some investors, as MLP returns are not taxed in the same way as dividend-paying shares.

MLPs also tend to be seen as a lower risk, but longer term, investment option. There are some risks that come with MLPs however, including demand, market volatility and the fluctuation of prices, as well as new legislation, environmental disasters/hazards and political and social shifts.

Pros

  • Some of the dividend payments offered can bring strong returns on your investment.
  • MLPs are easy to access through brokers and advisors.

Cons

  • As with shares, businesses with an interest in the manufacturing process of gas can influence market value, meaning stock prices may not be in line with commodity prices.
  • Demand and market risk can have an impact on MLPs, and companies may choose to withdraw their dividends.

How much is gas worth now?

Is gas a safe investment?

The world relies on gas for energy, and its abundance makes it quite a reliable commodity on the stock market. However, the market is never completely safe, and gas is no exception:

  • Pipeline incidents: A risk for the environment as well as your profits, a burst pipeline can have disastrous effects on both your investments and the ecosystem at large.
  • Dividend cuts: Gas companies often distribute dividends to shareholders, which allows their investments to make a regular income. If a company cannot make enough money however, dividends can be cut. This can lead to stock prices plummeting.
  • Price volatility: Prices for gas have fluctuated violently over the years, usually as a result of shifts in supply. Gas is also seasonal, with people using more during the winter, which can also affect prices.

Compare gas ETFs and share-dealing platforms

Table: sorted by promoted deals first
Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Price per trade Frequent trader rate Platform fees Brand description
Fineco
£2.95
£2.95
Zero platform fee
Fineco Bank is good for share traders and investors looking for a complete platform and wide offer. Your first 50 trades are free with Fineco, until 30/09/2020. T&Cs apply. Capital at risk.
IG
0% commission on US shares, and £3 on UK shares
From £5
£0 - £24 per quarter
IG is good for experienced traders, and offers learning resources for beginners, all with wide access to shares, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Fund and Share Account
£11.95
£5.95
No fees
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's number one platform for private investors, with the depth of features you'd expect from an established platform. Capital at risk.
eToro Free Stocks
0% commission, no markup, no ticket fee, no management fee
N/A
Withdrawal fee & GDP to USD deposit conversion
eToro is good for social trading - letting you mirror the portfolios of other traders. Capital at risk. 0% commission but other fees may apply.
Interactive Investor
From £7.99 on the Investor Service Plan
From £7.99 on the Investor Service Plan
No transfer fees or exit fees. £9.99 a month on the Investor Service Plan
Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum deposit Maximum annual fee Price per trade Brand description
Hargreaves Lansdown stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.45%
£11.95
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got everything you'll need, from beginners to experienced investors. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor stocks and shares ISA
£100 or £25 a month
£119.88
£7.99
Interactive Investor offers everything most investors need. Its flat fees makes it pricey for small portfolios, but cheap for big ones. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets stocks and shares ISA
No minimum deposit requirement
0.12%
£8.00
Saxo Markets offers a wide access to a range of stocks, ETFs and funds. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell stocks and shares ISA
£500
0.25%
£9.95
AJ Bell is a good all-rounder for people who to choose between shares, funds, ISAs and pensions. Capital at risk.
Fidelity stocks and shares ISA
£1000 or a regular savings plan from £50
0.35%
£10.00
Fidelity is another good all-rounder, offering a good package at a decent price. Not suited for trading shares. Capital at risk.
Nutmeg stocks and shares ISA
£100
0.75%
£0
Nutmeg offers three types of portfolios. Choose the one that goes with your investment style. Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

Data indicated here is updated regularly
Name Product Minimum investment Choose from Annual fee Brand description
PensionBee Pension
No minimum
7 funds
0.5% - 0.95%
Pension Bee is a newbie in the pension market. It helps consolidate your pension plans into one place. Capital at risk.
Hargreaves Lansdown Pension
£100
2,500 funds
0-0.45%
Hargreaves Lansdown is the UK's biggest wealth manager. It's got three different retirement options. Capital at risk.
Interactive Investor Pension
£25/month
Over 2,500 funds
£10/month
interactive investor is a flat-fee platform, which makes it cost effective for larger portfolios. Capital at risk.
Saxo Markets Pension
Saxo Markets Pension
£10
Over 11,000 funds
No annual fee
Saxo Markets gives flexibility and control over your investment strategy. Capital at risk.
AJ Bell Pension
£1,000
Over 2,000 funds
0.05-0.25%
AJ Bell has two different pension options, a self managed pension and one that is managed for you. Capital at risk.
Moneybox Pension
£1
3 funds
0.15% - 0.45% charged monthly
Manage your money with an easy-to-use Moneybox app. Capital at risk.
Moneyfarm Pension
Moneyfarm Pension
0.35%-0.75%
7 funds
£1,500 (initial investment)
Moneyfarm has pensions that are matched against your risk appetite, goals and planned retirement date. Capital at risk.
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Compare up to 4 providers

All investing should be regarded as longer term. The value of your investments can go up and down, and you may get back less than you invest. Capital is at risk.

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