Investing in pipeline stocks

Dividends are common perks, but protests can sideline projects and hurt profits.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Investing in pipeline stocks is a unique opportunity to buy into the profitability of the oil and gas sector. But public opposition to pipeline infrastructure has the potential to interrupt projects and halt construction efforts. Read on to find out more about investing in pipeline stocks, including the risks and returns.

What are pipelines?

Pipelines are the physical structures responsible for transporting natural gas, crude oil, natural gas liquids, petroleum and petrochemicals from production centers to refineries, docks, terminals, power plants and consumers. They are a core component of the oil and gas industry and without their infrastructure, the system would grind to a halt.

Pipelines can be divided into four subcategories:

  • Gathering. These lines gather products from wells and transport them to processing plants.
  • Feeder. These lines transport oil, gas and liquids from storage tanks and processing plants to transmission pipelines.
  • Transmission. These large pipelines can span more than three feet wide and are responsible for carrying oil, gas and natural gas liquids across state lines and country borders for processing or storage.
  • Distribution. These pipelines are responsible for distributing natural gas to homes and businesses.

Pipeline stocks are stocks from companies that build, operate or maintain energy pipelines. Generally, there are two types of companies in this space: pipeline corporations and master limited partnerships (MLPs). Both are viable investment opportunities.

Why invest in pipeline stocks?

From 2019 to 2025, global oil production is expected to grow massively. And this growth will require more pipeline infrastructure.

While it’s true that we’ve begun to experience a global shift towards green energy, we’re far from eliminating our reliance on gas and oil. Plus, many pipeline companies pay dividends, making pipeline stocks a practical portfolio addition for buy and hold investors.

Risks of investing in pipeline stocks

The profitability of pipeline companies depends on the price of oil and gas. And oil and gas prices can be unstable.

Pipeline companies get paid based on the amount of gas and oil they move. When the price of these commodities falls, drilling companies cut back their activity, well output declines and less oil and gas flows through pipeline infrastructures.

Another risk for Australian investors to consider before buying into pipeline stocks is the rising opposition to new infrastructure. Investors should be aware of the environmental risk it poses.

Namely, pipeline leaks have the potential to contaminate water supplies. Pipeline protests can sideline construction efforts and delay projects, effectively reducing productivity and decreasing profits for companies and shareholders alike.

Pipeline stocks

There are many stock options for Australian investors ready to buy into the pipeline category.

What ETFs track the pipeline category?

Exchange-traded funds that include pipeline companies typically track multicap energy master limited partnerships (MLPs).

  • Alerian MLP ETF (AMLP)
  • Energy Select Sector SPDR Fund (XLE)
  • ETRACS Alerian MLP Infrastructure Index ETN (MLPB)
  • Global X MLP & Energy Infrastructure ETF (MLPX)
  • iShares Global Energy ETF (IXC)
  • UBS E-TRACS Alerian MLP Infrastructure ETN (MLPI)

Compare trading platforms

Before you can invest in pipeline stocks, you’ll need a brokerage account in Australia. Review your options below.

Name Product Standard brokerage fee Inactivity fee Markets International
eToro (global stocks)
US$0
US$10 per month if there’s been no login for 12 months
Global shares, US shares, ETFs
Yes
Zero brokerage share trading on US, Hong Kong and European stocks with trades as low as $50.
Note: This broker offers CFDs which are volatile investment products and most clients lose money trading CFDs with this provider.
Join the world’s biggest social trading network when you trade stocks, commodities and currencies from the one account.
IG Share Trading
$8
$50 per quarter if you make fewer than three trades in that period
ASX shares, Global shares
Yes
$0 brokerage for US and global shares plus get an active trader discount of $5 commission on Australian shares.
Enjoy some of the lowest brokerage fees on the market when trading Australian shares, international shares, plus get access to 24-hour customer support.
Superhero share trading
$5
No
ASX shares, US shares
Yes
Australia’s lowest-cost broker for ASX shares and ETFs.
Pay zero brokerage on US stocks and all ETFs and just $5 (flat fee) to trade Australian shares from your mobile or desktop.
ThinkMarkets Share Trading
$8
No
ASX shares
No
Limited-time offer: Get 10 free ASX trades ($0 brokerage) when you open a share trading account with ThinkMarkets before 31 December 2021(T&Cs apply). $8 flat fee brokerage for CHESS Sponsored ASX stocks (HIN ownership), plus free live stock price data on an easy to use mobile app.
Bell Direct Share Trading
Finder AwardExclusive
Bell Direct Share Trading
$15
No
ASX shares, mFunds, ETFs
No
Finder Exclusive: Get 5 free stock trades and unlimited ETF trades until 31 Dec 2021, when you join Bell Direct. T&Cs apply.
Bell Direct offers a one-second placement guarantee on market-to-limit ASX orders or your trade is free, plus enjoy extensive free research reports from top financial experts.
SelfWealth (Basic account)
$9.5
No
ASX shares, US shares
Yes
Trade ASX and US shares for a flat fee of $9.50, regardless of the trade size.
New customers receive free access to Community Insights with SelfWealth Premium for the first 90 days. Follow other investors and benchmark your portfolio performance.
Saxo Capital Markets (Classic account)
$5
No
ASX shares, Global shares, Forex, CFDs, Margin trading, Options trading, ETFs
Yes
Access 19,000+ stocks on 40+ exchanges worldwide
Low fees for Australian and global share trading, no inactivity fees, low currency conversion fee and optimised for mobile.
CMC Markets Invest
$11
No
ASX shares, Global shares, mFunds, ETFs
Yes
$0 brokerage on global shares including US, UK and Japan markets.
Trade up to 9,000 products, including shares, ETFs and managed funds, plus access up to 15 major global and Australian stock exchanges.
HSBC Online Share Trading
$19.95
No
ASX shares, mFunds, ETFs, Bonds
No
Limited time offer: Get up to $100 in brokerage rebates on your first 5 trades when you sign up to a HSBC Online Share Trading account (T&Cs apply). Make trades online with brokerage fees starting from just $19.95 with an HSBC Online Share Trading account. Plus gain access to complimentary expert research, trading ideas and tools.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Important: Share trading can be financially risky and the value of your investment can go down as well as up. Standard brokerage is the cost to purchase $1,000 or less of equities without any qualifications or special eligibility. Where both CHESS sponsored and custodian shares are offered, we display the cheapest option.

Bottom line

Australian investors seeking a dividend-paying, long-term investment may find value in pipeline stocks. But profits in this category depend on the price of oil and gas and may be impacted by public opposition.

Before you invest, find the right brokerage account that fits your investment goals.

Frequently asked questions

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of futures, stocks, ETFs, CFDs, options or any specific provider, service or offering. It should not be relied upon as investment advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks, ETFs and options trading involves substantial risk of loss and therefore are not appropriate for all investors. Trading CFDs and forex on leverage comes with a higher risk of losing money rapidly. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before making any trades.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site