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Linn Energy LLC (LINE), Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC (VNR): What Sets These MLPs Apart?

The Best Stock to Profit from Cheap Natural GasWhile most investors these days are familiar with midstream MLPs and the generous distributions paid, far fewer are familiar with the growing number of upstream oil and gas MLPs. These companies pay the same large distributions but, instead of transporting oil and gas around the country, they’re taking it out of the ground.

Traditional exploration and production companies still do most of the heavy lifting. An upstream MLP simply buys up mature producing wells to squeeze out every last drop of oil and gas from them while distributing virtually all of the profits to investors. To help you better determine which upstream MLP you might want to buy, I’ve compiled the top reason why you’d want each company in your portfolio.

If you want to own the top dog
Linn Energy LLC
(NASDAQ:LINE), and by association LinnCo LLC (NASDAQ:LNCO), is by far and away the top dog in the upstream MLP segment. Though, as some might point out, LINN’s not exactly an MLP as its true structure is that of an LLC. That aside, Linn Energy LLC (NASDAQ:LINE) is not only the largest company in the space that it created, but it is bigger than every one of its peers combined:

Source: LINN Energy investor presentation

LINN’s not just big, but it’s also the most hedged operator in the energy industry. It has hedged its natural gas output until 2017 and its oil production is hedged through 2016. This enables Linn Energy LLC (NASDAQ:LINE) and LinnCo to lock in cash flow to investors, allowing both companies to pay an 8% distribution. Bottom line here, if you want to earn income from oil and gas production, LINN’s could be the safest way to play.

If you want to be paid monthly
If you want a slightly larger yield hitting your brokerage account a bit more often Vanguard Natural Resources, LLC (NYSE:VNR)monthly distribution might be for you. Like its upstream peers, Vanguard’s lifeblood is its ability to acquire mature, long-life production. Just last week the company announced a $275 million deal to acquire oil and gas properties in the Permian Basin from Range Resources Corp. (NYSE:RRC) . The deal added 136 billion cubic feet equivalent of liquid-rich reserves and has an estimated reserve life of nearly 20 years. It’s a great MLP-type asset that should help Vanguard to keep its growing distribution flowing to investors.