There have been better years for making money in oil and gas, but for investors in publicly traded midstream companies, 2016 got the job done.

Hart Energy’s Midstream 50 stock index showed a 24.7% increase for the year. The index tracks performance of the sector’s leading companies as measured by 2015 EBITDA, and is weighted by market capitalization.

By comparison, the Dow Jones industrial index rose 13.4% in 2016 and the broad S&P 500 index grew by 9.5%.

The Midstream 50’s performance is even more heartening when compared to the 32.1% plunge that it suffered in 2015, when broader markets took smaller losses.

The figure falls short of upstream performance as measured by the S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production select industry index, which posted a 37.1% gain. That index fell by 37.4% in 2015. While bankruptcies plagued that sector in 2016, many of the victims were private companies, and bankrupt public companies would have been bumped from that list.

The five companies at the top of list showed very strong gains, with the exception of Enterprise Products Partners LP (NYSE: EPD), which rose only 5.7%. Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI), the initial Midstream 50 champ, enjoyed a 38.8% boost in 2016. Kinder was mentioned by Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. as an oil and gas stock pick to watch in 2017. Among the other leaders:

  • Energy Transfer Equity LP (NYSE: ETE) was up 40.5%;
  • TransCanada Corp. (NYSE: TRP) rose 38.5%; and
  • The Williams Cos. Inc. (NYSE: WMB) was up 21.2%.

Joseph Markman can be reached at and @JHMarkman.