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Low-Risk Energy Stocks: Skip the Mideast

Kent Croft has a way for investors to play energy, with a minimum of risk.

His four-star Croft Value Fund is up 16.6 percent year-to-date, and he recommends two relatively-obscure energy companies with some important things in common.

"We prefer to be in the North American names, where we take some of that geopolitical risk out of the equation," he told CNBC.

He particularly likes companies tapping the oil sands in Canada, "the second-largest reserve base of oil outside of Saudi Arabia."

"Petrobank [Petrobank Energy and Resources] is a company we like," Croft said. "In the oil-sands area, one of the things they have is a proprietary process to address the high cost of extraction up there."

Down in the U.S., he likes oil and gas producer Ultra Petroleum.

"Natural gas, we think that we've been spinning our wheels as far as production," he said.

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"They're growing their production in the Rockies. There's going to be a new pipeline opening up to get them better prices for their gas in the broader market, so we see a better production profile going forward with them."

Croft owns both Petrobank and Ultra through his fund.

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