Here’s why Origin Energy Ltd and Woodside Petroleum Limited shares plunged today

Credit: greig davidson

What: The Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) and Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) share prices were hammered in ASX trading today. In fact, in the last hour of trading, shares of the two big oil and gas companies were 8.5% and 5.5% lower, respectively.

So what: The share prices of major local and international oil and gas producers have come under intense selling pressure in the past 24 hours as geopolitical concerns out of the Middle East and Asia sent oil markets into a nosedive.

Overnight, oil prices fell to a fresh 11-year low, below $US35 a barrel, after Saudi Arabia broke ties with Iran. The tensions mean the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) are increasingly unlikely to agree upon measures that would see the oversupply situation in oil markets rebalance anytime soon.

Now what: Following huge selloffs in global oil markets, some readers may be thinking now is an opportune time for savvy investors to swoop in on discounted oil and gas shares.

However, if their past 12-month performance has taught us anything it is that it’s nigh-impossible to pick the bottom of commodities markets. Indeed, while cars and trucks will continue to guzzle gasoline and houses will need gas to power their heaters, is betting on a turnaround in oil markets really worth it?

In my opinion, because patience doesn’t cost us anything, I think it’d be best to wait until conditions noticeably improve before even considering a purchase of shares in these types of businesses.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz has no position in any stocks mentioned.

Owen welcomes your feedback on Google plus (see below), LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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