September’s best performing ASX 200 energy shares unmasked

Energy demand is outstripping supply.

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September was a stellar month for the leading S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) energy shares.

In a month that saw the broader ASX 200 fall by 2.7%, the top-3 ASX 200 energy shares gained a collective 31%.

Beach Energy Ltd (ASX: BPT) led the pack, gaining a whopping 42.9% in September.

Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC), meanwhile, saw its share price surge by 27.7% over the month.

And shares in our number 3 top gainer, Woodside Petroleum Ltd (ASX: WPL), leapt 22.5% in September.

What’s driving the big share price gains?

There are numerous factors that determine a company’s share price. But when it comes to ASX 200 energy shares, the price of the fossil fuels they mine from the earth is critical.

And energy prices have been rocketing.

On the supply side, there’ve been bottlenecks due to pandemic related production issues, storms in the major oil producing Gulf of Mexico, a broad pullback in new exploration over the past 18 months, and a determined OPEC keeping a lid on the cartel members’ own output.

On the demand side, while demand for jet fuel remains well below pre-pandemic times, demand for most ground and sea transport is rebounding quickly.

The result?

Brent crude prices leapt from US$71.59 per barrel to US$78.52 per barrel during the month of September. And they’ve kept edging higher with a barrel of Brent crude currently trading for US$81.26.

Coal is enjoying an even stronger run with demand remaining strong for Australia’s high quality coking coal. That’s the kind that’s used to make steel, as opposed to thermal coal used for power generation.

Coking coal prices have gained some 300% over the past 12 months, reaching record prices of more than US$200 per tonne.

Little wonder then that the leading ASX 200 energy share trounced the index in September.

How have these ASX 200 energy shares been performing in 2021?

We know the above 3 ASX 200 energy shares smashed the benchmark performance in September.

But how have they held up over the course of the calendar year where the ASX 200 has gained 9%?

Not so well for the Beach Energy share price, our September leader, which is down 21% year-to-date.

Our number two ASX 200 energy share Whitehaven Coal, on the other hand, has enjoyed an eye-popping 106% share price gain so far in 2021.

And Woodside Petroleum comes in right about at the benchmark, with shares up 8% year-to-date.

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The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. 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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