The 5 best ASX energy shares of 2021 unmasked

The top energy companies returned more than 4 times the index’s 2021 gains.

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ASX energy shares broadly enjoyed a strong year in 2021.

The energy companies were buoyed by rising energy demand fuelled by the global reopening amid limited new supplies coming online, driving up the prices for crude oil, LNG, and coal.

Brent crude oil, for example, kicked off last year trading at US$51.80 per barrel. Brent reached highs of some US$85.53 per barrel on 22 October. It finished the year at US$77.78 per barrel, 50% higher than where it began.

Narrowing our focus on those companies listed on the S&P/ASX 300 Index (ASX: XKO), the top 5 ASX energy shares returned a combined average of 54.6% over the 12 months. That compares to a gain of 13.4% posted by the ASX 300 over that same time.

So, without further ado, here are the top 5 ASX 300 energy shares.

Coming in at number 5 and number 4

The fifth best ASX energy share to hold in 2021 was Viva Energy Group Ltd (ASX: VEA).

Viva Energy’s share price gained 15.8% during the calendar year. The company sells fuel and specialty products through its retail and commercial channels across Australia.

Viva closed the year trading for $2.35 per share. With approximately 1.55 billion shares outstanding, Viva has a current market cap of $3.63 billion. Atop the share price appreciation, Viva Energy pays a 1.80% trailing dividend yield, fully franked.

Moving on to the fourth best performing ASX energy share of the year just past, we have New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX: NHC), gaining an impressive 57% over the 12 months.

Based in South East Queensland, New Hope has a strong focus on coal production along with some oil projects.

New Hope closed on 31 December at $2.23 per share. With some 832.4 million shares outstanding, it has a current market cap of $1.86 billion. New Hope pays a trailing dividend yield of 4.93%, 100% franked.

The third and second best performers of 2021

The third and second best performing ASX energy shares of 2021 are almost evenly matched.

Coming in third place by a nose is Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC), which gained 58.2% over the year.

Whitehaven is the biggest pure play coal miner on the ASX, with numerous large mines operating in the Gunnedah Coal Basin of New South Wales.

Whitehaven finished the year trading for $2.61 per share. With 1.03 billion shares outstanding, it has a current market cap of $2.70 billion. Whitehaven pays a 0.83% dividend yield, unfranked.

Edging out the coal giant as the second best ASX energy share to buy and hold in 2021 is Karoon Energy Ltd (ASX: KAR). Karoon gained 58.5% during the year, closing at $1.68 per share.

The oil and gas explorer and producer has projects in Australia, Brazil, and Peru.

With 556.2 million shares outstanding, Karoon has a current market cap of $978.9 million. Karoon does not pay a dividend.

Which brings us to…

2021’s best performing ASX energy share

By far the best performing ASX 300 energy share of 2021 was Senex Energy Ltd (ASX: SXY), which gained a whopping 83.3% over the course of the year.

The oil and gas explorer and producer, with projects in South Australia and Queensland, will certainly have benefited from rising energy costs over the year.

Senex closed on 31 December trading for $4.62 per share. With 185.3 million shares outstanding, the company has a market cap of $855.9 million. Senex pays a 1.95% trailing dividend yield, unfranked.

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