Nathan Slaughter
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It's one of the most unique companies on the planet. In fact, I count only two other business that do the same work.

Still, the demand for its product is volatile. This company can earn $20,000 a day or $120,000, depending on the market. When times are good (like they were in 2011), this company can make investors money hand over first.

And as you'll see below, all the signs are pointing to 2012 being a banner year for this company. As the chief strategist of StreetAuthority's Energy & Income advisory, I've tabbed it as my top energy stock for this year.

Golar LNG (Nasdaq: GLNG) simply has that much potential for the coming year.

Golar shareholders will have fond memories of 2011 -- the stock delivered an impressive 212% return last year. But this rally isn't over yet, because the same tailwinds that led to this gain will continue blowing through at least 2014.

Golar is a play on the burgeoning global trade of liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG is natural gas that is super-chilled until it becomes liquid, which can then be transported by ship anywhere in the world.

This company operates a fleet of modern LNG tankers, as well as floating storage and regasification units (FSRU). These retrofitted vessels park offshore, warm the chilled liquid gas back into ordinary natural gas, and then offload the cargo directly to pipelines for delivery to its final destination. Golar is one of only three FSRU operators worldwide.

Global LNG demand is in the early stages of a powerful growth spurt. Annual production has already spiked 60% since 2005 and currently stands at 230 million tons. And energy companies such as Chevron (NYSE: CVX) are plowing $200 billion into new projects -- investments that mirror import growth from gas-hungry nations such as Japan and South Korea.

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Nathan Slaughter

Nathan Slaughter is Chief Investment Strategist of Market Advisor, Scarcity & Real Wealth, and Energy & Income at StreetAuthority.com.