ETF Trends
ETF Trends

There are approximately 30 equity-based exchange traded funds trading in the U.S. that are dedicated to the energy sector.

Those ETFs run the gamut from the prosaic, such as the Energy Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLE), to the niche, including the Global X China Energy ETF (NYSEArca: CHIE). There are even ETFs dedicated to oil services names, natural gas equities and small-cap energy firms, but there is not a standalone refiners ETF.

That could change as Van Eck’s Market Vectors unit has filed plans for the Market Vectors Oil Refiners ETF, which would track the Market Vectors Global Oil Refiners Index, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing did not include a ticker or expense ratio for the Market Vectors Oil Refiners ETF, indicating that a launch is not imminent.

“The profitability of companies in the oil refining industry is related to supply and demand of all sources of energy. The price of energy, the earnings of companies in the oil refining industry, and the value of such companies’ securities have recently experienced significant volatility. This may adversely impact companies operating in the oil refining industry. Such companies are also subject to risks of changes in commodity prices, interest rates, exchange rates and the price of oil and gas, government regulation, the imposition of import controls, world events, negative perception, depletion of resources, development of alternative energy sources, technological developments, labor relations and general economic conditions, as well as market, economic and political risks of the countries where oil refining companies are located or do business, fluctuations caused by events relating to international politics, including political instability, expropriation, social unrest and acts of war, acts of terrorism, energy conservation, the success of exploration projects and tax and other governmental regulatory policies. Oil refining companies are also subject to risks related to environmental damage, injury to persons and loss of life or the destruction of property, any of which could expose such companies to the risk of litigation and clean-up or other remedial costs,” said Market Vectors in the filing regarding the risks of investing in refiners.

Still, low oil prices have boosted margins for refiners this year, helping ETFs that have above-average exposure to the sector outperform. For example, the PowerShares Dynamic Energy Exploration & Production Portfolio (NYSEArca: PXE) and the PowerShares DWA Energy Momentum Portfolio (NYSEArca: PXI) are up 10.7% and 6.7% this year compared to a gain of 2.7% for XLE. [The Right Energy ETFs Right Now]

Market Vectors is no stranger to success with energy ETFs. The firm issues the $72.5 million Market Vectors Unconventional Oil & Gas ETF (NYSEArca: FRAK) and the $1.2 billion Market Vectors Oil Service ETF (NYSEArca: OIH).

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.