“MLPs and midstream are more defensive by nature of their fee-based business models, but other factors have been supportive as well. Record high (and growing) US oil and natural gas production is positive for the space as largely volume-driven businesses,” Alerian added.

Investors who are interested in gaining exposure to the MLP and midstream segments may look to ETFs, such as the ALPS Alerian MLP ETF (NYSEArca: AMLP), the largest and most liquid MLP-related ETF on the market, and the Alerian Energy Infrastructure ETF (NYSEArca: ENFR).

AMLP provides diversified, transparent exposure to a basket of infrastructure MLPs and provides yields in the 6% to 8% range on a consistent basis.

ENFR acts as a type of hybrid energy infrastructure ETF, which could help investors capture some of the high yields from MLPs but limits the tax hit from solely owning MLPs.

“Midstream is more defensive than other sectors of energy because cash flows are largely fee-based and thus more insulated from moves in commodity prices. While any negative performance is understandably frustrating for investors, midstream is performing as one would reasonably expect given the ~30% decline in oil prices since early October. Oil price weakness is a risk, but midstream is still the defensive place to invest in energy against the backdrop of a tough oil tape,” according to Alerian.

For more information on master limited partnerships, visit our MLPs category.