Shares in Genel Energy (LSE: GENL) have soared by 38% in the last week despite the company having not released any significant news flow. Clearly, it is benefitting from improved investor sentiment in the wider oil and gas industry, with a number of its sector peers also recording staggering share price gains in recent days. And with Genel up 10% today, it seems as though its shares could continue to head northwards in the short run.

No guarantees

Encouragingly, Genel recently reported the receipt of further payments from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). This is excellent for the company and with it also including a contribution towards previous outstanding amounts, it shows that over time the $millions which are owed to Genel for past oil exports could gradually be repaid.

With Genel trading on a price to earnings growth (PEG) ratio of just 0.4, it has clear upside potential. However, it remains a high risk play and therefore it may be prudent to await further payments of outstanding amounts before buying a slice of the business, since there are no guarantees of future payments given the instability within the region.

Positive potential

Also rising sharply today are shares in Solo Oil (LSE: SOLO). It is up 8% today and has soared by over 20% in the last week, due mainly to the positive news flow from the Horse Hill project in the UK. Solo Oil has a 6.5% interest in PEDL137, from which dry oil has continued to flow naturally at a stabilised rate of over 450 barrels of oil per day during a second day of testing. And with two further intervals yet to be tested, there is the potential for further positive news flow in the coming days and weeks.

As a result of this, there is the real prospect of more share price gains for investors in Solo Oil. However, the stock is very much dependent upon news flow and it is therefore very difficult to accurately ascertain its risk/reward ratio. Because of this, for most investors it seems prudent to stick to profitable oil and gas plays which trade on low valuations at the present time.

Bright future

Meanwhile, Rare Earth Minerals (LSE: REM) is up by 4% today after European Metals Holdings (in which it has a 11.9% stake) released an update to say it was very pleased with the drill results from the Cinovec project in the Czech Republic. Drillhole PSn01 returned an intercept of 156 metres averaging 0.46% lithium oxide, with the mineralised intercept including a high grade interval of 64 meters averaging 0.63% lithium oxide.

In addition, the lithium intercept from Drillhole PSn01 also contains zones which are significantly enriched in tin and tungsten, which is clearly good news for Rare Earth Minerals. And with demand for lithium in particular likely to rise in the long run as the world shifts towards cleaner energy, it seems to have a bright long term future. As such, it may be of interest to less risk averse investors.

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Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.