Shares in Premier Oil (LSE: PMO) have enjoyed a superb three month period, with the company’s valuation rising by 55% since the middle of January. That’s despite the outlook for the oil price continuing to be uncertain, although Premier Oil’s response to the present commodity crisis appears to be rather sound.

For example, Premier Oil has sought to reduce its cost base and drive through efficiencies. This should help its bottom line to recover in the long run, although with it due to remain in the red during the next two years it’s clearly in the midst of a hugely challenging period. Looking further ahead though, Premier Oil appears to have the right strategy to build rising profitability, with it acquiring the North Sea assets of EON for what appears to be a good value deal.

On the topic of good value, Premier Oil’s price-to-book (P/B) ratio of 0.5 indicates that it offers a wide margin of safety. Certainly, further asset impairments could be around the corner and Premier Oil’s net asset base could fall in value. However, with it trading at such a wide discount to intrinsic value, Premier Oil could prove to be a highly profitable, albeit risky, buy for the long term.

Profit potential

Similarly, gold miner Centamin (LSE: CEY) has performed exceptionally well in the last three months. Its shares have risen by 56% during that period and a key reason for this is Centamin’s ramp-up in production. With the company expected to produce 500,000 ounces of gold in 2017, Centamin’s bottom line is due to rise rapidly over the medium term.

In fact, pre-tax profit is forecast to rise from £40m last year to as much as £109m in 2017, which could rapidly improve investor sentiment in the coming years. And with Centamin likely to benefit from a higher gold price as US interest rate rises take place at a slower than expected rate, its profitability has the scope to soar yet further. This could provide the company’s investors with bright dividend prospects, with Centamin’s 2% yield being covered three times by earnings at the present time.

Long-term buy?

Meanwhile, Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) has today announced further exploration and appraisal success in its latest well in the ongoing evaluation programme offshore Senegal. Importantly, the BEL-1 appraisal results have provided definitive information concerning the northern extent of the high quality reservoirs seen in other wells, while demonstrating an increased oil column in this area of the field. Cairn Energy will now drill SNE-4 alongside its partners in order to appraise the eastern extent of the field, with it aiming to confirm the nature of the upper reservoirs in the oil zone.

With Cairn Energy having a strong asset base and a significant cash pile, it could prove to be a sound long-term buy. However, with it lacking revenue and profitability, there may be better options elsewhere – especially since investors remain highly uncertain regarding the future for the wider resources sector.

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Peter Stephens owns shares of Centamin. 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.