Producers’ quarterly results have been pouring in and equity analysts have weighed in on some of their favorites for coming months and for 2010, liking both oil- and gas-weighted stories. These stocks promise to make a portfolio pop, they say.

Marcellus players. Marcellus players have further proven their value upon Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s news of bringing Mitsui E&P USA LLC, a business of Japan’s Mitsui & Co. Ltd., into its 100,000-net-acre, north-central Pennsylvania, Marcellus holding at $14,000 an acre, representing $1.4 billion in additional Anadarko cash to deploy there. KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Jack Aydin says, “…This is one of the best transactions in the Marcellus shale play to date. More importantly, we believe this bodes wells for our companies under coverage with exposure to the Marcellus shale.”

He cites Atlas Energy Inc. (Nasdaq: ATLS) and Exco Resources Inc. (NYSE: XCO), in particular, as both are looking to take on partners in the play. He adds upside for other shale-gas producers he covers: Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (NYSE: COG), Carrizo Oil & Gas Inc. (Nasdaq: CRZO), Range Resources Corp. (NYSE: RRC), Rex Energy Corp. (Nasdaq: REXX) and Southwestern Energy Co. (NYSE: SWN).

Michael Bodino, senior E&P analyst for Madison Williams & Co. (formerly SMH Capital), cites another Marcellus player, Ultra Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: UPL), as having great potential from its position there. Long noted for its Pinedale gas-play success in the Rockies, the company plans 70 net wells in the Marcellus this year that may produce some 17 billion cubic feet equivalent, Bodino says. He has a 12-month target of $71 on Ultra’s stock. The shares were approximately $48 each at press time.

Fayetteville producer. Stephen Richardson, senior analyst for Morgan Stanley & Co. Inc., launched coverage of Southwestern Energy Co. at press time and cites the stock for the Street’s underweighting of its continued Fayetteville shale upside. “Southwestern has lagged (the producer index) by 6% year to date on (gas-price) sentiment and concerns that the core asset, Fayetteville, has stopped improving. We believe these concerns are significantly overstated…Given intense investor focus on rate of change, we think Southwestern—and its superior asset—is being overlooked.” His target for the stock, which was approximately $44 at press time, is $60. “Our bull-case assumption of 40-acre spacing should be confirmed in 2010, at least across a portion of Fayetteville, as Southwestern is testing tighter spacing.”

Haynesville player. KeyBanc’s Aydin also likes Comstock Resources Inc. (NYSE: CRK) and thinks its stock, which was approximately $37 at press time, is worth $55 a share. “…Management now estimates that the 2010 Haynesville drilling program has the potential to add between 400 and 500 Bcfe to proved reserves, which could be conservative.” Average initial production rates from nine new Haynesville wells was 14.8 million cubic feet per day, with most completed with 10 to 12 frac stages. “Our guess is, as the company begins to complete wells with greater frac stages, it should have higher IPs.”

Diversified producer. KeyBanc’s Mitch Wurschmidt says South Texas, Cana-Woodford shale and Permian producer Cimarex Energy Co. (NYSE: XEC) is worth $68 a share, compared with the $57 it was trading at at press time. Two South Texas discoveries have IP’ed at 42 million cubic feet equivalent per day. In the Cana-Woodford play in Oklahoma, 58 Cimarex wells may make more than 6.5 Bcfe. In the Permian, two 100%-working-interest Abo formation wells made between 310 and 490 barrels of oil per day. Other recent Permian wells made between 325 and 560 barrels per day. “These are impressive wells, and (the numbers) are all 30-day-average, gross rates.”

Bakken producer. Chris Pikul, senior E&P analyst for Morgan Keegan & Co., says Bakken player Whiting Petroleum Corp., whose quarterly results were not announced yet at press time, “will exceed our estimates on a number of fronts.” He thinks the stock could hit between $90 and $110 this year. “We are hoping Whiting's year-end 2009 results…will pleasantly surprise investors.”

He adds that producers’ announcements of 2009 results should “provide investors with several positive catalysts to offset the early weakness we are seeing in E&P names in 2010.”

Stock up.

–Nissa Darbonne (, E-Editor, Hart Energy Publishing; Oil and Gas Investor, A&D Watch, Oil and Gas Investor This Week, Today,,,, Today,, E&P Buzz,, PGT News,, FUEL.