Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC) has been a big player in U.S. onshore oil and gas production, and it's about to get significantly bigger, unlocking incredible profits for investors.
Anadarko has stakes in some of the most prolific U.S. oil fields in Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, and Pennsylvania. It's also an international leader in unconventional production, employing methods like horizontal drilling to increase productivity rates from deep wells.
But a recent major development will propel Anadarko to the top of the U.S. oil and gas industry.
You see, the company reevaluated one of its Colorado oil fields and now believes it holds between 500 million and 1.5 billion barrels of oil and natural gas. This is huge. A billion-barrel field is a rare find; only a handful have been discovered in the United States.
This new discovery could increase Anadarko's annual production rate in the region by 20% in 2012. It also prompted Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. analysts to name the company "King of the Rockies" and raise its net-asset-value estimate for Anadarko by 5% per share.
Anadarko was already solid, but the new discovery has made it a must-have investment in the oil and gas industry. It's time to buy Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (**)
Anadarko Petroleum Corp.: An Oil Industry "King"
Anadarko's big oil find came from the Wattenberg shale in northeast Colorado. The formation was first discovered in 1970 and is listed in the top 20 U.S. oil and gas fields.
Anadarko has been using horizontal drilling, the technology it uses in the Eagle Ford shale oil field in Texas, to unlock the liquid-rich Wattenberg. Based on 11 test wells, Anadarko is confident it can drill between 1,200 and 2,700 wells over time, and will ramp up Wattenberg's development by drilling 160 wells in 2012.
The Wattenberg wells also have a quick payback rate.