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With oil prices dropping daily, it sucks to be an energy company. Or does it?

In 2009 and 2010, hedges may be saviours for outfits toiling in the oilpatch. Deutsche Bank Securities picked through the companies it covers and concluded that

virtually all of the hedging portfolios are in-the-money, and despite the lack of demonstrable historical precedent, we believe outsized hedging protection this year will translate into share price outperformance.

Analyst Shannon Nome calculates that of the 22 oil and gas producers under Deutsche Bank’s watch, the average producer has 45% of estimated total production hedged for 2009 and 19% hedged in 2010. With oil prices toiling around $35 per barrel, any hedge is a good hedge.

“Given the major correction in oil and gas prices since mid-2008, most hedging portfolios have swung decidedly into the black,” the analyst said.

The best of the bunch? XTO Energy Inc. (XTO), SandRidge Energy Inc. (NYSE:SD), Newfield Exploration Co. (NYSE:NFX), Quicksilver Resources Inc. (NYSE:KWK), Southwestern Energy Co. (NYSE:SWN) and EXCO Resources Inc. (NYSE:XCO).

Ah, but some missed the boat. Two producers are completely unhedged in 2009 — Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE:CLR) and Delta Petroleum Corp. (DPTR), according to Deutsche Bank.

Among the least hedged, and thus expected to benefit only minimally from their hedges, are Apache Corp. (NYSE:APA), Devon Energy Corp. (NYSE:DVN), Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC), and Equitable Resources Inc. (NYSE:EQT).

Source: Deutsche Bank Names the Best and Worst Hedged Energy Companies