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Many investors believe that oil and gas drilling stocks represent the life-blood of the global economy, but not all investors know where to look for the best in class. For ideas on where to search, today we focused on O & G companies whose fundamentals suggest that they're on an especially high trajectory of growth over the next year, separating them from their peers. We narrowed our search to only companies whose growth projections are confirmed with bullishness ( i.e. 'Buy' recommendations) by oil and gas industry analysts. We came up with an intriguing list of companies worth more research and analysis.

EPS growth (earnings per share growth) illustrates the growth of earnings per share over time. The 1-Year Expected EPS Growth Rate is an annual growth estimate, where the growth projections are made by analysts, the company or other credible sources.

We first looked for oil & gas drilling stocks. From here, we then looked for companies that analysts rate as "Buy" (2 < mean recommendation < 3). We next screened for businesses with estimated high-growth, with 1-year projected EPS growth above 25%. We did not screen out any market caps.

Do you think these stocks have strong operations? Please use our list to assist with your own analysis.

1) Atwood Oceanics, Inc. (ATW)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration
Market Cap:$2.54B
Beta:1.48

Atwood Oceanics, Inc. has a Analysts' Rating of 2.20, and a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 28.46%. The short interest was 5.41% as of 07/09/2012. Atwood Oceanics, Inc., an offshore drilling contractor, engages in the drilling and completion of exploratory and developmental oil and gas wells worldwide. The company owns 10 mobile offshore drilling units located in the U.S.

2) BPZ Resources, Inc. (BPZ)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration
Market Cap:$269.89M
Beta:2.17

BPZ Resources, Inc. has a Analysts' Rating of 2.20, and a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 111.50%. The short interest was 23.84% as of 07/09/2012. BPZ Resources, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, focuses on the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas in Peru and Ecuador. It owns rights and license agreements for oil and gas exploration and production covering approximately 2.2 million acres in 4 blocks in northwest Peru and off the northwest coast of Peru in the Gulf of Guayaquil.

3) Bill Barrett Corp. (BBG)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration
Market Cap:$1.04B
Beta:1.22

Bill Barrett Corp. has a Analysts' Rating of 2.20, and a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 113.33%. The short interest was 15.85% as of 07/09/2012. Bill Barrett Corporation, an independent oil and gas company, engages in the exploration, development, and production of natural gas and crude oil in the United States. It principally operates in the Piceance, Uinta, Denver-Julesburg, Powder River, and Wind River basins in the Rocky Mountain region of the United States. The company was founded in 2002 and is headquartered in Denver, Colorado..

4) Rowan Companies Inc. (RDC)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration
Market Cap:$4.06B
Beta:1.61

Rowan Companies Inc. has a Analysts' Rating of 2.20, and a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 65.68%. The short interest was 4.76% as of 07/09/2012. Rowan Companies plc, through its subsidiaries, provides offshore oil and gas contract drilling services in the United States and internationally. It primarily focuses on high-specification and premium jack-up rigs for the exploratory and development drilling, as well as well workover operations. As of April 25, 2012, the company provided its contract drilling services through a fleet of 31 self-elevating mobile offshore jack-up rigs, including 11 in the Middle East, 9 in the United States Gulf of Mexico, 6 in the North Sea, 2 in Trinidad, and 1 each in Malaysia and Vietnam. The company was formerly known as Rowan Companies, Inc.

5) SandRidge Energy, Inc. (SD)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration
Market Cap:$3.15B
Beta:2.10

SandRidge Energy, Inc. has a Analysts' Rating of 2.40, and a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 121.43%. The short interest was 17.47% as of 07/09/2012. SandRidge Energy, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as an independent natural gas and oil company in the United States. The company engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas properties. Its Exploration and Production segment explores for, develops, and produces natural gas and oil reserves with focus on the Mid-Continent and Permian Basin.

6) Key Energy Services Inc. (KEG)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration
Market Cap:$1.08B
Beta:2.39

Key Energy Services Inc. has a Analysts' Rating of 2.40, and a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 32.04%. The short interest was 7.38% as of 07/09/2012. Key Energy Services, Inc. operates as an onshore rig-based well servicing contractor in the United States and internationally. The company offers rig-based services, including the maintenance, workover, and recompletion of existing oil and gas wells; completion of newly-drilled wells; and plugging and abandonment of wells at the end of their lives, as well as specialty drilling services to oil and natural gas producers. It also provides fluid management services, such as vacuum truck services, fluid transportation services, and disposal services for operators, whose wells produce saltwater or other non-hydrocarbon fluids; and equipment trucks that are used to move large equipment from one well site to the next, as well as supplies frac tanks, which are used for temporary storage of fluids associated with fluid hauling operations.

7) Transocean Ltd. (RIG)

Sector:Basic Materials
Industry:Oil & Gas Drilling & Exploration
Market Cap:$15.66B
Beta:1.13

Transocean Ltd. has a Analysts' Rating of 2.20, and a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 74.66%. The short interest was 1.24% as of 07/09/2012. Transocean Ltd. provides offshore contract drilling services for oil and gas wells worldwide. It offers deepwater and harsh environment drilling, oil and gas drilling management, and drilling engineering and drilling project management services. The company also offers well and logistics services.

*Company profiles were sourced from Finviz.

Source: 7 Growing Oil & Gas Drillers With Strong Analyst Recommendations