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Don't disregard large cap stocks because of their stature. Experienced investors know that opportunities exist at this level, but it may take a little more hunting and research. Large cap companies have a lot going for them -- they have grown to this size because of a commitment to their mission and well established management practices. To find growth opportunities at this level, we focused on large cap stocks in the oil and gas industry. We searched specifically for those that have impressive growth projections for the coming year. In addition, analysts have given all of these companies recent ratings of "Buy." We think you will be intrigued by our findings.

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 large cap oil and gas stocks. We then looked for businesses that have expected earnings per share growth of more than 25 percent for next year (1-year projected EPS Growth Rate>25%). We next screened for businesses that analysts rate as "Buy" (2 < mean recommendation < 3).

Do you think these large-cap stocks have a positive future in store? Use this list as a starting-off point for your own analysis.

1) Chesapeake Energy Corporation (CHK)

:SectorBasicMaterials
:IndustryIndependent & OilGas
Market:Cap$12.66B
:Beta1.28

Chesapeake Energy Corporation has a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 219.05%, and a Analysts' Rating of 2.40. The short interest was 13.32% as of 08/17/2012. Chesapeake Energy Corporation engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of natural gas and oil properties in the United States. The company also offers marketing, midstream, drilling, and other oilfield services. It holds interests in various natural gas resources, including the Haynesville and Bossier Shales in northwestern Louisiana and East Texas; the Marcellus Shale in the northern Appalachian Basin of West Virginia and Pennsylvania; the Barnett Shale in the Fort Worth Basin of north-central Texas; and the Pearsall Shale in South Texas.

2) Pioneer Natural Resources Co. (PXD)

:SectorBasicMaterials
:IndustryIndependent & OilGas
Market:Cap$12.31B
:Beta1.86

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. has a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 36.40%, and a Analysts' Rating of 1.90. The short interest was 8.40% as of 08/17/2012. Pioneer Natural Resources Company operates as an independent oil and gas exploration and production company in the United States and South Africa. The company produces and sells oil, natural gas liquid (NGL), and gas. Its proved reserves are primarily located in the Spraberry field in the Permian Basin area, the Hugoton and West Panhandle fields in the Mid-Continent area, and the Raton field in the Rocky Mountains area; and development and exploration activities are located in the Spraberry field, Raton field, Eagle Ford Shale play, Barnett Shale Combo play, and Alaska.

3) Range Resources Corporation (RRC)

:SectorBasicMaterials
:IndustryIndependent & OilGas
Market:Cap$11.20B
:Beta0.55

Range Resources Corporation has a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 65.22%, and a Analysts' Rating of 2.30. The short interest was 7.23% as of 08/17/2012. Range Resources Corporation operates as an independent natural gas, natural gas liquids , and oil company. It engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of natural gas and oil properties primarily in the Appalachian and southwestern regions of the United States. The company drills and produces shale tight gas, coal bed methane, conventional natural gas, natural gas liquids, and oil in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia of the Appalachian region.

4) Noble Energy, Inc. (NBL)

:SectorBasicMaterials
:IndustryIndependent & OilGas
Market:Cap$16.13B
:Beta1.04

Noble Energy, Inc. has a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 34.49%, and a Analysts' Rating of 1.90. The short interest was 1.26% as of 08/17/2012. Noble Energy, Inc., an independent energy company, engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, and marketing of crude oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids in the DJ Basin, Marcellus Shale, deepwater Gulf of Mexico, offshore Eastern Mediterranean, and offshore West Africa. Its principal projects comprise onshore U.S. projects located in the DJ Basin and Marcellus Shale; Galapagos project located in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico; Tamar project located in the offshore Israel; and Aseng and Alen projects located in the offshore Equatorial Guinea.

5) Nexen Inc. (NXY)

:SectorBasicMaterials
:IndustryIndependent & OilGas
Market:Cap$13.62B
:Beta1.54

Nexen Inc. has a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 40.30%, and a Analysts' Rating of 2.50. The short interest was 0.31% as of 08/17/2012. Nexen Inc. (Nexen) is an independent, Canadian-based, global energy company. Nexen operates in four segments: oil and gas, Syncrude, energy marketing and chemicals.

6) Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNQ)

:SectorBasicMaterials
:IndustryIndependent & OilGas
Market:Cap$35.03B
:Beta1.64

Canadian Natural Resources Limited has a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 49.50%, and a Analysts' Rating of 1.80. The short interest was 0.59% as of 08/17/2012. Canadian Natural Resources Limited engages in the acquisition, exploration, development, production, marketing, and sale of crude oil, natural gas liquids, and natural gas. Its products include natural gas, light and medium crude oil, primary heavy crude oil, bitumen, synthetic crude oil, and NGLs. The company operates primarily in North America; the United Kingdom portion of the North Sea; and Cote d'Ivoire, Gabon, and South Africa in offshore Africa.

7) Devon Energy Corporation (DVN)

:SectorBasicMaterials
:IndustryIndependent & OilGas
Market:Cap$23.82B
:Beta1.17

Devon Energy Corporation has a 1-Year Projected Earnings Per Share Growth Rate of 40.46%, and a Analysts' Rating of 2.00. The short interest was 1.79% as of 08/17/2012. Devon Energy Corporation, an independent energy company, engages primarily in exploration, development, and production of oil, natural gas, and natural gas liquids. The company holds interest in various properties located in the Rocky Mountains, Mid-Continent, Permian Basin, and Gulf Coast regions of the United States. It also owns oil and gas properties in Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan provinces of Canada.

*Company profiles were sourced from Google Finance and Yahoo Finance. Financial data was sourced from Finviz.

Source: 7 Large Cap, Analyst-Backed Oil And Gas Stocks With Strong Growth Projections