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Goldman's 5 Best Energy Stocks for 2011

Ensco (ESV - Get Report), an offshore oil and natural gas driller, has already seen its shares exceed Goldman's projected $55, six-month price target, gaining 1.5% this year, after rising 3.5% over the past month. Its shares increased 36% in 2010.

Fourth-quarter earnings are due Feb. 24 and are estimated at 65 cents per share, bringing its 2010 outlook to $3.50 per share. For fiscal 2011, analysts estimate earnings will grow by 13% to $3.97 per share.

An analyst says Ensco is close to securing its first deep-water drilling contract with Brazilian oil giant Petrobras (PBR - Get Report) for a huge offshore rig it has under construction and scheduled to be available for work in February.

"The significance of that goes beyond the (contract price) day-rate, as this would be Ensco's entry into the Brazil market, which would be an ideal market for its three ultra-deepwater rigs that are currently under construction and without contracts," notes a Morningstar analyst.

A summary of analysts' views collected by S&P resulted in nine "buy" ratings, 16 "buy/holds," 12 "hold" and one "weak hold."
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