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Goldman's 5 Best Energy Stocks for 2011

Apache (APA - Get Report) gets a $133 price target, worth an 11% premium from Goldman Sachs. The company is one of the largest U.S.-based independent explorers and producers of natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids.

Apache gets about 25% of its production and cash flow from its operations in Egypt, and although there have been no production disruptions so far due to that country's current political unrest, there is a potential.

After a few years of relative inactivity on the acquisition front, Apache recently announced three sizable deals -- a $4 billion merger with Mariner Energy and $8 billion in combined asset purchases from BP (BP) and Devon Energy (DVN) -- and "that should provide near-term exploitation opportunities as well as longer-term exploration potential and help the firm increase production and reserves throughout our forecast period," said a Morningstar research note.

For fiscal 2010, analysts estimate that Apache will earn $9.25 per share, and that will expand by 20% to $11.10 in fiscal 2011.

S&P analysts' poll resulted in nine "buy" ratings, 10 "buy/holds," eight "holds" and one "sell."

Capital Research Global and State Street each own about 4% of outstanding shares.

Its shares are down 2% this year, including a decline of 6% in the past week. They gained 16% in 2010.

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