Ivanhoe Energy is an independent heavy oil development and production company operating in four segments: oil and gas-integrated, oil and gas-conventional, business and technology development, and corporate. The company's two initial HTL heavy oil projects are Tamarack in Canada and Pungarayacu in Ecuador. The other conventional oil and gas activities undertaken at various other projects are originated or sourced from these two major projects. During December, Rio Tinto ( RIO) said it was mulling a plan to raise its stake in Ivanhoe to 43% from 35%. The company recently announced a significant gas discovery at Sunwing's Yixin-2 well in Southwest China, which analysts believe will benefit the company as the region is among the most productive gas regions in China. Companies like China Petroleum & Chemical ( SNP) and PetroChina ( PTR) had earlier discovered major gas reserves in adjacent locations. Ivanhoe adds that initial gas flow rates from the well are about 13 million cubic feet per day, averaging 9 million to 10 million cubic feet per day during the 24-hour test period. With the company currently ramping up exploratory and development opportunities across its properties in Ecuador, China, Canada, and Mongolia, it could be generating critical results from China and Ecuador in the upcoming three months, a TD Newscrest analyst said. This will provide Ivanhoe a significant advantage and make 2011 a breakout year for the stock. In addition, a great amount of value-addition would be sourced from oil sands development at Tamarack in Canada. With a production capacity of about 40,000 barrels a day at Tamarack, the first bitumen production is expected by the end of 2013. The company's CEO said since China's demand for natural gas is outpacing supply, Sunwing Energy has a competitive advantage to support the budding market on favorable commercial terms. All five analysts covering the stock recommend a buy with a target price of $3.61, implying an upside of 28.8% from current levels. The stock has gained 0.7% year to date.