7. Apache Corporation ( APA) is an independent energy company engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas and crude oil. Higher oil prices and production from new wells pushed revenue to $3.9 billion in the first quarter of 2011, up from $2.7 billion last year. Apache reported first-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.1 billion, compared to $712 million in the year-earlier period. Production for the quarter stood at 732,000 boe per day and about 60% of the company's oil production came from operations outside North America. During March 2011, Apache Deepwater, a subsidiary, agreed to join Marine Well Containment Company (MWCC), a partnership company committed to handle deepwater operations in the Gulf of Mexico. Other MWCC members are ExxonMobil ( XOM), Chevron ( XOM), ConocoPhillips ( XOM), Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A) and BP ( BP). Apache's strong book and cash flows improve the stock's growth prospects. Of the 29 analysts covering the stock, 24 recommend a buy. The stock is estimated to gain around 12% in the next one year and is trading at 11.2 times its estimated 2011 earnings.