NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Based on strong industry outlook, latest quarterly results and analysts' buy, hold recommendations, these seven natural gas stocks have potential upsides ranging from 14% to 30%. On average, these stocks have buy recommendation of 55% and hold rating of 40%, based on a Bloomberg consensus.

The stocks are listed in ascending order of upside potential.

7. MarkWest Energy Partners ( MWE), a Master Limited Partnership, engages in the gathering, processing and transportation of natural gas, transportation, fractionation, storage and marketing of NGLs, and the gathering and transportation of crude oil.

Of the nine analysts covering the stock, eight recommend a buy and one rates a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Its average 12-month price target is $53.56, up 13.6% from the current price, as per a Bloomberg consensus.

The company reported revenue of $400.4 million for the second quarter of 2011 compared to $323.8 million in the same period prior year. Net income attributable to the partnership for the quarter stood at $78.5 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, compared to $60.2 million, or 84 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2010. At the end of the quarter, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $71.6 million, while capital expenditure stood at $101.6 million.

Cash available for distribution to common unit holders or distributable cash flow (DCF) for the second quarter stood at $82.9 million, indicating distribution coverage of 150%. Meanwhile, the second-quarter distribution of $55.4 million, or $0.70 per common unit, was paid to shareholders, indicating 4.5% sequential increase and $9.4 year-over-year increase.

The company has raised its full-year DCF forecast range to be $300 to $330 million from the previous view of $280 to $320 million, driven by forecasted operational volumes from existing operations, growth, and capital projects that likely will complete and commence operations during 2011.

6. OGE Energy ( OGE), an energy and energy services provider, offers physical delivery and related services for both electricity and natural gas in the South Central U.S. The company operates in four segments: electric utility, natural gas transportation and storage, natural gas gathering and processing and natural gas marketing.

Of the 10 analysts covering the stock, 70% recommend buying and the rest rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. The stock's average 12-month price target is $53.00, which is 14.5% higher than the current price, as per a Bloomberg consensus.

The company reported operating revenue of $978.1 million for the second quarter of 2011 compared to $887.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income attributable to OGE stood at $103.0 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, compared to $77.3 million, or 78 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2010. For its electric utility business, total electricity sales increased to 7.4 MWH from 6.9 MWH in the year-ago quarter as cooling-degree days were 20% higher than last year and 62% above normal. Total throughput volumes per day for the natural gas segment increased to 1.89 from 1.74 earlier.

The company estimates 2011 earnings to exceed the top end of the previously issued earnings guidance of $3.00 to $3.20 per average diluted share. This growth is mainly led by higher gross margins at the utility from the extremely hot summer weather experienced in its service territory until now in 2011.

OGE has expanded testing of smart grid technology-supported equipment that can help the utility deliver energy more efficiently. The company recently said it is completing the second half of a demand response study this summer with 6,000 residential and business customers to reduce peak demand for power.

5. Western Gas Partners ( WES), a Master Limited Partnership formed by Anadarko Petroleum, owns, operates, acquires and develops midstream energy assets. The company engages in the business of gathering, processing, compressing, treating and transporting natural gas, condensate, natural gas liquids (NGLs) and crude oil in the U.S.

Of the 12 analysts covering the stock, 67% recommend buying and the remaining suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Its average 12-month price target is $39.86, which is 14.6% higher than the current price, as per a Bloomberg consensus.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company reported total revenue of $161.7 million as compared to $124.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income attributable to the company stood at $33.9 million, or 39 cents per diluted share, compared to $29.0 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2010. Total throughput for the second quarter increased sequentially by 3% to 1,555 MMcf/d. The company paid quarterly dividend of 40.5 cents per unit for the second quarter, indicating 4% sequential increase and 16% year-over-year increase.

The company has raised its full-year 2011 guidance for adjusted EBITDA to a range of $245 to $260 million from the previous view of $230 to $250 million, after the acquisition of Bison Assets as well as its strong year-to-date performance. Meanwhile, it has reduced its guidance for maintenance capital expenditure as a percent of adjusted EBITDA to a range of 8% to 11% from the earlier 11% to 14%. Total capital expenditure is seen in the range of $97 to $112 million.

The company recently said it will offer up to 5.75 million new shares and use some or all the proceeds to repay its debt. WES added it will offer 5 million shares representing limited-partner interests, and give underwriters the option to buy up to 750,000 more.

4. Copano Energy ( CPNO) provides midstream services to natural gas producers, including natural gas gathering, compression, dehydration, treating, marketing, transportation, processing, conditioning and fractionation services. The company's operations are spread across Texas, Oklahoma, and the Rocky Mountains.

Of the nine analysts covering the stock, two recommend buying and the rest rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Its average 12-month price target is $36.43, which is 18.8% higher than the current price, as per a Bloomberg consensus.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company reported 50.4% increase in total revenue to $346.0 million from $230.0 million in the year-ago period. Net loss attributable to common units narrowed to $17.4 million, or 26 cents per share, from $21.1 million, or 32 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2010. Distributable cash flow for the quarter amounted to $37.6 million, up 12% year-over-year. The second quarter distributable cash flow represents 97% coverage of the second quarter distribution of 57.5 cents per unit.

During the quarter, the company produced natural gas liquids of 26,913 Bbls/d at its Texas operations, compared to 18,382 Bbls/d in the year-ago quarter. At the Oklahoma operations, CPNO produced NGLs of 17,331 Bbls/d, vs. 16,653 Bbls/d. About 93% of the total capital expenditure of $74.9 million was allocated for expansion and capital expenditure.

According to industry sources, Copano Energy is investing significant amounts in the Eagle Ford shale for a small Master Limited Partnership. Along with other companies, CPNO is investing in and around the shale plays with most of the investment directed for developing infrastructure like building pipeline, fractionation and processing facilities around the Eagle Ford shale in south Texas.

3. Energy Transfer Partners ( ETP), a limited partnership, engages in natural gas operations with four business segments: intrastate transportation and storage; interstate transportation; midstream retail propane; and other retail propane related operations.

Of the 12 analysts covering the stock, 33% recommend buying and 58% suggest a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $51.00, which is 20.1% higher than the current price, as per a Bloomberg consensus.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company recorded total revenue of $1.6 billion as compared to $1.3 billion in the year-ago quarter. Net income attributable to partners increased multi-fold to $148.2 million from $42.8 million in the second quarter of 2010. Diluted net income per limited partner unit stood at 19 cents, vs. net loss of 26 cents in the prior-year period. Distributable cash flow for the quarter increased $23.3 million to $223.3 million from the same period last year.

For the quarter, the company produced NGLs of 50,728 Bbls/d, while Equity NGLs produced 17,137 Bbls/d. Meanwhile, NGL transportation and NGL fractionation volumes were recorded at 128,127 Bbls/d and 14,806 Bbls/d, respectively.

The company recently announced full syndication of the $3.7 billion acquisition financing provided by Credit Suisse to finance the previously announced acquisition of Southern Union Company. The company's chief executive said ETP is on track to complete the transaction by the first quarter of 2012.

2. Crosstex Energy ( XTXI), operating through its subsidiaries, engages in the gathering, transmission, processing and marketing of natural gas and natural gas liquids (NGLs). Through its wholly owned subsidiaries, the company owns 25% interest in Crosstex Energy, L.P. (Partnership), an independent midstream energy company.

Of the four analysts covering the stock, 25% recommend buying and 50% rate a hold. The stock's average 12-month price target is $18.00, which is 29.8% higher than the current price, as per a Bloomberg consensus.

For the second quarter of 2011, Crosstex Energy reported midstream revenue of $496.1 million, up12.2% from the prior-year quarter. Net income attributable to the company stood at $1.7 million, vs. net loss of $2.5 million in the second quarter of 2010. Net loss per diluted share narrowed to 5 cents from 8 cents in the year-ago period. Distributable cash flow for the quarter increased to $32.9 million from $22.8 million in the second quarter of 2010.

Total gathering and transmission volumes for the second quarter 2011 in the pipeline throughput segment increased to 2.11 MMBtu/d from 1.96 MMBtu/d in the same quarter last year. Total natural gas volumes processed increased to 1.4 million MMBtu/d from 1.3 million MMBtu/d earlier. The commercial services volume expanded significantly to 165,000 MMBtu/d from 49,000 MMBtu/d in the year-earlier period.

The company recently announced the start of a binding open season for volume commitments for interstate common carrier transportation service on a new natural gas liquids pipeline system. This common carrier pipeline will start operating from the first quarter of 2013 with preliminary design capacity of at least 70,000 barrels per day to Eunice, and a smaller amount to Riverside.

1. Atlas Pipeline Partners ( APL) is a provider of natural gas gathering, processing and treating services in the Anadarko and Permian Basins in the South West and Mid-Continent regions of the U.S. The company also provides natural gas gathering services in the Appalachian Basin in the North Eastern region of the U.S.

Of the five analysts covering the stock, 80% recommend buying and the rest suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. The stock's average 12-month price target is $40.50, which is 30.4% higher than the current price, as per a Bloomberg consensus.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company's total revenue and other income increased to $350.2 million from $216.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income attributable to common limited partner s and the general partners stood at $7.12 million as compared to net loss of $294,000 in the year-ago quarter. Processed natural gas volumes recorded 538 million cubic feet per day (Mmcfd), a 31% increase from the second quarter of 2010. Meanwhile, the weighted average NGL price stood at $1.25 per gallon for the quarter, a 42% increase year-over-year.

Mid-August, the company paid a distribution of 47 cents per common limited partner unit for the second quarter, indicating 17.5% sequential growth from the first quarter of 2011. Also, for the second half of 2011, the company said it estimates distribution per unit every quarter to be in the range of 45 to 50 cents.

Recently, Atlas announced signing an agreement with DCP NGL Services, a subsidiary of DCP Midstream Partners ( DPM), to sell its NGL production from each of APL's processing facilities in Oklahoma and Texas. These agreements are based on Mt. Belvieu NGL pricing with a term of 15 years each and will become effective at various times upon expiration of APL's existing NGL sales agreements.