Anadarko Petroleum

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Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum ( APC) is one of the largest independent exploration and production firms, with proved reserves that come in at more than 2.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Anadarko's positioning has been ideal lately; at the exact same time that other integrated oil and gas firms are trying to shed their downstream assets to become more profitable, APC doesn't have to -- it never had any to begin with.

Downstream businesses (such as refining or retailing) smooth out sales when oil prices are low but also smash margins lower when crude prices are high. As oil sits on the high end of its historic range right now, APC's lack of downstream exposure is a very good thing.

So is Anadarko's geographic diversification. In addition to projects in the U.S., APC owns offshore sites in places such as the Gulf of Mexico and Cote d'Ivoire.

With a nearly 50/50 mix of gas and oil, Anadarko is in good shape right now. Nat gas is skimming along historic lows, and oil prices are high. APC's mix means that it stands to benefit when nat gas does eventually change in trend, but it's not beholden to the commodity's climb to stay in business. Supermajors have been shelling out considerable cash to increase their natural gas exposure in the last several years; APC already has it.

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