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Why Samson Oil & Gas Has Tanked This Year

As we approach the halfway point for 2012, now's a good time to look back at what's happening with the stocks that interest you. By making sure you know the important things that a company accomplished -- as well as the setbacks it experienced -- you can make a better decision about whether it's a smart investment for your portfolio.

Today, let's take a look at Samson Oil & Gas (NYSE: SSN  ) . This small oil and gas company had a very strong 2011, with a big presence in promising shale oil and gas plays in the Bakken and Niobrara. But this year, concerns have arisen about the energy industry in general. Let's take a quick look at how the stock is doing so far this year.

Stats on Samson Oil & Gas

2012 YTD Return (37.4%)
Market Cap $107.4 million
Revenue, Most Recent Quarter $2.3 million
Year-Over-Year Revenue Growth, Most Recent Quarter 62.8%
Net Loss, Most Recent Quarter ($563,000)
CAPS Rating ***

Source: S&P Capital IQ.

Why is Samson Oil & Gas plunging in 2012?
Samson's crown jewel has been its acreage in the Bakken area of North Dakota. Although Samson doesn't have anywhere close to the 900,000-acre position in the Bakken that Continental Resources (NYSE: CLR  ) has, it still has room to run if its operations there prove successful. Players around the industry are optimistic, as Statoil's (NYSE: STO  ) buyout of Brigham Exploration last year shows quite clearly.

But another prospective winner is Samson's Niobrara holdings in Wyoming. With big players Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN  ) and Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) owning acreage nearby, Samson seems to be in the right place -- if it can execute on its wells.

The problem, though, is that Samson hasn't executed well yet. Last week, the company gave updates on its Hawk Springs project in Wyoming and its Roosevelt project in Montana. With mixed results, investors sent the company's shares plunging by more than 20% in a single day.

Still, the company is also seeking other opportunities. Apache recently said that Samson would be one of its partners on deepwater bids it won from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management in the Gulf of Mexico.

With oil prices falling and gas prices already low, Samson needs to see things pick up on the development front. Otherwise, falling enthusiasm for energy could send its already tiny share price plunging even further.

Samson Oil & Gas hasn't proven to be the ideal energy play. But don't worry; we've got another stock that we think has a better chance to deliver strong gains in the future. Read about it right here in The Motley Fool's special free report on the energy industry and its best prospects.

Click here to add Samson Oil & Gas to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.

Fool contributor Dan Caplinger doesn't own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Chesapeake Energy and Devon Energy. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Statoil, Chesapeake Energy, and Devon Energy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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