As strong as the energy markets are these days, it's hard to believe that an energy company could really disappoint. Yet Goodrich Petroleum (NYSE:GDP) went and did just that. As a result, shares were down as much as 10% during trading on Monday.

Second-quarter results appear to have fallen down a well. Reported revenue rose 45% to more than $13 million, but that was a fair bit short of the mean expectation of more than $15 million. What's more, instead of the $0.09 a share in earnings that analysts were hoping for, the company reported a loss of $0.02.

Production appears to be at least half of the problem. Following a disappointing first quarter, the company again appears to have disappointed relative to analyst expectations. Production increased by 17%, to 1.96 billion cubic feet equivalent (BCFE), with the overwhelming majority of that amount coming from natural gas. Based on the production estimates I saw, that looks like a 10% to 20% miss in terms of BCFE produced.

There wasn't overwhelmingly good news elsewhere in the income statement, either. Because of higher exploration and depletion expenses, the company barely eked out an operating profit for the quarter. Although I completely understand the higher exploration expense, I'm a bit puzzled to see depletion expense outpace production and revenue growth to the extent that it did in this quarter.

Results like these make it more difficult to assess the stock. On one hand, development of the company's Cotton Valley assets (its drilling lands in eastern Texas and northwest Louisiana) seems to be moving along fairly successfully, at least in terms of drilling success. On the other hand, where's the beef? For all of the potential of the Cotton Valley claim, it isn't worth much to shareholders if gas and oil aren't coming out of the pipes.

Production is the name of the game for energy producers, and while 17% production growth would be cause for jubilation at Apache (NYSE:APA) and delirium at ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM), there are clearly different expectations for Goodrich at this point. So while some believe that Cotton Valley could more than triple the company's per-share reserve value, the stock market wants to see production, revenue, and earnings goals being met.

Not being a petroleum engineer, I'm not going to speculate on the ultimate size and value of the Cotton Valley project. But as a fellow who's followed energy stocks for a while, I think I'd rather stick to more proven producers, such as Apache or Ultra Petroleum (AMEX:UPL), and let investors with more of a wildcatting streak go with this one.

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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).