Given that Anadarko Petroleum (NYSE:APC) took home two of the top Platts Global Energy Awards in December, it should surprise no one that this independent oil and gas producer had a great 2009. Let's step through some of the highlights.

Onshore, Anadarko pushed forward in several of the major shale plays. The company has amassed 350,000 net acres in the Marcellus shale, some of which is operated by the ubiquitous Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK). Anadarko is also getting busy in the Eagleford and the Pearsall shales, with its position in those South Texas plays boosted by a $93 million purchase of some of TXCO's assets. (Newfield Exploration, which originally looked like it was getting scooped, ultimately walked away with the other 70%.) As far as early stage plays go, the company has also begun investigating one in the Rockies -- the Niobrara -- alongside folks like EOG Resources (NYSE:EOG) and Noble Energy (NYSE:NBL).

Beyond the shale, Anadarko learned to do more with less across its entire onshore portfolio, and wrung out impressive efficiencies, including a 20% drop in per-barrel lifting costs. The company's 140% adjusted reserve replacement rate came in right around last year's level.

These were fine achievements, but Anadarko's offshore discoveries really stole the show. The company racked up a 50% hit rate in its global deepwater program, turning in a total of nine discoveries. These included Tweneboa in Ghana, Lucius in the Gulf of Mexico, and Itaipu in Brazil. Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN) is the operator at Itaipu, so as that company pursues its offshore divestment program, that will help us place a value on Anadarko's interest. The same goes for the companies' shared or comparable stakes in the Gulf of Mexico.

Neither shale nor deepwater drilling plays are for the meek. Both are capital-intensive, and can easily get an overleveraged operator into trouble. Devon's transformation is one powerful example, and XTO Energy's (NYSE:XTO) agreement to sell itself to ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) for a pretty modest premium may suggest that even that firm had bitten off more than it could chew. Anadarko's deft handling of these diverse programs is quite a feat, and I tip my jester's cap to them.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.