Based on the aggregated intelligence of 170,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, oil and gas small-cap VAALCO Energy (NYSE: EGY) has earned a coveted five-star ranking.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at VAALCO's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

VAALCO facts

Headquarters (Founded) Houston (1984)
Market Cap $393.4 million
Industry Oil and gas exploration and production
Trailing-12-Month Revenue $134.47 million

Chairman/CEO Robert Gerry, III (since 1997)

CFO Gregory Hullinger (since 2008)

Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years) 14.5%
Cash/Debt $81.2 million / $0

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.

On CAPS, 97% of the 1,528 members who have rated VAALCO believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include wombataholic and All-Star MagicDiligence, who is ranked in the top 10% of our community.

Late last year, wombataholic succinctly summed up the VAALCO bull case: "No debt and decently valued."

VAALCO even boasts a rather robust three-year average operating margin of 48%. That's higher than that of oil giants like ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) (12.7%), Chevron (NYSE: CVX) (12.1%), and Total (NYSE: TOT) (14.3%).

CAPS All-Star MagicDiligence elaborates on the opportunity:

VAALCO is a small, independent oil driller, operating 4 fields offshore of Gabon, Africa. Several new Gabon wells were drilled in 2010 that should allow the company to start increasing production after several years of stagnation. The recent acquisition of 640 acres on the Granite Wash formation in Texas are expected to be drilled this year. Higher production and higher crude prices are a good combination for higher stock prices, and VAALCO's strong balance sheet provides protection in the event of a downturn in oil.

What do you think about VAALCO -- or any other stock, for that matter? If you want to retire rich, you need to put together the best portfolio you can. Owning exceptional stocks is a surefire way to secure your financial future, and on Motley Fool CAPS, thousands of investors are working every day to find them. CAPS is 100% free, so get started!  

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.