As 2011 comes to a close, it's a great time to look back at what happened to 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 InterOil (NYSE: IOC). With its operations squarely focused on the booming natural gas industry, InterOil has looked poised to benefit from efforts to increase demand. Yet the stock has still suffered throughout 2011. Below, I'll take a closer look at the events that moved InterOil's stock this year.

Stats on InterOil

Year-to-Date Stock Return (28.5%)
Market Cap $2.21 billion
Revenue, Trailing 12 Months $1.02 billion
1-Year Revenue Growth 24.5%
1-Year Profit Growth NM (loss of $31.4 million over past 12 months)
CAPS Rating (out of 5) *

Source: S&P Capital IQ. NM = not meaningful.

What happened to InterOil this year?
The biggest event for InterOil in 2011 has been its ongoing controversy over its planned liquefied natural gas project in Papua New Guinea. Initially, InterOil had planned to do a relatively small project, but the Papua New Guinea government rejected InterOil's plans and demanded a larger plan. That sent InterOil to Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and UBS (NYSE: UBS) to try to find a partner for the project.

The fact that George Soros is a major investor in InterOil has also caused some ups and downs. While the backing of the investing giant is obviously a vote of confidence for the company, Soros is planning to return outside capital in his fund to investors, which could require sales of his position in the stock.

Still, although natural gas prices remain depressed, the appetite for LNG appears to be rising. With companies including ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP), Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW), and Cheniere Energy (NYSE: LNG) working on LNG projects that won't be ready until 2015, the race is on to make importing and exporting liquefied natural gas a viable option.

Currently, the stock's weak performance reflects concerns not only about the LNG project but also about whether the company's gas fields in Papua New Guinea will pan out as well as expectations. For now, though, pessimistic investors have won out in 2011, but the future may be much different for InterOil.

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

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.