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 Samson Oil & Gas (AMEX: SSN). With its operations squarely focused on the booming natural gas industry, Samson Oil & Gas 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 Samson Oil & Gas's stock this year.

Stats on Samson Oil & Gas

Year-to-Date Stock Return 24.9%
Market Cap $144 million
Revenue, Trailing 12 Months $7.6 million
1-Year Revenue Growth 187.3%
1-Year Profit Growth NM (loss of $8.4 million over past 12 months)
Cash / Debt $54 million / $0
CAPS Rating *

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

What happened to Samson Oil & Gas this year?
There's nothing more exciting for an investor than to own a company that's on the cutting edge of something big. That's where Samson is right now, as the tiny Australia-based driller has worked hard to fund its development programs, selling off some of its Wyoming properties to Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK) to pay off all its debt and give it a hefty cash balance to boot.

Even more promising have been early results from Samson's Niobrara holdings, through its joint venture with Halliburton (NYSE: HAL). Combined with the company's exposure to the Bakken play -- an area where Brigham Exploration, which was recently bought out by Statoil (NYSE: STO), and Kodiak Oil & Gas (NYSE: KOG) has had success -- the ramp-up in production could be just the tip of the iceberg for Samson.

The real question for Samson is whether continuing consolidation will make it a target that's too hard to resist. As one of the cheapest Bakken stocks, Samson could see acquisition interest from giants like ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) or SandRidge Energy (NYSE: SD). Samson has no shortage of bigger peers, so it'll be interesting to see how the M&A angle plays out.

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