Lafayette-based Stone Energy is featured on this month as a ‘stock under rock’ for investors to watch.

Peter Ricchiuti, assistant dean at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane University and recent keynote speaker for ABiz’s Top 50 privately held companies luncheon, writes in his monthly blog for Forbes that the nation’s energy outlook is gaining good ground, which makes Stone’s impressive exploration portfolio a potentially valuable stock investment “for those more risk-averse:”

Stone Energy (SGY), which is headquartered in Lafayette, Louisiana, is drilling several deep and ultradeep wells in Vermilion and Cameron parishes in the belief that gas-bearing reservoirs below the shallow Gulf bleed onshore, and that onshore drilling offers a way to tap an abundant hydrocarbon resource without incurring the considerable expenses of underwater operations.

Stone ... has a balanced portfolio of projects that run the gamut of advanced energy exploration — undertakings ranging from its deep and ultradeep drilling for natural gas in coastal Louisiana; to its 75,000-acre Marcellus Shale natural-gas play in eastern Pennsylvania and West Virginia; to its oil plays over some 80,000 acres at various locales in the Rocky Mountains; to its oil wells in the Gulf’s continental shelf and beyond the shelf in deep water. Just last month the company bid to increase its stake in deep water through the purchase of several fields from a BP (BP) eager to shed assets, a deal that Stone hopes will close next month.

For those open to investing in “stocks under rocks,” these companies provide investors two different ways to participate in the ultradeep. Investors with a high tolerance for risk will tend more to McMoRan Exploration; those more risk-averse may opt for Stone Energy. In either event, both companies represent daring American entrepreneurship at its best.

Read Ricchiuti’s full blog in Forbes here.

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