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Investors are clearly divided on the prospects for Canadian energy, but Whitecap Resources sails along nonetheless.

Hampered by a sudden drop-off in international demand for Canadian energy assets and the well-known problems with transporting Canadian crude, the country's broad energy sector has, for the most part, been stuck in limbo. Whitecap's stock, though, is up 42 per cent this year.

In fact, in the past twelve months the company's shares popped 55 per cent, and they're up 151 per cent since late 2010, when the resource boom kicked in coming out of the financial crisis. The company's market value is now north of $2-billion, and its share gains are the fifth-best of the entire S&P/TSX Energy Index this year.

So you can understand why everyone's jumping on board. At the moment, every single analyst has a "buy" or "outperform" rating on Whitecap, according to Bloomberg. Is it hype, or are their prospects really that strong?

Here's what Whitecap's got going for it: the company pays a dividend; its assets are oil-weighted, and are in light oil areas in Alberta and Saskatchewan such as the Viking and the Cardium formations; it has low debt-to-cash-flow; and management keeps beefing up its production profile.

Already this year Whitecap has struck four acquisitions, and has boosted its production outlook several times. The latest deal, worth $90-million and announced Monday, adds Cardium and Viking assets, which are expected to bring in $18.5-million in cash flow in 2014.

But the most recent acquisition, like so many of its others, was financed by a bought deal – this time for $65-million. If Whitecap is selling so much stock, the investment banks will clamour to get a cut of its business – especially in a year when energy underwriting revenues are so weak. Slapping an "outperform" rating on a stock is the easiest way to curry favour with a company's management team.

Plus, every time Whitecap adds new assets, you have to wonder whether the company is enhancing its long-term production potential, or diluting it. Obviously there will be an additional bump to production if the assets are already producing oil, but will Whitecap be able to ultimately extract as much oil from them as they hope to, and without any major delays?

For now, these are just causes for concern – companies like Tourmaline Oil Corp have justified investors' early enthusiasm with solid growth. But as strong as Whitecap looks, the risks are equally substantial. For proof, just look at the junior miners that were once darlings themselves.