APA Corporation ( APA Quick Quote APA - Free Report) announced that it has agreed to invest $3.5 billion in research, development and manufacturing in Egypt's Western Desert. Egypt's parliament snapped up a deal last month to revamp and consolidate its production-sharing contracts (PSC) with the government. Both the African country and the joint venture between APA and Sinopec ( SNP Quick Quote SNP - Free Report) will benefit from this deal. The updated PSC encourages high investment and production development, thus putting Egypt on top of many attractive investment options in APA's worldwide portfolio. It also underscores the desert country's commitment to sustainable development and public-private partnerships. According to APA, the agreement consolidates 90% of gross output into a single concession and renews existing development lease terms for the next 20 years. In Egypt, APA's joint venture with China’s one of the largest petroleum and petrochemical companies SNP intends to boost gross capital investment by $235 million in 2022, with a 13-15% rise in gross oil output year over year. The APA-Sinopec JV will be able to recoup almost $900 million in backlog expenditures over the next five years, beginning Apr 1, 2021, on which the new agreement will be effective. Houston, TX-based APA boosted drilling activities in Egypt from five to 11 rigs since 2021. Also, under the amended PSC, the firm expects to increase the rig count and generate significant year-over-year growth in oil output. In the future, APA plans to adopt various effective ESG initiatives connected to its emphasis areas of air, water, communities and people. APA is one of the world's leading independent energy companies engaged in exploration, development and production of natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids. Geographically, the energy player’s operations are concentrated in the United States, Egypt and the North Sea of the United Kingdom. APA also holds acreage in offshore Suriname (South America) and at other international locations. Zacks Rank & Key Picks APA currently has a Zack Rank #3 (Hold). Investors interested in the energy sector might look at the following stocks worth considering with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here . PDC Energy ( PDCE Quick Quote PDCE - Free Report) is an independent upstream operator dealing in exploration, development and production of natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids. PDCE, which reached its present status following the January 2020 merger with SRC Energy, is currently the second-largest producer in the Denver-Julesburg Basin. As of 2020 end, PDCE's total estimated proved reserves were 731,073 thousand barrels of oil equivalent. In the past year, shares of PDC Energy have soared 169% compared with the industry's growth of 108.6%. PDCE's earnings for 2021 are expected to surge 273.4% from the prior-year reported figure. In the past 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for PDC Energy's 2021 earnings has been raised 26.8%. Earnings of PDCE beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the last four quarters, the average being 51.06%. SM Energy ( SM Quick Quote SM - Free Report) is a leading upstream player with a strong top-tier asset footprint. SM is delivering the best-in-class well performances. Since the beginning of 2021 to the third-quarter 2021 end, SM completed 78 net wells and is on track to complete 82 more. Over the past seven days, SM Energy has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2021. So far this year, SM has skyrocketed 373.9%, outpacing the surge of 98.7% of the composite stocks belonging to the industry.