Top Energy Stocks
Fnergy stocks were higher, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index climbing nearly 1.1% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were up over 0.9% as a group. Crude oil for February delivery settled 50 cents higher at $64.30 per barrel in New York while the benchmark Brent crude March contract was 62 cents higher at $69.88 per barrel. February natural gas futures rose 12 cents to $3.20 per 1 million BTU. Among energy-related ETFs, United States Oil was up 1.4% while United States Natural Gas was up more than 3.7%. Also, the Philadephia oil-service sector index was up 0.6%.
In industry news:
North American energy producers moved to take advantage of the recent rise in the price of crude oil to a three-year high, with U.S. and Canadian companies this week bringing scores of additional oil and natural gas rigs into the field this week, according to oilfield-service company Baker Hughes ( BHGE ). The surge was led by Canadian producers, who almost doubled the number of oil rigs in use in that country, adding 87 rigs during the seven days ended today and lifting the national total to 185 rigs. Canadian firms also brought another 15 gas rigs online this week for a total of 91 rigs. American producers added 10 oil rigs and five natural gas rigs between Jan. 6 to Jan. 12 for U.S. oil and gas subtotals of 752 and 187, respectively. Overall, the number of rigs in use throughout North America grew by 117, or just over 12%, to 1,215 rigs.
Also, BP ( BP ), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) and Goldman Sachs ( GS ) reportedly are among companies expressing an interest in filling India's strategic oil reserve in the southern Karnataka state. India had been seeking bids to fill the 18.4 million barrel facility, according to Reuters, citing a government report.
Among energy companies moving on news:
BHP Billiton ( BHP ) was higher in late Friday trade after the extraction and mining company said it will skip a second round of exploration activity in two of its deepwater blocks in the Caribbean Sea near Trinidad and Tobago. The initial phase expired in late 2017 and BHP did explain its reasons for scrapping future exploration, according to S&P Global Platts, citing the company.
In other sector news:
+ U.S. Energy's ( USEG ) traded higher Friday after saying its new dual-lateral well in Zavala County, Texas, averaged 1,046 barrels of oil and 1,085 mln cubic feet of natural gas during its first 24 hours of production. Cumulative daily production grew to 7,200 barrels of oil equivalent after eight days, matching the output from many of the upper-tier wells recently completed in the Georgetown formation.
+ BP ( BP ): BMO raises its price target for the energy major to GBP6.00 from GBP5.80 per share previously and reiterated its Outperform rating for the stock. Among the attributes BP has for investors are a "peer-leading" dividend yield and stock buybacks acting as shorter-term catalysts, the BMO analysts wrote, later adding the company is following a "detailed and focused growth program on both the upstream and downstream" through 2021.