Top Energy Stocks
Energy stocks turned higher again Friday afternoon, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index rising just over 0.3% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 also were up more than 0.2% as a group. West Texas Intermediate crude oil for November delivery settled 37 cents higher at $71.34 per barrel at the New York Mercantile Exchange while the global benchmark Brent crude December contract climbed 44 cents to $80.70 per barrel. November natural gas futures fell 6 cents to $3.16 per 1 million BTU. Among energy-related ETFs, United States Oil increased 1.2% while United States Natural Gas dropping almost 2.3%. The Philadelphia Oil Service Sector index also was up just over 1.0% today.
In industry news:
The number of active oil rigs throughout the United States jumped to their highest level since March 2015, with American energy firms operating 869 oil rigs during the seven days ended Oct. 12, eight more than the previous week, according to the weekly rig count conducted by oilfield-services company Baker Hughes ( BHGE ). Companies also brought four additional natural gas rigs into the field this week for a total of 193 and boosting the U.S. total to 1,063 rigs. Canadian operators were using eight more oil rigs along with another five gas rigs this week compared the prior seven-day period, increasing the weekly total to 127 and 68 rigs, respective. Overall, the North American total grew by 24 rigs to 1,258, topping the year-ago period by 118 rigs.
Among energy stocks moving on news:
(-) Shell (RDS.A, RDS.B) was fractionally lower shortly before Friday's closing bell following a Reuters report the energy major is in talks with France's Maurel & Prom to sell its 40% stake in Petroregional del Lago, Shell'sjoint venture with Venezuelan counterpart PDVSA. Sources told the news service, Shell has been increasingly frustrated with frequent equipment theft and near-daily power cuts at the project site as well as delays in receiving dividends from PDVSA. Venezuela's oil ministry also is assessing the potential sale, the sources said.
In other sector news:
(+) Noble ( NE ) was sailing more than 3% higher in recent trading, previously climbing over 4%, after Thursday saying it has secured contracts for two of its drillships, the Noble Don Taylor and Noble Globetrotter II. According to the company's latest fleet status report released on Thursday, the Don Taylor is beging deployed in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico for Talos Energy ( TALO ) starting in early November. The Globtrotter II is heading for Bulgaria for French oil major Total ( TOT ) early next month and lasting through early January. Contract dayrates for either vessel were not disclosed.
(+) Marathon Petroleum ( MPC ) has hanging on to a nearly 1% gain, giving back over two-thirds of its prior advance that followed the company reportedly suspending operations at its Anacortes refinery in Washington state after a pipeline rupture and explosion in British Columbia earlier this week. Pipeline owner Enbridge (ENB,ENB.TO) Thursday said it restarted the 30-inch Mainline pipeline at about 80% of its normal capacity after it was shut down Tuesday as a precaution because of it proximity to the still-shuttered Westcoast Transportation System pipeline. The cause of the rupture and blast remains under investigation.
(-) Schlumberger N.V (SLB) has given back all of its initial 2% advance, trading almost 1% lower shortly before Friday's closing bell after the oilfield-services company announced a partnership with TGS-NOPEC Geophysical Co. to work on a new multi-client nodal seismic project in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.