Energy stocks eased slightly from their prior session highs this afternoon amid gains for West Texas Intermediate crude oil after more than half of US production in the Gulf of Mexico has been temporarily shut down ahead of two approaching tropical storms this week. At last look, the NYSE Energy Sector Index was climbing 2.1% while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF was up 2.5%.
Front-month WTI crude oil settled 28 cents higher at $42.62 per barrel in New York while the global benchmark Brent crude contract increased 64 cents to $44.99 per barrel. Henry Hub natural gas futures rose 7 cents to $2.51 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, KBR (KBR) was narrowly lower in late trade, giving back a nearly 2% gain earlier Monday that followed the company announced a pair of new contracts providing its steam cracking and MTO recovery technologies for a coal-to-olefins project for the Ningxia Baofeng Energy Group. Once complete, the new complex in Ningdong, China, will be the largest facility of its kind in the world. Financial terms were not disclosed.
FTS International (FTSI) earlier dropped 80% to an all-time low of $1.01 a share after the hydraulic fracturing company Monday said it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and will pursue a prepackaged reorganization after striking a deal with the majority of its bondholders and lenders that will eliminate $437.3 million of its current debt in exchange for a 90.1% equity stake in the post-bankruptcy company plus $30.6 million in cash. Existing shareholders will own the remaining 9.9% of the company.
To the upside, Transocean (RIG) climbed almost 20% after Monday saying it will issue a prorated $518 million of its new 11.5% senior guaranteed notes due 2027 after bondholders tendered about $1.13 billion of its existing senior notes and debentures by the August 21 deadline. The contract drilling company also increased the interest rate for three series of its senior notes maturing in 2021, 2022 and 2041 to 8.375%, 5.800% and 9.35%, respectively, from 6.375%, 3.80% and 7.35% previously.
Noble Energy (NBL) rose 2.8% after Monday saying it has scheduled an Oct. 2 special meeting for shareholders to vote on Chevron's (CVX) proposed acquisition of the oil and natural gas producer following the Federal Trade Commission late last week granting an early termination of the waiting period for the deal required under federal anti-trust guidelines. Chevron shares were 2% higher.
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