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Energy Stocks Adding To Early Gains; Pioneer Natural Resources Up Despite Lower Q4 Production Due To Weather

Top Energy Stocks

XOM -0.55%

CVX +0.8%

COP +0.8%

SLB +1%

OXY -0.75%

Energy stocks are higher with the NYSE Energy Sector Index rising 0.6% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 are advancing 0.7% as a group. Crude oil for February delivery is up 43 cents at $94.80 per barrel while February natural gas is up 8 cents to $4.41 per 1 million BTU.

In company news, Pioneer Natural Resources Co. ( PXD ) has overcome some morning selling pressure and was up more than 2% on Tuesday afternoon despite the oil and gas company late yesterday putting a number on the impact of severe winter weather in late November, saying Q4 production slid around 3.3% below earlier forecasts due to heavy icing and extremely cold temperatures in the Permian Basin as well as the Eagle Ford and Barnet shale formations, all in Texas.

The company late Monday said daily production during the three months ended Dec. 31, 2013, averaged around 173,000 barrels of oil equivalent, little changed from Q3 levels. It also trailed PXD's Nov. 4 guidance expecting the company to produce between 179,000 to 184,000 barrels per day during Q4 by around 6,000 barrels. The company is slated to release final Q4 financial and production results on Feb. 10.

PXD warned Nov. 27 that production and drilling in the Spraberry/Wolfcamp, Eagle Ford Shale and Barnett Shale Combo plays were damaged by recent ice storms and would require an extensive recovery period, adding it would likely be several weeks before the full impact of events could be determined.

The Spraberry/Wolfcamp area was particularly hard hit, PXD said, accounting for about 5,000 barrels of the lost daily production after more than half of its 7,000 wells there shut-in due to widespread power outages, facility freeze-ups, icy roadways and limited access to production and drilling locations. At the company's Midkiff play, over 1,000 power poles, 900 transformers and 1,000 miles of power lines were damaged and replaced before operations returned to normal.

The company said all of the wells affected by the late-November storms are again in operation. Drilling and completions activities also are back to normal, with eight horizontal rigs in use in the southern Wolfcamp joint venture area and another nine rigs operating on its northern acreage. It expects to have over 10 rigs operating on its northern Wolfcamp properties by the end of March.

In other sector news,

(+) CCJ, (+4.3%, hit fresh 52 week highs) TD upgraded shares of the uranium miner to Buy from Hold and raised its price target by C$1 to $C32 a share, explaining the expected restart of more reactors in Japan should support higher prices for the radioactive element.

(-) CEO, (-6.2%) Sets net production target of between 422 mln to 435 mln barrels of oil equivalent this year, up at least 5.5% over 2013 levels. The Chinese oil and gas company's 2014 capital budget is projected to be around $17.35 bln to $19.83 bln.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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