Sector Update: Energy

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Energy stocks are higher with the NYSE Energy Sector Index rising around 1.5% and the S&P Energy Index holding on to a near 1.8% advance. Crude oil for September delivery is up 45 cents to $89.42 a barrel. August natural gas is flat at 3.07 per 1 million BTU.

In company news, federal environmental officials have determined groundwater in Dimock, Pa., no longer contains any contaminants and is safe to drink, a decision cheered last night by Cabot Oil & Gas Corp ( COG ) and other proponents of hydraulic fracturing.

The northwest Pennsylvania town has been at the center of a debate over the methods used to extract natural gas from shale formations deep underground. Some residents contend COG polluted the local aquifer when it used hydraulic fracturing - also known as fracking - when it pumped water and chemicals into drill-holes to break apart shale and release the gas. Some area residents were able to light their tap water on fire due to high levels of methane in the water they claim COG caused during its fracking operations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the results of a second round of tests, saying "there are not levels of contaminants present that would require additional action," including providing alternative sources of drinking water to affected residents.

In a statement, COG said it was pleased with EPA test results, adding the company "hopes this will finally put this matter to rest." COG shares are higher today at $40.80 each, up near 4%.

In other sector news,

(+) PTEN, (+2.2%) Posts Q2 earnings of $0.60 a share, topping estimates by $0.16. Revenue for the quarter came in at $681 million, ahead of the $663.50 million consensus.

(+) ESV, (+2.2%) Comfortably beats expectations with Q2 net income of $1.41 a share. Revenue was $1.072 billion, trailing the $1.08 billion forecast by analysts by less than 1%.

(+) OXY, (+1.9%) Reports Q2 EPS of $1.64, ahead of the $1.60 analysts were looking for. Revenue for the quarter came in at $5.77 billion, missing estimates for $5.83 billion.

(+) HEP, (+1%) Increases quarterly distribution by 1.7% to $0.91 a share.

(+) XOM, (+0.8%) Excluding one-time gains, reports $1.80 a share Q2 profit - $0.15 below Thomson Reuters analyst consensus. Revenue was $127.36 billion, beating estimates by $11.15 billion.

(-) RDS-A, (-1.6%) Q2 earnings slide 13% from 2011 levels to $5.7 billion. Lower energy prices blamed. Oil and gas production falls 5.6% during quarter.

(-) LINE, (-2%) Misses analyst expectations with $0.31 a share Q2 profit. The Street was at $0.42 a share.

(-) GPRE, (-8.2%, hit year low) Year-ago $0.14 a share profit swings to $0.25 a share Q2 net loss, $0.08 worse than the Street view. Revenue rises 1% to $870.4 million, beating estimates by $5.35 million.

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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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