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Sector Update: Energy

Energy stocks are mostly higher today with the NYSE Energy Sector Index climbing about 0.5% and the S&P Energy Index rising nearly 0.8%. Crude oil for February delivery is down 35 cents at $92.57 per barrel. February natural gas is up 5 cents to $3.25 per 1 million BTU.

In company news, Transocean Ltd. ( RIG ) is up 3.5% at around $51 a share after the oilfield services firm agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle U.S. government charges over its role in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Gulf of Mexico oil spill after admitting its crew was partly responsible for the mishap.

Nine of the 11 workers killed in the April 2010 accident were RIG employees.

The company previously set aside $1.5 billion for a potential settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and will now pay $1 billion in civil penalties and $400 million in criminal penalties.

Still pending is a settlement with a plaintiffs committee representing more than 100,000 individuals and business owners throughout the Gulf region claiming economic and medical damages.

In other sector news,

(+) HNR, (+12.2%, has hit new 52 week highs) Finds more oil off the coast of Gabon, with its Saipem Scarabeo 3 well encountering a 72-feet oil column as well as another 123 feet of pay in stacked reservoirs in the Dentale Formation.

(=) LPH, (0.0%) Denies allegations posted yesterday by an independent research and trading firm it misrepresented the size and scope of its petroleum distribution business, saying the GeoInvesting.com report contains numerous errors of fact. Trading is on hold today.

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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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