Energy stocks are narrowly higher, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index rising 0.1% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 are ahead about 0.3% as a group. Crude oil for January delivery is up 4 cents at $97.69 per barrel while January natural gas is up 12 cents to $4.24 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, QEP Resources Inc. ( QEP ) is down about 3.2% at $30.42 a share after the exploration and production company agreed to acquire oil and gas properties in the Permian Basin for roughly $950 million, diversifying its exploration and production footprint.
The properties currently are producing around 6,700 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with more than two-thirds crude oil. They contain net proved reserves of about 47 million barrels of oil equivalent, based on internal estimates, with up to 300 million barrels of estimated net recoverable resources.
QEP also said it is planning to divest several noncore properties in the Midcontinent region during the first half of next year.
In other sector news,
(+) ANR, (+9.4%) Sells its 50% stake in Alpha Shale Resources to its joint venture partner Rice Energy for $300 million in cash and stock. The firms started Alpha Shale in 2010 to develop natural gas resources in the Marcellus formation in Pennsylvania.
(-) NFX, (-4.1%) Updates its production and capital investment outlook for 2014-16, with plans to invest around $1.6 bln in 2014. Domestic liquids production expected to grow about 30% next year over current levels.
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