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Oil & Gas Stock Roundup: New Discoveries for Shell, Quicksilver

Zacks Equity Research

It was a week where Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A) struck a new gas discovery offshore Malaysia and Quicksilver Resources Inc. (KWK) – together with its JV partner Eni SpA – encountered oil at the Stallings 1H well in West Texas.

Overall, it was a positive week for the sector. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures arrested the losing streak, gaining 2.5% to close at $95.96 per barrel. Meanwhile, natural gas prices rallied 5% over the period and ended the week at around $4.07 per million Btu (MMBtu). (See last ‘Oil & Gas Stock Roundup’ here: BP Names CEO for New US Biz, Exxon Eyes $10B Vietnam Project.)

Oil prices regained the $95 a barrel level on escalating Russia-Ukraine tensions and encouraging U.S. economic data. However, the commodity’s plentiful inventory and weak demand continues to keep a lid on prices.

Natural gas fared even better, as it shrugged off another above-average supply increase. The commodity was also buoyed by expectations of strong electric power demand with forecasts of hotter weather across most parts of the U.S.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

1.    European oil major Royal Dutch Shell plc declared that it has made another deep-water gas discovery off the coast of Malaysia. The well Marjoram-1 is located in Block SK318, 180 kilometers off the shore and is at a water depth of 800 meters. This is the company’s second discovery in the block this year. In Apr 2014, Shell had announced the discovery of the Rosmari-1 well, 135 kilometers off the shore. Drilled to a depth of 2,123 meters, the well has revealed over 450 meters of gas column. (Read More: Shell Makes Another Gas Discovery Offshore Malaysia.)

2.    Shares of Fort Worth, TX-based energy explorer Quicksilver Resources Inc. jumped 10% after it announced an oil find with Italian energy major Eni SpA at the Stallings 1H well in West Texas. Both the companies aim at jointly evaluating, exploring and developing the unconventional oil reservoirs in the southern portion of the Delaware Basin, located in the Pecos County, West Texas about 700 kilometers north west of Houston. (Read More: Eni's Exploration of Shale Oil Play in Delaware Sees Success.)

3.    Oil and gas finder Noble Energy Inc.’s (NBL) strategy to expand its operation in the resource rich Gulf of Mexico (GoM) has started to yield results. The company announced encouraging final well results at the Katmai exploration well and the Dantzler appraisal well in the deepwater GoM. Noble Energy has plans to spend $1.5 billion in its global deepwater operations in 2014, out of which a portion is earmarked for strengthening its GoM footprint. The company is pursuing an active exploration program in the region with the development of the Big Bend, Gunflint and Dantzler projects. (Read More: Noble Energy's Gulf of Mexico Focus Yielding Results.)

4.    British supermajor BP plc’s (BP) share price edged down following the news of its largest U.S. refinery, at Whiting, IN, having caught fire. However, there was negligible impact on production, which commenced immediately on the next day. Per the company, only one worker had to be taken to an area hospital for treatment, but was released later. The Whiting refinery with a capacity of 413,500 barrels per day (bpd) was marginally affected and the facility now continues to produce products for customers.

5.    U.S. independent oil and gas company ConocoPhillips (COP) has entered into a settlement with Chinese coalbed methane gas producer Green Dragon Gas Ltd. to end a 4-year dispute. Per the agreement, ConocoPhillips would receive $40 million as the final settlement to renounce all claims from Green Dragon on various proceedings in multiple jurisdictions. The payment will be made using Green Dragon's existing cash resources. Following the truce, its appeal hearing – scheduled for Nov 2014 – has been withdrawn, bringing the matter to a closure.

Price Performance

The following table shows the price movement of the major oil and gas players over the past week and during the last 6 months.


Last Week

Last 6 Months


























Over the course of last week, most of the market heavyweights edged up. Among them, Transocean Ltd. (RIG) was the best of the lot, adding 2% to its stock price, as the offshore driller recouped some of its losses following previous week’s dismal fleet report. It was only oilfield services giant Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB) that could not join the party and saw its stock price unchanged. 

Over the last 6 months, refiner Tesoro Corp. was the leader of the pack with its shares advancing 27%. Investors have rewarded the company for its continued focus on shareholder returns. Despite handsome weekly gain, Transocean was the laggard, as it witnessed a 7.3% price decline over the Mar-Aug period on the back of rig oversupply that has led the industry into a cyclical downturn.

What’s Next in the Energy World?

Apart from the usual releases in this holiday-shortened week – the U.S. government data on oil and natural gas – market participants will be closely tracking data on manufacturing, services, factory orders and unemployment.

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