Energy Sector Recap Week Ending September 14, 2012

By Eric Fox | September 18, 2012 AAA

The oil and gas industry is nearly recovered from the production impact of Hurricane Isaac and is getting back to the business of finding future sources of energy to satisfy future demand growth.

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Hurricane Isaac
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) reported that less than 5% of oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was still shut in as of Sept. 11, 2012. Hurricane Isaac made landfall in the Gulf Coast area in late August 2012 and at the peak, resulted in the shut-in of 1.3 million barrels of crude oil production and 3.2 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. This represented 95% of all crude oil production and 73% of all natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gulf of Mexico Startup
Petrobras (NYSE:PBR) announced first oil and gas production from the Chinook Field in the Gulf of Mexico. The field is located on Walker Ridge Blocks 469 and 452 and produces into a floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) unit nearby. Total (NYSE:TOT) is also involved at the Chinook Field on a non-operated basis and owns a 33.33% share.

SEE: Oil And Gas Industry Primer

Alaska Delay
Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A, RDS-B) has decided to delay the company's Arctic drilling program in offshore Alaska until 2013. The company cited damage to a containment dome on the Arctic Challenger barge. Although Royal Dutch Shell will not drill down to any hydrocarbon zone in 2012, the company will drill "top holes" and then cap these wells until next year.

Asset Shuffle
The oil and gas industry continued to shuffle assets around with several major deals announced. Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) is selling properties in the Permian Basin and Utica Shale along with selected midstream assets for approximately $6.9 billion as the company continues its large divestiture program. Chesapeake Energy is using the program to raise cash to pay down debt and fund its exploration and development program. Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX) and several private entities were the buyers.

Doubling Down
Plains Exploration & Production Company (NYSE:PXP) has decided to double down on the deepwater Gulf of Mexico and will acquire oil and gas properties here for approximately $6.1 billion. The properties contain both developed and undeveloped acreage and include interests in five separate deepwater fields. Royal Dutch Shell and BP (NYSE:BP) are the sellers of what these companies consider to be non-core properties. Plains Exploration & Production Company expects the purchases to close by the end of 2012.

SEE: A Guide To Investing In Oil Markets

Bailing Out
Transocean (NYSE:RIG) announced the sale of 38 rigs for approximately $1.05 billion to Shelf Drilling International Holdings Ltd., a private oil and gas company backed by various private equity firms. The company will receive $855 million in cash and preferred stock with an estimated value of $195 million. The rigs being sold are older jackup units that operate in shallow water depths of less than 400 feet. Transocean plans to focus on rigs that can operate in deeper water areas and command higher day rates in the market.

Win Some, Lose Some
Apache Corporation (NYSE:APA) reported the results of an exploration well in offshore Kenya. The company said that the Mbawa 1 well, drilled to a depth of 10,335 feet, found approximately 170 feet of natural gas pay in three separate zones. Unfortunately, Apache Corporation did not find any oil, and the natural gas shows were insufficient to permit commercial development here.

The Bottom Line
It's business as usual for the oil and gas industry as the impact of Hurricane Isaac recedes into the past and operators continue to look for energy resources across the globe.

At the time of writing, Eric Fox did not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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