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Tickers in this Article: MUR, TOT, APC, AXAS
Murphy Oil Corporation’s (MUR) subsidiary Murphy Australia WA-408-P Oil Pty Ltd. has made a gas discovery in offshore Western Australia’s Browse Basin. The non-operated Bassett West-1 well has encountered more than 20 feet (6.1 meter) of net gas condensate pay.

The Browse Basin is located in the offshore of northwest margin of the Australian mainland in water depths of 65.6 feet (20 meter) to over 6561.7 feet (2000 meter). This basin occupies an area of roughly 185,000 square kilometer, and covers primarily the outer Scott Plateau of 80,000 square kilometer, the central Browse Basin and adjacent terraces of 80,000 square kilometer and the Yampi Shelf of 25,000 square kilometer.

Murphy Oil operates the WA-408-P block jointly with two other companies and has a working interest of 20%. The working interests of the other co-owners are Total SA’s (TOT) unit Total E&P Australia (50%) and Santos (30%).

As initial finding in the Browse Basin is not encouraging, the group of companies will again drill another well named Dufresne-1 to ensure whether the reserves have any commercial significance or not.

As of Mar 31, 2013, Murphy Oil’s cash balance was $1.1 billion and net cash provided by operating activities during the first three months of 2013 was $0.9 billion. Strong financial position enables the company to invest $4.3 billion in 2013 for several development projects.

Murphy Oil currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). The other stocks in the sector that are worth considering include Abraxas Petroleum Corp. (AXAS) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (APC) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

El Dorado, AR-based Murphy Oil is a global oil and gas exploration and production company with refining and marketing operations in the U.S. and the UK.

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