4 Energy Stock Stories Making a Midweek Buzz

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM): Closing price $86.42

Exxon Mobil and the Russian state oil firm Rosneft Oil Co. have begun choosing contractors for design and engineering work on their planned gas liquefaction facility in Russia’s Far East, according to a statement released by Rosneft Wednesday, which indicated that project design work will be finished in 2013 and 2014. The facility on the Pacific island of Sakhalin will supply gas to the lucrative Asian market starting 2019. The government of Russia is developing legislation to permit exporters, aside from the state gas major OAO Gazprom, to export LNG. In June, Rosneft reached an accord with Sodeco through which to deliver 1 million tons of LNG starting in 2019, and has agreed a deal with Marubeni Corp to supply 1.25 million tons of LNG also from 2019.

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YPF Sociedad Anonima (NYSE:YPF): Closing price $16.39

Argentina’s state-owned energy firm YPF SA, said that its next shale oil and gas partnership will be with a group that includes China’s CNOOC Ltd., which will probably sign a definitive deal in September to explore and develop deposits in the Vaca Muerta formation, either as part of its Bridas Corp. joint venture with the billionaire Bulgheroni brothers, or with the Bridas-controlled Pan American Energy LLC, according to YPF board member Hector Valle. An agreement with CNOOC and Bridas would represent YPF’s second binding shale partnership in the 16 months since President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner seized control of the firm from Spain’s Repsol. Argentina now relies upon companies including Chevron Corp., which signed the first YPF shale deal in July, to help develop Vaca Muerta and expand gas reserves that now stand at just six years of consumption, said Valle.

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Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDSA): Closing price $63.67

The number-one oil refinery could close down its primary crude distillation unit for as long as three months in 2014, to replace a vibrating pipe that prevents the 325,000-barrel per day facility from running at full output, reported inside sources. Such a turn of events would be another blow to the Motiva Enterprises 600,000-bpd plant since the $10 billion refinery in Port Arthur, opened in 2012. Motiva is owned by Royal Dutch Shell and Saudi Aramco. A Shell official remarked that “In keeping with our disclosure policy, we cannot provide detail on the timing of maintenance at specific units, or how long it will take to complete maintenance activities.”

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BP (NYSE:BP): Closing price $40.52

BP, ConocoPhillips and Statoil are among other major oil firms who are indicating interest in the resource potential of part of the Barents Sea, and around Jan Mayen island off Norway. Italy’s Eni, BG Group of the United Kingdom, and French company GDF Suez have also gotten ahold of the seismic data package which has been on offer from the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate for space in the South-east Barents and off Jan Mayen. An aggregation of 15 oil firms have now purchased the package at $1.99 million, plus VAT, including Denmark’s Dong Energy and OMV of Austria.

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