Last week, Texas-based independent oil and natural gas explorer Anadarko (APC) announced one of its largest oil discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico. Immediately following the press release, shares of the company, as well as the well’s co-owners ConocoPhillips (COP) and Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO), rallied, prompting many analysts to redraw their estimates for Anadarko. Many have noted that this discovery may very well be a “game changer” for the popular explorer [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The oil and gas exploration and production sector has significantly expanded over the past couple years, both domestically and around the world. With the advent of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. is poised to overtake Saudi Arabia to become the world’s biggest oil producer before 2020, according to a new forecast by the International Energy Agency. Several oil and gas exploration and production companies are well positioned within the newly booming domestic industry [for more energy news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Big oil firms often come under fire for receiving everything from favorable tax treatment to government subsidies to conduct their business. And now it appears that another factor can be added to that list, as Representative Edward Markey of Massachusetts has begun pushing for a legislation change. The laws that he seeks to amend favor drilling royalties for some of the biggest names in the industry, with over 100 companies taking advantage of the policy [for more oil news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
In early 2010, British Petroleum (BP) was at the center of one of the worst oil spills in U.S. history, as an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig caused millions of gallons of oil to flow into the Gulf claiming 11 lives. Also involved were Transocean (RIG) and Halliburton (HAL), with each company doing their best to escape the weight of the charges. As BP goes on trial, along with Transocean and Halliburton, its stock has been taking a hit as investors hold their breath for the outcome [for more oil news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The global oil and gas industry is enormous, and serving the endless global appetite for oil and gas has propelled many companies into the realm of the mega-caps. Were they independent entities, the revenues of companies like Exxon Mobil (XOM), BP (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) would be such that they’d be among the 30-largest countries by GDP. Not surprisingly, that makes them highly significant stocks as well [for more oil and gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The oil and gas industry has been dramatically expanding over the past few years, particularly in the United States and emerging markets. In fact, the U.S. is expected to overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world’s largest oil producer by the second half of this decade, according to the International Energy Agency. One of the leading names on the oil front has long been Chevron (CVX), which is one of the largest crude producers in the U.S. [for more oil & gas news subscribe to our free newsletter].
With the earnings season well on its way, many investors still remain understandably skeptical about several commodity producers’ fourth-quarter reports as global economic uncertainties and demand concerns continue to plague the market. Earnings results thus far have been mixed, while lackluster economic data weighs heavily on commodities. Last week, however, oil giants Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Chevron Corporation (CVX) both posted solid Q4 profits, exceeding analysts’ expectations. Chevron’s victory, however, was short-lived after analysts at UBS cut its stock recommendation [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].