Top performances this week from Rockhopper Exploration, Cairn Energy and Gulf Keystone Petroleum.
This week's stock market turbulence and eurozone woes have not dampened the enthusiasm of investors in high-profile oil and gas exploration companies.
Investors will be encouraged by apparently stable high oil prices -- both Brent and WTI crude remained in a fairly tight price range this week, with Brent staying firmly above the psychologically important $100 level. As a result, the United States Oil Fund (NYSE: USO.US) looks set to end the week broadly unchanged and was down just 0.03% on the week when US markets opened on Friday morning.
Gas prices have not proved quite so robust, and the United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSE: UNG.US) was down by 8% on the week at 10am ET on Friday, after natural gas prices slumped below $3/mmbtu on Thursday.
Here are three of this week's top-performing junior oil and gas shares:
Rockhopper Exploration (LSE: RKH) gained almost 10% to 194p this week, following the publication of its latest investor presentation on 31 July. The presentation presented a bullish and confident outlook for the Sea Lion field, and Rockhopper's new partnership with Premier Oil and investors seem to have overcome their initial shock at the level of dilution required to seal the deal.
Cairn Energy (LSE: CNE) gained 8.7% to 298p this week, despite announcing that the first of its Norwegian North Sea wells was dry. A dry well usually causes a slump in price but Cairn managed to avoid this. The well was not a big deal for a company Cairn's size, but it has been some time since it had any drill bit success.
Gulf Keystone Petroleum
Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LSE: GKP) climbed almost 7% to 207p this week, with sentiment helped by the news that Total has become the third supermajor to purchase stakes in oil exploration blocks in Kurdistan, despite the risk of angering the main Iraqi government, which continues to threaten companies entering Kurdistan with expulsion from southern Iraqi oil fields.
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Further investment opportunities:
> Roland does not own any of the shares mentioned in this article.