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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for August delivery added $2.60 to $60.43 on the New York Merc, its first time above $60 in seven weeks, while Brent for September added $2.85 to $67.01 (all figures in this para U.S.). Bullish traders took heart from a U.S. Energy Information Agency report showing a larger-than-expected weekly draw on crude oil inventories. As well, a brewing tropical storm has prompted several deepwater Gulf of Mexico producers to evacuate their staff, raising the risk of supply disruptions. The U.S. National Hurricane Centre says the storm may strengthen enough to be categorized as a hurricane by this weekend. Meanwhile, Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $12.40 to WTI, up from a discount of $12.48. Natural gas for August added two cents to $2.44. The TSX energy index added 3.02 points to close at 142.65.
Gary Guidry's Colombian oil producer, Gran Tierra Energy Inc. (GTE), added 12 cents to $2.05 on 5.42 million shares. It patted itself on the back for restoring the production from its Suroriente and PUT-7 blocks. These blocks, with combined production of around 4,500 barrels of oil equivalent a day, were shut down last month by blockades of farmers protesting against the Colombian government. (The protests were unrelated to Gran Tierra and had to do with the government's agricultural policies.) Gran Tierra announced the blockades and a few other "temporary operational issues" on June 19, at which point its stock, which had been trading at over $2.50, began a three-week plunge to an all-time low of $1.87 (reached in intraday trading yesterday). Now Gran Tierra says the government has negotiated an end to the blockades and production from the blocks is back to normal. The stock is safely back above $2.
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