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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery lost 67 cents to $78.23 on the New York Merc, while Brent for March lost 88 cents to $80.87 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $12.24 to WTI, down from a discount of $12.14. Natural gas for February added 16 cents to $4.08. The TSX energy index added a fraction to close at 177.63.
One of the surprise gainers of the day was Art Millholland's Canadian Overseas Petroleum Ltd. (XOP), up 25 cents to 59 cents on 1.11 million shares. This is the highest-volume day in its 17-year history. For most of that history, it leaned into the "Overseas" part of its name, exploring the U.K. North Sea, Liberia, Namibia, Mozambique, Nigeria and more. Today's excitement showed that the company did not have to travel nearly as far as it thought. The stock soared on news from right next door in Wyoming.
Specifically, Canadian Overseas Petroleum (which tends to go by the abbreviated name COPL) has made a "significant conventional light oil discovery" in the Powder River basin. Its new exploration well hit 140 feet of net reservoir sand across four intervals, with oil recovered from the bottom two. COPL noted that all four sands showed damage from drilling and casing. As such, "indicative flow rates were not achieved" -- meaning there are no test results for investors to look at -- but COPL claimed that it can estimate the size of the discovery at an impressive 1.5 billion to 1.9 billion barrels.
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