Oil prices were on the move this week after a pipeline shutdown in the North Sea. At the oil market’s close on Tuesday, Brent crude was up 1.1% to $111.61 and WTI crude was up 0.3% to $90.86. Later in the evening, it was announced that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez had died. Venezuela is OPEC’s fourth largest member in terms of production, but it’s unclear how Chavez’s death will affect the oil market. U.S. natural gas, meanwhile, remains stuck in the doldrums, down 0.3% this week to $3.53.
The top oil and gas stocks this week
1. This week’s leader is Endeavour International Corporation (NYSE:END) , up 58% this week to $3.97. Endeavour has had a self-inflicted rough year and an even rougher month. Last summer, with the stock around $12, Endeavour International Corporation (NYSE:END) announced a dilutive share offering and took on additional debt to purchase oilfield assets from ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP) in the North Sea. The stock dropped from a high of $12.82 to the share offering price of $7.50 and slowly continued falling.
On Feb. 14 at a price of $5, the company announced that a storm the previous week had damaged its well at East Rochelle and that it was halting operations there. At the same time, the company announced that it was hiring investment bank Tudor, Pickering, & Holt to pursue strategic alternatives. The stock immediately plummeted. You know it’s bad when the brokerage that did the most recent stock offering downgrades the stock from “buy” to “neutral,” which Global Hunter Securities did on Feb. 20.
Endeavour International Corporation (NYSE:END) hit a low of $2.36 last week. The stock has since come back a bit, but with a large debt load, a $115 million credit facility due in October, and a damaged well, things don’t look good for Endeavour International Corporation (NYSE:END). I’d pass on this one.