Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Anadarko Makes West Africa Find: Oil Alert

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Oil inventory metrics will be in full view today, but it was news of a big oil find in Africa that stirred many reports in the early going.

On Wednesday morning, Anadarko Petroleum(APC Quote) announced the finding of a huge, new oil system off the coast of Sierra Leone. The Venus site, as it's called, was drilled to about 18,500 feet deep in 5,900 feet of water, encountering more than 45 net feet of hydrocarbon pay, according to Anadarko's press release.

Including the Jubilee site in the east off the coast of Ghana, the two sites create "bookends spanning approximately 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) across two of the most exciting and highly prospective basins in the world," Anadarko senior vice president Bob Daniels said in the press release.

Anadarko has a 40% interest in Venus, leaving Australia-based Woodside, U.K. concern Tullow and integrated Spanish player Repsol(REP Quote) with 25%, 25% and 10% interests, respectively.

Anadarko shares were adding $2.85, or 4.8%, at $62.02 before the opening bell, while Repsol's American depositary shares were gaining 31 cents, or 1.2%, at $27.34.

But that came on the heels of some surprising U.S. inventory news. The industry's American Petroleum Institute reported yesterday afternoon that crude inventories jumped by 631,000 barrels last week. Analysts surveyed by Platts expected oil stocks to show a 3 million barrel drop.

The same report also showed a huge jump in gasoline and U.S. distillate inventories, which swelled by 1.3 million barrels and 5.2 million barrels each.

Later on Wednesday morning, the Energy Department will release its own oil inventory figures.

During electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday, front-month crude was trading lower by 27 cents at $70.66. On Tuesday, the October delivery contract gained $2.07 to settle at $70.93.

Shares of Exxon Mobil(XOM Quote) slid 51 cents to close at $69.49 on Tuesday. But shares were climbing 34 cents during per-market trading on Wednesday.

ConocoPhillips(COP Quote) and Chevron(CVX Quote) were also moving higher by 0.8% and 1.2% each before the opening bell.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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