Transocean's Acquisition, Chevron's Legal Victory & More

Nilanjan Choudhury


It was a week where both oil and natural gas finished lower.

On the news front, offshore driller Transocean Ltd. RIG agreed to acquire smaller peer Ocean Rig UDW, Inc. for $2.7 billion, while supermajor Chevron Corp. CVX scored a big legal victory over pollution claims in Ecuador that protects the company from having to pay $9.5 billion fine.

Overall, it was a dismal week for the sector. While West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 2.9% to close at $67.75 per barrel, natural gas prices dropped 4.8% to 2.776 per million Btu (MMBtu). (See the last Oil & Gas Stock Roundup here: ExxonMobil's Oil Find, Canadian Natural's Acquisition & More)

The U.S. crude benchmark slipped for the first time in three weeks after the Energy Department's inventory release showed surprise build in fuel (gasoline and distillate) stockpiles on weaker demand. On a further bearish note, domestic oil production continued to be at record levels. Growing concerns about demand growth amid escalating trade conflict between the worlds biggest oil consumers -- the United States and China -- also pressured the commodity futures.

Natural gas prices moved southward too, pressured by bearish weather predictions and strength in the commoditys production. Investors were spooked by forecasts of moderating temperature in the next few weeks that could lead to decrease in the fuels demand. Unabated production from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions played further spoilsport.

Recap of th....

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