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Oil & Gas Stock Roundup: Crude Dips Below $40, Cobalt Sells Angola Blocks

It was a week where oil prices fell below the key psychological level of $40-a-barrel and natural gas futures slumped to a 1½ month low. On the news front, the top story came from Cobalt International Energy Inc.’s CIE sale of its Angolan oil assets for $1.75 billion.

Overall, it was a bearish week for the sector. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures dived 6.2% to close at $40.45 per barrel, while natural gas prices fell 4.5% to $2.68 per million Btu (MMBtu). (See the last ‘Oil & Gas Stock Roundup’ here: Crude Sinks Further, Shell Gets Arctic Drilling OK.)

Oil prices extended their losing streak and fell for the eighth straight week, the backdrop being another increase in the number of crude-directed rigs. An upwardly moving rig count has underlined concerns about an expansion in the commodity’s global supply glut. The recent turn of events in Greece, Iran and China also created pressure. In particular, Chinese growth worries have sparked fears about a drop in oil demand from the country.

Natural gas fared poorly as well as the effects of a bullish inventory build was more than offset by predictions of weak late summer cooling demand with forecasts of mild weather across majority of the country over the next few days.

Recap of the Week’s Most Important Stories

1. Houston-based energy explorer Cobalt International Energy Inc. announced the sale of its interest in blocks 21/09 and 20/11, offshore Angola, to the country’s state-owned oil company, Sociedad Nacional De Combustiveis De Angola (SONANGOL). The $1.75 billion transaction – with an effective date of Jan 1, 2015 – is subject to customary approvals by the Angolan government.

Following the unloading, Cobalt will relinquish its 40% working interest in the blocks to SONANGOL, which will increase its interest in the prospect from 60% to 100%. Apart from improving liquidity, the move will allow Cobalt to focus on its core deepwater properties in offshore North America and West Africa.

2. Sunoco L.P. SUN, a unit of natural gas transportation and storage partnership Energy Transfer Partners L.P., declared that it is planning to acquire a wholesale motor fuel distribution business. Depending on customary closing conditions, the agreement is anticipated to be...