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Energy sector movers, losers and news: Fed holds interest rates, energy stocks rise

Oil prices hit a high for the year this week. WTI opened this morning at $45.90 per barrel, almost a five percent week to week gain. Last week the benchmark traded for $43.73 per barrel. Investor expectations were met when the Federal Reserve chose not to increase interest rates this month.

In related news, US stocks rise, shaking off tech slump, after Fed stands pat.

Are current oil prices worth cheering about?

Reuters reports dozens of tankers filled with crude at sea waiting for buyers.  As producers continue drilling, storage becomes the only option in an over-saturated market. In addition, Iran continues to ramp up production in an attempt to reach pre-sanctions output levels. Some fear another drop in the price of crude.

EIA reports natural gas imports in 2015 hit lowest level since 1986

An EIA report showed natural gas imports fell to 2.6 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2015, noting that despite higher domestic production and consumption, production has grown at a faster rate, partly due to record production in the Marcellus shale region of Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Increased production across U.S. shale plays also resulted in an increase in U.S. natural gas exports. Pipeline expansion and construction increased capacity to Mexico and Canada. In addition, exports of LNG have increased, with the Sabine Pass LNG liquefaction facility completed earlier this year.

North Atlantic Drilling earns continued credit

North Atlantic Drilling Limited (NYSE:NADL) stock made significant gains this week. Last week the price per share was $3.01, but this morning it opened at $3.65 per share, a 21.3 percent gain. The Seadrill Limited subsidiary announced today, April 29, an agreement with its banking group to extend its credit through June 2017 in the amount of two billion US dollars.

Exxon and BP stock value rises despite challenges

Exxon Mobile (NYSE:XOM) made 1.3 percent gains this week despite the loss if its AAA credit rating by the Standard & Poor. Exxon has faced accumulated debt as oil prices have been less than favorable as of late.

BP (NYSE:BP) also made 4.3 percent gains this week. Shares of BP opened at $33.52 this morning. The company reported a 79 percent decrease in earnings this week, less than originally anticipated.

Chevron reports first quarter loss

Chevron (NYSE:CVX) opened at $101.40 per share this morning, after having reached $104.26 during the week. The stock closed at $102.01 last Friday. Chevron Corp. reported a first quarter loss today, no surprise given the continued pressure of low oil prices.

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