Power Up is Stockhead’s fortnightly look at all the news and moves driving ASX energy stocks.

After a brief foray above the $US65 ($85.60) a barrel mark in March, oil prices have slid back down to hover around the $US60 a barrel level thanks to a resurgence in COVID-19 infections and more importantly, the realisation that shale oil places a hard cap on how high prices can go.

Oil prices were previously supported by expectations that an accelerated recovery from COVID-19 would occur with vaccines now available and OPEC+ discipline in maintaining oil supply cuts.

However, the surge in infections along with concerns about the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccine has put paid to the first while reports that fracture stimulation activity in North America has almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels has raised concerns that US shale oil production could offset any attempts by OPEC+ to moderate oil production.

Rystad Energy noted that the count of starting frac jobs reached a 12 month high in March with the number of wells completed in the Permian Basin during the first quarter exceeding the required output maintenance level.

The consultancy added that oil production is likely to rise in the current quarter before slowing again later in the year.

US shale oil appears unlikely to return to the days when the sector appeared to have an unending appetite for drilling and fraccing new wells with companies flagging that growing production for growth’s sake is a mistake and that they would return more cash to shareholders.

However, any significant increase in oil prices is likely to tempt producers to start increasing production, which could in turn result in prices dropping as supply outstrips demand.

$US60 a barrel appears to be a comfortable point for both OPEC+ and US shale oil producers and it’s not a stretch to say that it will stay at this level in the current economic environment.
 

Hedge funds exiting oil

With oil exposed to price pressures, hedge funds sold the equivalent of 35 million barrels (MMbbl) in the six most important petroleum futures and options contracts in the week to April 6.

Reuters reported that according to records published by ICE Futures Europe and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the combined position of hedge funds slashed from 913MMbbl on March 16 to 799MMbbl.

Despite this reduction, hedge funds are still bullish about the outlook for oil prices with long positions outnumbering bearish short ones by a ratio of 5.2:1.
 

Oil Search identity crisis

Meanwhile, oil and liquefied natural gas producer Oil Search (ASX:OSH) is facing pressure from institutional investors to change its name, which prominently features a fossil fuel, on concerns that it doesn’t reflect global climate change efforts.

Oil Search was one of the first ASX companies to align its reporting with the Taskforce on Climate Related Financial Disclosures and has committed to net zero emissions by 2050.

However, it is still very much focused on its LNG operations in Papua New Guinea and is currently developing an oil project in Alaska’s North Slope.

Other oil and gas majors have rebranded in the past include Norwegian state oil company Statoil, which became Equinor to mark its shift away from fossil fuels.
 

Here’s how a basket of ASX stocks with exposure to oil, gas, uranium and coal are performing>>>

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort. Best viewed on a laptop:

CODE COMPANY Price 1 MONTH RETURN % 6 MONTH RETURN % 1 YEAR RETURN % 1 WEEK RETURN % MARKET CAP
OXX Octanex Ltd 0.074 393 469 957 335 $ 10,927,072.80
LIO Lion Energy Limited 0.065 150 282 282 132 $ 5,807,250.12
OEX Oilex Ltd 0.0055 120 175 175 83 $ 27,934,601.81
OEL Otto Energy Limited 0.0135 69 35 170 50 $ 67,130,136.82
TPD Talon Petroleum Ltd 0.0115 44 229 1050 44 $ 58,558,520.25
ANA Ansila Energy 0.03 36 -17 275 30 $ 59,192,708.03
PVE Po Valley Energy Ltd 0.038 27 36 -14 27 $ 24,596,871.91
BNL Blue Star Helium Ltd 0.043 19 5 975 26 $ 51,788,642.43
TOE Toro Energy Limited 0.024 9 85 243 26 $ 70,892,734.06
ENX Enegex Limited 0.13 128 57 2945 24 $ 17,988,255.13
PRM Prominence Energy NL 0.017 42 183 119 21 $ 9,677,724.58
EXR Elixir Energy Ltd 0.42 42 211 2000 20 $ 323,999,228.00
IPB IPB Petroleum Ltd 0.038 19 12 192 19 $ 10,900,484.98
STX Strike Energy Ltd 0.39 28 37 200 18 $ 671,710,570.05
TER Terracom Ltd 0.093 6 -45 4 16 $ 69,331,901.96
GRV Greenvale Mining Ltd 0.18 0 267 1140 16 $ 63,927,620.42
TEK Thorney Tech Ltd 0.41 14 19 111 14 $ 148,335,172.64
DEV Devex Resources Ltd 0.29 35 -13 353 14 $ 79,143,075.20
HCD Hydrocarbon Dynamic 0.025 19 11 34 14 $ 11,007,252.65
BKY Berkeley Energia Ltd 0.63 -1 -8 306 13 $ 163,158,597.00
BAS Bass Oil Ltd 0.0045 125 350 200 13 $ 13,368,560.38
AFR African Energy Res 0.019 6 -10 -5 12 $ 11,836,251.97
BMN Bannerman Resources 0.145 12 314 282 12 $ 166,479,288.92
MCE Matrix C & E Ltd 0.15 3 -6 -39 11 $ 15,348,214.35
WGO Warrego Energy Ltd 0.25 11 2 100 11 $ 251,729,777.49
ADX ADX Energy Ltd 0.011 22 83 175 10 $ 27,634,876.19
TOU Tlou Energy Ltd 0.061 -22 33 -7 9 $ 36,612,141.38
CVN Carnarvon Petroleum 0.29 3 25 85 8 $ 469,613,975.10
MHC Manhattan Corp Ltd 0.015 -17 -59 275 7 $ 22,894,180.40
NAE New Age Exploration 0.015 25 -21 650 7 $ 18,902,915.11
PKO Peako Limited 0.03 25 -9 192 7 $ 5,761,625.31
SXY Senex Energy Limited 3.16 4 20 126 7 $ 578,075,214.15
ERA Energy Resources 0.24 26 55 55 7 $ 885,931,967.52
HZN Horizon Oil Limited 0.093 4 58 58 6 $ 118,779,246.20
COE Cooper Energy Ltd 0.285 -5 -20 -40 6 $ 464,842,439.93
ACB A-Cap Energy Ltd 0.065 28 220 540 5 $ 55,800,631.42
CXU Cauldron Energy Ltd 0.043 16 23 126 5 $ 19,435,979.02
KAR Karoon Energy Ltd 1.12 -5 28 106 4 $ 625,620,457.99
PEN Peninsula Energy Ltd 0.125 19 98 8 4 $ 102,735,436.88
FZR Fitzroy River Corp 0.14 17 10 -18 4 $ 15,113,595.14
YAL Yancoal Aust Ltd 2.28 -3 15 9 3 $ 3,010,601,916.36
CUE CUE Energy Resource 0.068 3 -60 -14 3 $ 48,170,260.68
GAS State GAS Limited 0.575 8 -12 47 3 $ 99,493,575.38
WHC Whitehaven Coal 1.76 6 79 -12 3 $ 1,817,453,848.32
GLL Galilee Energy Ltd 0.73 -19 4 15 2 $ 219,969,114.22
SMR Stanmore Coal Ltd 0.76 -1 -3 -21 2 $ 213,621,009.39
VMY Vimy Resources Ltd 0.14 20 317 293 2 $ 105,120,054.32
BOE Boss Energy Ltd 0.15 2 127 173 2 $ 330,350,064.37
COI Comet Ridge Limited 0.069 1 -22 15 1 $ 53,011,185.17
VEA Viva Energy Group 1.75 0 4 26 1 $ 2,837,482,211.96
DYL Deep Yellow Limited 0.655 1 102 185 1 $ 199,973,409.23
WPL Woodside Petroleum 24.15 -4 32 11 1 $ 23,443,898,626.38
ORG Origin Energy 4.67 0 7 -8 0 $ 8,330,528,365.83
2BE Tubi Limited 0.049 -6 -28 -52 0 $ 15,254,032.17
ABL Abilene Oil & Gas 0.001 0 0 0 0 $ 397,614.35
ADD Adavale Resource Ltd 0.048 -4 50 182 0 $ 13,767,071.76
AEE Aura Energy 0.043 0 0 33 0 $ 8,524,744.18
AGE Alligator Energy 0.017 42 183 750 0 $ 37,702,691.71
ATS Australis Oil & Gas 0.05 -2 100 52 0 $ 59,898,182.45
AUH Austchina Holdings 0.011 -8 267 450 0 $ 17,975,367.97
BLZ Blaze International 0.026 -7 -32 271 0 $ 6,825,000.00
BUY Bounty Oil & Gas NL 0.018 -22 13 200 0 $ 19,735,217.68
CCJ County International 0.004 0 0 0 0 $ 960,000.03
CE1 Calima Energy 0.01 0 43 150 0 $ 22,071,241.12
CRM Carbon Minerals Ltd 0.37 14 -26 23 0 $ 6,957,292.41
DOR Doriemus PLC 0.062 -2 48 130 0 $ 3,594,953.75
E2E Eon Nrg Ltd 0.001 0 0 0 0 $ 769,888.93
EER East Energy Resource 0.036 0 0 800 0 $ 115,235,533.26
FAR FAR Ltd 0.011 0 0 -31 0 $ 109,767,132.17
FDM Freedom Oil Gas 0.011 0 0 0 0 $ 11,847,248.07
HPR High Peak Royalties 0.07 0 17 17 0 $ 13,226,947.93
KLR Kaili Resources Ltd 0.026 0 -35 -28 0 $ 3,832,409.44
LKO Lakes Blue Energy 0.0015 0 0 0 0 $ 50,515,629.72
MAY Melbana Energy Ltd 0.025 9 108 733 0 $ 57,921,285.30
MEU Marmota Limited 0.042 -7 -18 17 0 $ 42,615,482.36
MMR Mec Resources 0.004 0 0 0 0 $ 2,737,819.70
NSE New Standard Energy 0.004 0 0 0 0 $ 3,554,995.46
PDN Paladin Energy Ltd 0.4 -11 241 460 0 $ 1,036,811,431.60
PGY Pilot Energy Ltd 0.082 0 148 583 0 $ 17,905,770.76
PNL Paringa Resources 0.041 0 0 0 0 $ 25,944,078.11
PSA Petsec Energy 0.021 0 0 0 0 $ 8,580,346.40
RES Resource Generation 0.064 0 3 -2 0 $ 37,208,341.63
RMP Red Emperor Resource 0.017 0 21 113 0 $ 8,929,977.19
SAN Sagalio Energy Ltd 0.037 68 85 1750 0 $ 7,572,424.81
TNP Triple Energy Ltd 0.025 0 25 213 0 $ 1,799,901.35
VEN Vintage Energy 0.064 10 10 40 0 $ 38,739,574.21
WEC White Energy Company 0.135 29 13 133 0 $ 104,554,627.07
STO Santos Ltd 7.11 -2 41 54 0 $ 14,852,260,872.33
ALD Ampol Limited 24.38 2 -1 1 -1 $ 5,838,401,425.50
LAM Laramide Res Ltd 0.63 5 80 152 -1 $ 749,961.45
BPT Beach Energy Limited 1.69 -4 20 13 -1 $ 3,901,080,551.76
MRM MMAOffShor 0.325 -3 -11 -44 -2 $ 118,578,317.88
WOR Worley Limited 10.41 -5 -1 45 -2 $ 5,471,331,621.44
VMX Valmec Limited 0.295 2 69 64 -2 $ 36,506,132.35
OSH Oil Search Ltd 4.02 -9 41 49 -2 $ 8,415,295,189.20
EEG Empire Energy Ltd 0.35 1 -15 100 -3 $ 113,379,694.40
BRU Buru Energy 0.17 31 110 81 -3 $ 75,612,992.18
ZEL Z Energy Ltd. 2.5 0 -1 -13 -3 $ 1,322,011,206.62
REY REY Resources Ltd 0.28 4 40 30 -3 $ 59,343,474.96
NHC New Hope Corporation 1.33 -2 2 -10 -4 $ 1,123,682,060.70
JPR Jupiter Energy 0.046 -4 5 1050 -4 $ 7,208,751.57
NZO New Zealand Oil&Gas 0.4 -8 -43 -11 -5 $ 65,772,287.20
EPM Eclipse Metals 0.02 -5 122 300 -5 $ 33,439,180.44
MEY Marenica Energy Ltd 0.14 2 48 185 -5 $ 29,102,004.54
WEL Winchester Energy 0.019 -24 -41 -10 -5 $ 13,820,897.74
EME Energy Metals Ltd 0.185 42 68 106 -5 $ 38,791,412.72
CTP Central Petroleum 0.13 4 8 63 -5 $ 94,132,175.93
TDO 3D Oil Limited 0.065 18 12 44 -6 $ 18,563,186.04
AJQ Armour Energy Ltd 0.032 -20 7 -20 -6 $ 50,483,931.96
LCK Leigh Crk Energy Ltd 0.16 -3 78 52 -6 $ 108,106,042.88
BYE Byron Energy Ltd 0.145 -6 -19 -6 -6 $ 150,842,789.79
BRK Brookside Energy Ltd 0.027 17 440 800 -7 $ 67,766,400.00
GGE Grand Gulf Energy 0.013 0 63 333 -7 $ 4,988,743.21
GEV Global Ene Ven Ltd 0.087 -3 58 4 -7 $ 40,690,640.07
EDE Eden Inv Ltd 0.036 0 44 0 -8 $ 70,646,979.83
POW Protean Energy Ltd 0.012 -20 42 420 -8 $ 8,457,968.52
TSC Twenty Seven Co. Ltd 0.0055 -15 -21 10 -8 $ 12,771,309.89
IVZ Invictus Energy Ltd 0.155 48 150 869 -9 $ 83,294,065.05
TMK Tamaska Oil Gas Ltd 0.01 11 67 67 -9 $ 9,400,000.00
HE8 Helios Energy Ltd 0.14 -3 -13 33 -10 $ 230,223,318.64
MEL Metgasco Ltd 0.026 -4 28 51 -10 $ 14,290,885.02
IEC Intra Energy Corp 0.008 0 -11 60 -11 $ 3,101,792.24
KEY KEY Petroleum 0.004 0 -33 100 -11 $ 7,871,712.50
MCM Mc Mining Ltd 0.115 -8 5 -43 -12 $ 17,758,248.83
ICN Icon Energy Limited 0.015 -21 -21 150 -12 $ 7,768,890.19
KKO Kinetiko Energy Ltd 0.11 -12 53 450 -12 $ 64,698,777.55
TEG Triangle Energy Ltd 0.029 12 -17 -6 -12 $ 18,002,140.95
WBE Whitebark Energy 0.0035 -13 17 -25 -13 $ 14,220,939.43
RNU Renascor Res Ltd 0.1 14 809 1329 -13 $ 174,910,032.57
PH2 Pure Hydrogen Corp 0.215 -43 203 330 -14 $ 66,514,523.77
NWE Norwest Energy NL 0.006 0 50 100 -14 $ 32,977,382.17
ZEU Zeus Resources Ltd 0.028 -7 27 460 -15 $ 5,044,200.00
FPL Fremont Petroleum 0.005 0 67 67 -17 $ 23,392,562.60
PCL Pancontinental Oil 0.0025 25 150 150 -17 $ 18,020,146.46
GLV Global Oil & Gas 0.024 -4 50 138 -17 $ 18,327,525.72
NGY Nuenergy Gas Ltd 0.041 -7 242 273 -18 $ 72,566,819.35
ROG Red Sky Energy. 0.011 267 560 1220 -21 $ 50,945,644.17
IKW Ikwezi Mining Ltd 0.22 -45 -45 10 -21 $ 8,942,994.28
GGX Gas2Grid Limited 0.0045 29 80 200 -25 $ 10,007,755.20
XST Xstate Resources 0.005 -67 67 233 -62 $ 13,447,937.58
88E 88 Energy Ltd 0.0265 141 342 279 -64 $ 313,052,260.78
SGC Sacgasco Ltd 0.029 -68 -28 142 -64 $ 14,313,261.21

 

Small cap energy plays

Lion Energy (ASX:LIO) +132%

Shares in the company surged after it reported a 203 per cent increase in proved and probable reserves for the Oseil oil field to 4.37MMbbl (Lion’s share 0.109MMbbl).

In addition, a volumetric assessment on the Lofin gas field has indicated best recoverable contingent resources at 1,450 billion cubic feet (Bcf), or about 36.3Bcf for Lion.

Oilex (ASX:OEX) +83%

With the receipt of all necessary approvals from the Indian Government, the sale of Oilex’s 40 per cent interest in the Bhandut production sharing contract (PSC) is now complete.

It will now receive $US0.29m in cash as proceeds for the sale of its stake in the PSC.

The buyer Kiri has expressed an interest in engaging the services of Oilex’s office on a contract basis to review field production, stabilise operations, and initiate field re-development of the Bhandut PSC.

Last week, the company noted that its SUS$2.2m purchase of GSPC’s 55 per cent participating interest in the Cambay PSC in India has been approved.

Po Valley Energy (ASX:PVE) +27%

Environmental approval has been received for the Selva Malvezzi and Teodorico natural gas field production concessions in Italy.

This paves the way for the grant of full production licences for both fields with the company to prepare and submit required documentation during the current quarter.

Selva Malvezzi will be developed through the installation of a fully automated gas plant at the existing Selva/Podere Maiar 1dir well site and a 1km pipeline to connect the well with the Italian gas grid.

The field is designed to produce up to 5.3 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.

Peninsula Energy (ASX:PEN) +4%

On the uranium front, Peninsula’s test modifications to the MU1A low-pH field demonstration at its flagship Lance project in Wyoming have delivered favourable results.

These results include improved response times, target pH levels close to being achieved and an increase in uranium within the recovery solution.

The company has now activated the pilot ion exchange uranium recovery circuit and will continue technical evaluations related to the potential for application of membrane separation systems to enhance resin performance, which could reduce downstream processing and operating costs.