Energy stocks were sharply higher this afternoon, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index rising 3.2% while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF (XLE) was up 3.8%. The Philadelphia Oil-Service Sector index was posting a 4.7% advance and the Dow Jones US Utilities Index was adding 0.7%.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil was rising $2.50 to $94.43 per barrel while North Sea Brent crude was advancing $2.26 to $99.66 per barrel. Henry Hub natural gas futures were $0.46 higher at $8.66 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, Golar LNG (GLNG) gained 8.3% after reporting Q2 net income of $230 million, down from $471.4 million a year ago, and operating revenue of $67.2 million, up from $65.3 million last year.
Earthstone Energy (ESTE) rose 4.8% after late Wednesday closing on its purchase of assets in the northern Delaware Basin in New Mexico, paying $575 million in cash and issuing 3.9 million common shares to former owners Titus Oil & Gas. Earthstone also said it has secured a $300 million increase to its secured borrowing base to $1.7 billion.
Vaalco Energy (EGY) rose 3.5% after reporting non-GAAP Q2 net income of $0.52 per share, up from $0.14 a year ago, while oil and natural gas sales increased more than 136% over year-ago levels, reaching $111 million and beating the single-analyst call expecting $107.1 million in revenue for the June quarter.