Energy stocks were ending moderately lower Wednesday afternoon, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index dropping 0.5% while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF (XLE) was down 0.4%. The Philadelphia Oil-Service Sector index was falling 2.2%, and the Dow Jones US Utilities Index was slipping 0.7%.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled $2.01 lower at $72.24 per barrel after the Energy Information Administration Wednesday said commercial inventories dropped by 5.2 million barrels during the seven days ended Dec. 2 compared with market expectations for a 3.3 million-barrel decline last week.
North Sea Brent crude also was sliding $2.01 to $77.34 per barrel while Henry Hub natural gas futures rose $0.37 to $5.84 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, TotalEnergies (TTE) fell 1.6% on Wednesday. The French energy major reportedly expects to bury almost 1 million tons of carbon dioxide annually at its Papua liquified natural gas project in Papua New Guinea. The carbon capture and storage operation is expected to come online at the same time the French energy major and its partners begin production in late 2027, according to a Reuters report.
Clean Energy Fuels (CLNE) declined almost 1% after saying it has started supplying renewable natural gas for vehicles operated by the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.
NRG Energy (NRG) slid 4.8%, adding to a nearly 18% slide during the previous session, after UBS cut its stock rating for the power merchant company to sell from neutral and slashed its price target by $12 to $30. On Tuesday, NRG announced plans to acquire Vivint Smart Home (VVNT) for $2.8 billion in cash and also assuming $2.4 billion of Vivint debt.
To the upside, Westport Fuel Systems (WPRT) rose 2.2% after the alternative fuels technologies company said it was selected to supply liquefied petroleum gas for an unnamed vehicle manufacturer as it works to meet Euro 7 emission limits. Westport estimates the new contract will generate around 40 million euros yearly once production begins in early 2025.