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LONDON -- Oil prices have put in a strong performance this week, with Brent Crude ending the week at above $112 per barrel. U.S. benchmark WTI Crude rose strongly through to Thursday but lost most of its gains when markets opened on Friday, leaving it trading at just over $92.
Natural gas prices have been weaker, but still look set to end the week slightly higher, with natural gas on the September contract trading at around $2.85/mmbtu on Friday morning.
The strong oil price has provided gains for investors in the United States Oil Fund (NYSE: USO ) , which was up by 1.4% on the week when markets opened on Friday, having lost most of the week's gains overnight. The United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSE: UNG ) also opened lower on Friday morning, and was down 1.5% on the week.
Strong oil prices always help lift oil and gas shares, but this week has seen some junior oil and gas shares manage to outperform the market by a big margin. Here are three of this week's top climbers:
Heritage Oil (LSE: HOIL.L )
Heritage Oil surged 25% to 153 pence this week as its listing suspension was lifted following full details of a new rights issue to pay for the company's OML 30 acquisition in Nigeria. The deal should provide Heritage with substantial producing assets to complement its exploration activities in Kurdistan.
Falkland Oil & Gas (LSE: FOGL.L )
Falkland Oil & Gas climbed 15% to 86 pence this week, after details of a second farm-out deal with U.S. company Noble Energy were announced. Falkland also reported it had begun drilling operations on its first well, Loligo. The new farm-out deal with Noble means Falkland should have cash of $200 million remaining after it completes its first two exploration wells.
BowLeven (LSE: BLVN.L )
BowLeven rose by 10% to 68 pence this week. On Tuesday, the Financial Times reported rumors that a farm-out deal might be imminent on the company's Bomono Permit in Cameroon. BowLeven has not provided an update on its operations since April.
Small oil and gas shares are always volatile, yet this week's gains could be just the start of some long-term upside. To learn more about how to select oil and gas shares with the potential to deliver outstanding multibagging profits, I strongly recommend you download the latest special free report from the Motley Fool, "How To Unearth Great Oil & Gas Shares".
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