Oil prices were on the move today, as investor optimism over the worldwide economy grew. At 5:00 pm ET on Tuesday, Brent crude was down 0.63% to $110.37 and WTI crude was down 0.22% to $96.83. U.S. natural gas was down 1.32% to $3.96.
Today's top 3
Among companies with market caps greater than $1 billion, today's oil and gas stocks leader was Seadrill Partners (NYSE:SDLP), up 3.02% to $28.27 on no new news. Seadrill Partners is not to be confused with its parent company, Seadrill (NYSE:SDRL), which created Seadrill Partners, a master limited partnership, last October in an effort to reap the tax savings that MLPs provide. Since its IPO, it's risen 14.61%. Management believes Seadrill Partners can be the fastest-growing MLP, stemming from the tailwinds it will enjoy as exploration and production companies move to explore ultra-deepwater locations. The company plans to pay a quarterly distribution. Its first was paid in February, at a rate of $0.2906 per unit for an annualized yield of 4.1%
Second among oil and gas stocks today was Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY), up 2.19% to $80.68. Over the weekend, there were reports of a battle going on between Chairman Ray Irani and CEO Stephen Chazen. At the last board meeting, it seems Irani made a move to push out Chazen. The board, in spite of some disagreements, ultimately decided to start a search process for a new CEO -- even though Chazen had no plans to leave. Investors are beginning to take sides on whether they want Chazen to stay or go, and perhaps whether Irani should instead go before his term is up in 2014.
And third today was CNOOC (NYSE:CEO), up 1.87% to $193.68. Earlier today Bloomberg reported that OPEC believes China will become the world's top crude oil importer by 2014. CNOOC, PetroChina (NYSE:PTR), and Sinopec have huge and growing domestic demand opportunities if they can fill them.
Find Dan Dzombak on Twitter, @DanDzombak, or on his Facebook page, DanDzombak. He has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Seadrill. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.