LONDON -- Oil prices look set to drift sideways until the U.S. presidential election is over, judging by their performance this week. Brent crude on the December contract was down by 0.45% on the week at $108.54 per barrel shortly after U.S. markets opened today, while WTI crude gained slightly, opening higher by 1.1% on the week at $86.55.
U.S. natural gas for December delivery fell through the week and was down by 2.9% at $3.62 per MMBtu when U.S. markets opened today.
Many investors prefer to invest in commodity ETFs, rather than directly in futures, and the United States Oil Fund
The nature of oil and gas companies' businesses means that they can succeed or fail regardless of oil prices. This week's risers have all outperformed the price of oil by a big margin this week.
FTSE 100 member Tullow Oil gained 2.7% today and has gained 14% over the last three months, thanks to continued production growth and its second confirmed oil find in Kenya so far this year. Drilling is still ongoing at the Twiga South-1 well, and Tullow has not yet specified the size of the find, but results are expected later this month, after which Tullow will flow-test its first Kenyan oil discovery, which could trigger further gains.
Ithaca Energy has climbed 10.5% to 125 pence this week after gaining two new licenses for North Sea exploration blocks that offer the potential for significant expansion. One block is close to Ithaca's Athena field, which is already in production, while the second of the new blocks is close to Ithaca's Hurricane oil discovery, which the company believes offers similar prospects.
Oil supermajor BP has gained almost 3% to 445 pence this week after releasing a strong third-quarter update. Underlying replacement-cost profit for the quarter rose by 40% to $5.2 billion, and the company hiked its quarterly dividend by 12.5% to 9 cents a share, providing an additional attraction for yield-hungry income investors. The report also comes just a week after BP confirmed it had agreed to sell its troublesome stake in Russian joint venture TNK-BP to Rosneft in a deal that will leave BP with $12.3 billion in cash and a 19.75% interest in Rosneft.
Oil and gas shares are always volatile, and this week's winners could be next week's losers. 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." It's completely free and includes details of how to pick winning shares and structure your portfolio to maximize your gains and minimize your risks. Hurry, though -- this new report will only be available for a limited time, so download it today.
Are you looking to profit as a long-term investor? "10 Steps To Making A Million In The Market" is the latest Motley Fool guide to help Britain invest. Better. We urge you to read the report today -- while it's still free and available.
Further investment opportunities:
Roland does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.