Energy sector fires up as miners sag

Resources Corner

The energy sector fired up amid takeover action at the end of last week while mining sector was hit with more cost cutting, project suspensions and delays. 
 
Energy stocks jump after Aurora bid
 
Aurora Oil & Gas Limited’s (ASX:AUT) stock shot up 56 per cent after the oil and gas producer scored a $1.84 billion takeover bid on February 7, 2014. Canadian miner Baytex Energy has offered Aurora $4.10 per share in a move geared to expanding its US shale portfolio. 
 
Fellow energy stocks such as AWE Limited (ASX:AWE) and Buru Energy Limited (ASX:BRU) also got a boost after the offer was revealed while Sundance Energy Australia Limited (ASX:SEA), Antares Energy Limited(ASX:AZZ) and Lonestar Resources Limited (ASX:LNR) gained more than 11 per cent on the day of the bid. 
 
Reports have suggested Aurora could be headed for a possible takeover tussle if rival bidders emerge ahead of the proposal going to a shareholder vote in late April or early May.
 
Woodside eyes Israel’s natural gas
 
Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX:WPL) has inked a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with its joint venture partners to buy a stake in the Levathian gas project in Israel. Australia’s second-largest oil producer says the MOU provides a framework for it to negotiate the purchase of a 25 per cent interest in two petroleum licences from Israel’s largest natural gas field.
 
Mining services suffering 
 
Bradken Limited’s (ASX:BKN) stock slumped after the mining services group reported a fall in its first half net profit and sales revenue. The company said the results were impacted by a particularly challenging period but forecast second half sales to improve as mine production levels increase. 
 
Forge Group Limited (ASX:FGE) entered into a trading halt as it warned its financiers have withdrawn support. The embattled mining services group last month warned it expects its annual earnings to fall into the red amid challenging domestic market conditions, rising cost and margin pressures.  
 
Mining suspensions and delays
 
Paladin Energy Limited (ASX:PDN) has suspended production at its Kayelekera Mine in Malawi until it can be resumed on a profitable basis. The uranium producer plans to put the operation on care and maintenance until a sustained price recovery occurs. 
 
Asciano Limited (ASX:AIO) has flagged delays for the redevelopment of Port Botany. The coal haulage operator says equipment manufactured for the project sustained damage when a significant storm hit the carrier sailing from Europe to Australia.
 
BHP continues cost cutting
 
BHP Billiton Limited’s (ASX:BHP) Mitsubishi Alliance has flagged about 230 job cuts at its Saraji Coal Mine in central Queensland. Australia’s largest mining company’s coking coal joint venture with Mitsubishi says it is putting the cost-cutting measures in place to guarantee the mine’s future viability.