Small Gains for Energy Stocks

Energy stocks were edging higher today, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index rising about 0.3% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were up about 0.1% as a group. Crude oil for February delivery was up about 17 cents at $53.23 per barrel while January natural gas futures were 12 cents lower at $3.27 per 1 million BTU.

In company news, Willbros Group (WG) shares rose Tuesday after the oilfield-services company late yesterday said its Canadian subsidiary has won a pair of contract awards worth a combined $87 million.

As previously disclosed, the company’s construction and maintenance unit recently formalized a master service agreement providing for a five-year extension beginning in February of its existing maintenance pact in the oil sands region of northern Alberta.

The subsidiary also received a new contract to build a 48-inch pipeline stretching about five miles for the same client. That work will start in January and should be completed by next September, the company said.  WG shares were up almost 5% at $3.22 each, staying within three cents of their intra-day high.

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