SOURCE: Paragon Financial Limited

Paragon Financial Limited

August 20, 2012 08:20 ET

Oil Prices Rally to the Highest Level in Three Months -- EIA Raises Forecasts for 2012 Oil Prices

The Paragon Report Provides Stock Research on Enerplus and Forest Oil

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Aug 20, 2012) - Oil and gas stocks have stagnated in 2012 as the recent economic slowdown in Europe and China has created a less than favorable demand outlook for crude. The SPDR S&P Oil & Gas Exploration & Production ETF (XOP) year-to-date has gained just over 2 percent. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Oil & Gas Industry and provides equity research on Enerplus Corp. (NYSE: ERF) (TSX: ERF) and Forest Oil Corporation (NYSE: FST).

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Despite weak global demand oil prices have gained nearly a third during the last six weeks. At the beginning of the week Brent crude prices hit $115 per barrel, the highest it's been in the last three months. Since the end of June Brent crude prices have rebounded roughly 30 percent. The EIA earlier this month raised its forecasts for 2012 oil prices. West Texas Intermediate crude is now projected to average $93.90, up from the previous estimate of $92.83, while Brent crude was increased to $108.07 a barrel from $106.

"The market is decoupling from fundamentals," said Carsten Fritsch, an analyst at Germany's Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "Much of the strength is based on factors -- such as more U.S. economic stimulus -- that are far from guaranteed."

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Enerplus is a North American energy producer with a diversified asset base of oil and gas assets that offer both a stable cash flow stream as well as growth potential. Total crude oil volumes increased by 7% in the second quarter over the first quarter, with light oil production from Fort Berthold increasing by almost 35%. Total crude oil and natural gas liquids now represent 49% of their production volumes, a 6% increase over the second quarter of 2011.

Forest Oil Corporation is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development, and production of natural gas and liquids in the United States and selected international locations. Forest's principal reserves and producing properties are located in the United States in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.

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