Harvest Natural Resources Inc., the Houston-based oil exploration company that has gained 30 percent in the past year, climbed the most in almost four years after announcing it found crude off the coast of Gabon.
Harvest rose $2.25, or 21 percent, to $12.76 at 10:49 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the largest price increase since June 18, 2007. Harvest had the largest gain today on the Russell 2000 Energy Index.
The oil was discovered in the Dussafu Ruche Marin-1 well in a block in which Harvest is the operator and holds a 67 percent interest, the company said in a statement today. Rig operator Transocean Ltd. began drilling in 280 feet (85 meters) of water on April 28. It has reached a vertical depth of 9,953 feet in the Upper Dentale Formation.
The company had estimated the well held 90 million barrels, Eric Hagen, an analyst with Lazard Capital Markets Ltd. in New York, said in a note to investors this morning. The find could add $10 to Harvest’s share price, he said.
The company didn’t release an updated estimate of the reserve potential of the discovery. Harvest said it will dig deeper to test the amount of oil in the well.
Stephen Haynes, the company’s chief financial officer, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message seeking comment.
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