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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: BP, ConocoPhilips, Baker Hughes, Halliburton and Schlumberger

CHICAGO, Aug. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include the BP plc (NYSE:BP-Free Report), ConocoPhilips (NYSE:COP-Free Report), Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE:BHI-Free Report), Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL-Free Report) and Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE:SLB-Free Report).

Zacks Investment Research, Inc., www.zacks.com.

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Here are highlights from Thursday's Analyst Blog:

U.S. Puts 400K Acres of GoM Offshore Energy on Tap

Power hungry U.S. is expanding its domestic presence to tap offshore oil resources. This is a prudent move considering the U.S. agency of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) assessment that the deep water space oil production is predicted to grow 12% annually till 2030. The agency also expects the majority of action in the deep water space 2015 onward.

Keeping this in mind, the federal government has ventured to sell more than 400,000 acres in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) off the Texas coast for oil and gas exploration and development. The acreage represents a fraction of 21.6 million acres the agency had offered as part of the Obama administration's five-year program to aggressively develop resources on the Outer Continental Shelf. Offerings since 2012 in the western Gulf attracted buyers for about 60 million offshore acres, adding about $2.3 billion to the U.S. Treasury.

Per BOEM's western GoM Deputy Director Michael Celata the sale, if approved, will bring in about $110 million. Bidders must prove their financial capacity to complete the sale, assure continued participation and submit exploration and development plans within 90 days to close the purchase process.

Of the energy behemoths, BP plc (NYSE:BP-Free Report) submitted the largest number of bids, winning 27 of the 81 tracts that were sold. It was the first sale in the western Gulf that BP participated in since the Environmental Protection Agency barred the company in Dec 2012 from bidding on U.S. contracts for 16 months in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and oil spill in 2010. ConocoPhilips (NYSE:COP-Free Report) also dished out considerable money in the fray, paying about $61 million for a single tract in the ultra-deep-water Alaminos Canyon area.

All this focus on hydraulic fracturing activity, which is projected to grow in the western Gulf of Mexico by more than 10% in 2014, will greatly benefit oilfield services providers like Baker Hughes Inc. (NYSE:BHI-Free Report), Halliburton Co. (NYSE:HAL-Free Report) and Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE:SLB-Free Report).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Get #1Stock of the Day pick for free.

About Zacks Equity Research

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.

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