Energy stocks were sharply higher, with the NYSE Energy Sector Index climbing over 1.9% while shares of energy companies in the S&P 500 were up nearly 2.2% as a group. Crude oil for April delivery was down 10 cents at $53.91 per barrel while April natural gas futures were a penny higher at $2.79 per 1 million BTU.
In company news, Kinder Morgan (KMI) was trending higher in mid-day trading after the energy infrastructure company late Tuesday said it sold a 49% ownership stake in the Elba Liquefaction Company to investment funds affiliated with EIG Global Energy Partners Investment Funds.
EIG Global already has made a $385 million upfront cash payment, reimbursing Kinder Morgan for its half of the project expenses so far and has committed to 49% of the additional costs for the $1.3 billion project. The liquefied natural gas facility on Elba Island near Savannah, Ga., once complete, will include 10 liquefaction units and other ancillary equipment near Morgan’s existing Southern LNG Company.
The expanded facility is expected to have a total capacity of around 2.5 million tons per year – equal to about 350 million cubic feet of natural gas – of LNG for export.
KMI shares were up more than 2% at $21.81 apiece, or just 4 cents under their session high.