Market Report: Oils slide as Tullow team draws a blank

A dry well off the coast of French Guiana left shares in some of the FTSE 100's biggest oil groups looking seriously parched. Tullow Oil sank to the bottom of the blue-chip index, down 9 per cent, while Tullow's partners in the well development – Royal Dutch Shell, France's Total and AIM-listed Northern Petroleum and Wessex Exploration – were all knocked by the news.

The well is part of a four-well project that started last year after a discovery was made nearby in 2011. But this time, the group has not found significant hydrocarbons. Despite the well so far being dry, the team will now look to dig further in the hope of striking it rich in the French territory.

Derek Musgrove, the managing director of Northern, said that despite the lack of hydrocarbons "the oil staining encountered" in the well is "encouraging of the broader active hydrocarbon systems and potential". But the news shocked investors. Tullow lost 97.5p to 982.5p, Shell was 20.5p weaker at 2,147p. Northern declined 7.25p to 32p and Wessex tumbled 1.6p to 1.95p.

The decline of Shell didn't help the FTSE 100, which was already struggling as stocks went ex-dividend.

A gloomy outlook for the UK's economy from the IMF and poor results from supermarkets group Tesco, down 15.1p to 369.75p, pushed the benchmark index into negative territory for the fourth day in a row. The FTSE 100 lost another 60.37 points to 6244.21.

Marks & Spencer got plenty of attention after its director of lingerie, Janie Schaffer, quit suddenly on Tuesday but traders didn't seem too worried and the shares added 3.5p to 395p.

Reports in Germany of activity in the telecoms sector sent Vodafone down 0.65p to 189.25p. US group Liberty Global was rumoured to be interested in German-based Kabel Deutschland. This follows talk that Vodafone had itself been interested in the German group.

Iron ore producer BHP Billiton updated the market on third-quarter production but there were no changes to full-year guidance and shares lost 62.5p to 1,779p.

Fashion favourite Burberry was strutting its stuff towards the top of the table after a healthy second-quarter update, and its shares sashayed up 23p to 1,289p. Over on the mid-tier index, sparkling news from miner Petra Diamonds helped its shares gain 1.1p to 108.8p after it found a 25.5-carat fancy blue diamond at its Cullinan mine in South Africa.

The mine has had a good success rate in the past, and many of the stones in the Crown Jewels came from the mine. The "high-quality gem diamond of top colour" found this week could be similar to a stone sold at Sotheby's for $9.49m (£6.2m). Liberum Capital's analysts think "a similar sale would significantly enhance this year's performance" for Petra.

There was a bid update for Aim-listed, West Africa-focused Afferro Mining. The iron ore miner received an initial approach from investment group IMIC in December, and IMIC said it had approached Afferro with a number of options with an offer for as much as £147m.

Troubled credit-card protection group CPP (Card Protection Plan) has been in refinancing talks, and its founder and majority shareholder Hamish Ogston wants to take the group private. The company announced plans to sell the US business, which will net proceeds of "not less than £20m". That has allowed the group to extend its lending agreements with Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander until September.

But news of the £26.1m sale to American insurance group AMT Warranty Corp accompanied a share-price fall of 45.21 per cent – or 3.3p – to 4p. Mr Ogston, who owns 57.15 per cent of the group, made a 1p-a-share bid last month for the remaining capital in the group he floated in March 2010 at 235p.

He said he would consider buying the business if certain new conditions were met. These included a new three-year credit arrangement with lenders. Last year, a proposed offer from US group Affinion was withdrawn.

Meanwhile, Oxford-based drug discovery company Summit reported that it is on target to push forward its two clinical programmes following positive outcomes from a drug trial for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. The shares were 0.25p better off at 4.62p.

US onshore-focused oil group Magnolia Petroleum reported a fourfold increase in the value of total net reserves, and the shares gushed up 0.32p to 3.02p.

Suggested Topics
News
people
Sport
FootballGerman sparks three goals in four minutes at favourite No 10 role
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam