Here’s why the AWE Limited share price surged higher today

The share price of AWE Limited (ASX: AWE) has skyrocketed today, lifting almost 39% to 50 cents. That represents a gain of more than 61% since Thursday last week when the shares hit a low of 31 cents, and puts them on the same level as their price at the beginning of the year.

So What: With a market value of roughly $263 million based on its current price, AWE Limited is a junior energy producer. Like most others in the sector, the company’s shares have been hit hard as a result of the plummeting oil prices and have fallen almost 75% since September 2014.

Investors were relieved after the company issued an update today however, announcing that it was selling its 10% interest in the Sugarloaf shale oil project in Texas. It will receive US$190 million, or roughly AU$271 million in cash proceeds which it will put towards repaying debt.

It had $169.8 million of long-term debt on its balance sheet as at 30 June 2015, but said it would be in a net cash position of around $60 million by the end of March this year, relieving pressure on the group’s balance sheet.

The company’s CEO, Bruce Clement, said: “The sale of the Sugarloaf asset for AUD 271 million is an excellent outcome for AWE and demonstrates the Company’s proactive approach to portfolio management and its ability to consistently deliver significant value, even in a low oil price environment.”

AWE will now divert its attention to the Waitsia gas project in Western Australia. It will also provide investors with a revised guidance at its half-year results announcement on 24 February.

Now What: Although the price of oil has rebounded above US$31 a barrel again, it seems investors are lacking the confidence that it will actually stay that way. Shares across the sector are falling hard again today, including Woodside Petroleum Limited (ASX: WPL) and Origin Energy Ltd (ASX: ORG) which are down 1.6% and 3.6% respectively.

Personally, I think there is too great a risk that oil prices will continue to fall, and I will continue to avoid the sector as a result.

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Motley Fool contributor Ryan Newman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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