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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: BP plc, Petrobras, Statoil ASA, Eni SpA and Nissan Motor

CHICAGO, Dec. 28, 2011 /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 BP plc (NYSE: BP), Petrobras (NYSE: PBR), Statoil ASA (NYSE: STO), Eni SpA (NYSE: E) and Nissan Motor Co. (OTC: NSANY).

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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

3 European Firms Strike Angola Deal

With the aim of expanding individual footing in the energy sector of South Africa, three European oil biggies entered into three different deals with Sonangol, the National Fuel Company of Angola, to explore the undeveloped pre-salt offshore acreage.

London, England-based BP plc (NYSE: BP) received access to five more deepwater exploration and production blocks offshore Angola, netting a total of nine blocks. BP and Sonangol also inked production sharing contracts (PSCs) for four new blocks in the Kwanza and Benguela basins.

BP, with a 50% interest, will act as the operator for Blocks 19 and 24, while it holds non-operating interests of 20% in Block 20 and 15% in Block 25. Additionally, the company acquired a 40% stake in Block 26 and signed a farm-in deal with the operator, Petrobras (NYSE: PBR).

Another integrated oil and gas behemoth, Statoil ASA (NYSE: STO) won operating rights for Blocks 38 and 39, with 55% interest in both. The company also received 20% partnership interests in Blocks 22, 25 and 40. These blocks are located in the pre-salt play of Kwanza Basin.

Norway-based Statoil's work commitment involves 3D seismic acquisition spanning 7,104.3 square miles. The company will also be engaged with the development of Sonangol's Research and Technology Center, social projects and training programs for Sonangol employees.

Italian firm Eni SpA (NYSE: E) inked a PSC with state-controlled Sonangol for the drilling of deepwater offshore Block 35 in northern Kwanza Basin. The block will be operated by Eni (30% stake), while partners Sonangol and Repsol Exploracion SA will hold a respective interest of 45% and 25%.      

The scope of the contract offers exploration of two wells at pre-salt plays and the acquisition of a 3D seismic survey of 965.3 square miles.

Angolahas vast untapped reserves of oil and gas, which are attracting investors from across the globe. With the help of technological expertise and skilled manpower extended by the above alliance, exploration activities are expected to yield a high success rate. Development of the southwest African nation's energy industry will also aid in fulfilling the growing domestic demand for fuel and minimize the dependence on imports. 

We are maintaining Neutral ratings on BP, Statoil and Eni for the long term.

Nissan Makes 3rd December Recall

Nissan Motor Co. (OTC: NSANY) recalled new sets of vehicles for the third time in December due to safety issues. The recall included 14,000 units of 2011 Infiniti FX, 2012 Infiniti M, and the 2011-2012 Nissan Frontier, Xterra, Pathfinder and NV due to faulty engine bolts.

The company has revealed that the defective bolts in the vehicles may break, leading to oil leaks and engine failure. It has begun the investigation on the vehicles, manufactured between June and September this year, after receiving several reports of bolts breaking.

Earlier in the month, Nissan announced that it would recall 34,000 units of Sentra compact cars due to a problem with their battery cables, causing the engines to stall. The recall included 2010 and 2011 model year vehicles that are equipped with MR-20 engines and manufactured between May 11, 2010 and May 22, 2010, and July 8, 2010 and October 25, 2010.

It also announced to recall 28,294 units of Juke small crossover SUVs due to a problem with their turbocharger boost sensor bracket that can break free from an air inlet tube resulting from a defective welding. The problem could cause the vehicle to stall that may lead to a crash.

The 2011 model year Jukes were manufactured between April 9, 2010 and May 12, 2011. Nissan has decided to check the brackets and replace them free of charge if necessary. It will start recalling the vehicles from January 9, 2012.

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