April 22 (Bloomberg) -- Underwater oil and gas field mapping companies, including Electromagnetic GeoServices ASA and Spectrum ASA, advanced in Oslo trading as Pareto Securities ASA said increased vessel demand is boosting earnings.
Shares in EMGS, which uses electromagnetic technology to search for oil and gas under the seabed, gained the most in more than a week, while Spectrum, a seismic surveyor which last week reported better than expected earnings, rose the most since January.
“The seismic market continues to be robust with a favorable supply/demand balance and improving rates,” Pareto analysts Kristian Diesen and Steffen Roedsjoe said in a note today. A “modest” growth in vessel supply during the next two years and an expected rebound in oil prices in the second half means companies in the industry now offer an “attractive” investment opportunity, particularly with valuations at a four-year low, they wrote.
The global seismic survey business, which uses ships to search for the possible location of petroleum reserves under the seabed, is betting on rising demand as oil and gas producers operating in the waters off Africa, Norway and South America increase spending on exploration. With established fields maturing and new resources harder to find, demand is also growing for newer vessels equipped with the latest technology.
Pareto sees day rates of $300,000 for 2013, $350,000 in 2014, and $375,000 for 2015, the broker said.
“We find the current valuation of the sector attractive” and Petroleum Geo-Services ASA, Dolphin Group AS and Polarcus Ltd. are its top picks, Pareto said. “We upgrade EMGS to hold from sell and lower our target price to 9.5 kroner a share from 10 kroner on lower estimates.”
EMGS, based in Trondheim, traded 1.7 percent higher as of 9:45 a.m. local time, Spectrum rose 10 percent and Polarcus advanced 1.5 percent.
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