* J.P. Morgan Cazenove adds Afren to European Analyst Focus
* J.P. Morgan raises price targets on Ophir, Tullow,
* Deutsche Bank starts Cairn, Lundin Petroleum, Africa Oil
* Deutsche Bank names Afren, Premier Oil as top sector picks
May 14 High oil prices and a busy drilling
calendar should help European oil explorers and producers, like
Afren Plc, at least two brokerages said as they raised
price targets on several stocks from the sector and started some
with a positive rating.
Oil is expected to rally through the year on Iranian
tensions and as top producers pump at near-full capacity, a
Reuters poll last month showed.
"Sentiment towards E&Ps had been trending positive in 2012,
fuelled by higher oil prices, M&A and exploration success in
East Africa," Deutsche Bank analyst Phil Corbett said in a note
"... A well stocked calendar of funded, high tariff
exploration wells should hopefully maintain interest in the
sector and mitigate the downside," Corbett said.
J.P. Morgan Cazenove analyst Jessica Saadat raised her
forecast for oil prices as she expects greater geopolitical
risks to keep prices high.
"Once the oil price finds a level and the market de-risking
ends, we would look to top up in certain names that offer near
term drilling result catalysts, look under-valued after the
sell-off and could be consolidation targets," Saadat said.
Saadat raised her price targets on Ophir Energy Plc
, Tullow Oil Plc, EnQuest Plc and Cairn
Both analysts picked London-listed explorer Afren as among
their preferred stocks.
The company, whose main producing assets are in Nigeria,
expanded its reach into the Middle East last year when it bought
stakes in two Kurdistan operations for $588 million.
It expects its Barda Rash field in Kurdistan in Iraq to
produce 10,000 to 15,000 barrels per day by the end of the year.
"For Afren, a significant re-rating of its Kurdistan assets
seems likely once the export stalemate is resolved, while
seeming ambivalence to its East Africa portfolio contradicts
positive news flow from the region," Deutsche Bank's Corbett
The brokerage also started Cairn, Lundin Petroleum AB
and Africa Oil Corp with "buy" ratings.
For related ratings and price target changes, click on
(Reporting by Abhishek Takle in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet