Updated with recent prices.



) --

Delta Petroleum


shares were plunging, and briskly so, after the company reported disappointing gas volume results out of the Columbia River Basin.

The company released a statement on Monday morning following testing of most of the zones in its so-called Gray well. The independent oil and gas operation said the six lowermost zones showed high pressure, though only fresh water flows. Further uphole zones showed both water and gas, but the area tested for gas volumes that were "minimal and substantially below pre-completion expectations deeming these intervals uneconomic."

Shares were nose-diving 41%, or $1.65, at $2.36 in the afternoon, giving back nearly all of its gains over the past two weeks on high trading volumes. Some 54 million shares of the stock had traded hands by midday; the stock's average daily trading volume is 11.99 million.

Elsewhere, the entire energy sector was taking a hit in the early going today, as

Anadarko Petroleum

(APC) - Get Report


Chesapeake Energy

(CHK) - Get Report



(APA) - Get Report

were sliding 2%, 0.7% and 2.7%, respectively.

Among the oil majors,

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report



(COP) - Get Report



(CVX) - Get Report

were changing hands in the red, down 1.2%, 1.5% and 1% each.

-- Written by Sung Moss in New York

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