) -- Shares of

Plains Exploration & Production


rose rapidly on Wednesday morning as the company spoke at a UBS global energy conference.

The U.S. oil and gas exploration company's shares were up 6% on Wednesday morning and it was quickly closing in on its average daily volume of shares traded.

The presentation that Plains provided at the conference was also available on its Web site, and there were no significant changes from its last presentation to investors that would merit a spike in shares, according to an energy analyst who had reviewed the information. Nevertheless, Plains shares rose before the company provided its live commentary at the UBS conference.

Plains has been planning a spinoff of its Gulf of Mexico deepwater assets, and it the progress of those plans could be a trigger to send Plains shares higher.

Plains Exploration said earlier this month that it would seek to spin off its GoM deepwater assets by this summer.

Speaking at the same UBS conference on Tuesday, oil service company


(HAL) - Get Halliburton Company (HAL) Report

said that the situation in the

Gulf of Mexico is improving

a little sooner than anticipated, more than a year after the BP oil spill which effectively shut down the Gulf of Mexico deepwater drilling business.

Halliburton shares have risen over the past two days through the combination of its conference commentary, bullish calls on crude oil buoying the energy sector, and its exposure to the outperforming North American drilling market, which it noted in its UBS appearance remains the driver of earnings and margins.

Plains Exploration first floated the idea of selling its deepwater assets after the oil spill, but more recently shifted to the spinoff strategy.

The U.S. energy sector isn't experiencing an IPO wave like technology, but there have been several recent company-specific spinoffs being planned.

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plans this week to spin off its Canadian assets as a separate company.

Marathon Oil

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plans to spin off its refinery operations.

The energy sector was among the leaders on Wednesday, with a rise of 1%. Both Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley released bullish calls on crude oil this week.

-- Written by Eric Rosenbaum from New York.


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