By Pete Najarian, co-founder of OptionMonsterNEW YORK -- McMoRan Exploration ( MMR)lit up with upside option activity Tuesday. Buyers snapped up the July 11 calls for 29 cents and 30 cents. Some 8,000 of the contracts crossed OptionMonster's tracking systems in the first hour of trading, and volumes continued to inch higher throughout the session. Open interest at the strike was just 1,000 contracts at the start of the day, so these were new positions. Calls lock in the price investors can pay for the stock, so they can generate major leverage if the stock rallies. But if it doesn't, the value of those options will dwindle and could end up worthless. The stock rose 5.28% to $9.17 Tuesday, closing at its highs. The company engages in the exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas in the shallow waters of the Gulf of Mexico and onshore in the Gulf Coast area. More than 18,000 options traded in the name overall, compared with fewer than 4,000 in a typical session. Calls outnumbered puts by about 16,000 to 2,300. Najarian has no positions in MMR.