by Stockwatch Business Reporter
New York Merc crude for January added 23 cents to $85.79 (all figures in this para U.S.). Brent for January gained 68 cents to $108.01. West Texas Intermediate went up 16 cents to $86.40, while Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $31.23 to WTI ($55.17), up from a discount of $32.05. The TSX energy index added a fraction to close at 247.86.
Precision Drilling Corp. (PD) added 34 cents to $8.05 on 15.5 million shares, making it the most active energy-related stock on the TSX. It plans to cut capital spending to $485-million in 2013, about half the $920-million it expects to spend in 2012, while starting up a quarterly dividend of five cents a share. It also plans to dismantle 52 of its older, lower-performance rigs, which will leave it with 189 rigs in Canada, 127 in the United States and 10 rigs elsewhere. Its subsidiary, Grey Wolf Drilling International Ltd., recently contracted two 3,000-horsepower rigs with Kuwait Oil Co. for deep drilling in Kuwait. Grey Wolf is the vehicle Precision plans to use for international expansion. It has regional offices in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Bogota, Colombia. The rig that went to Bogota gained some fame in the third quarter of 2010, when it played a role in rescuing 33 miners trapped at the bottom of a mine in Chile. Ultimately Precision's drill lost the race to the miners -- a U.S.-made, U.S.-led drill reached them first -- but the Chilean authorities were still pleased with the company's efforts and erected a Canadian flag on a slope overlooking the mine.