by Stockwatch Business Reporter
New York Merc crude for February delivery added $1.25 to $95.49 (all figures in this para U.S.). Brent for March gained $1.42 to $111.10. West Texas Intermediate went up 60 cents to $94.56, while Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $36.91 to WTI ($57.65), up from a discount of $37.07. The TSX energy index added 1.54 points to close at 252.54.
Russell Tripp's TriOil Resources Ltd. (TOL), the heaviest-traded energy stock on the TSX-V, lost six cents to $2.73 on a heavier-than-usual 4.16 million shares. TriOil focuses on the Lochend and Kaybob areas of Alberta. While it has done well there, increasing production to over 3,600 barrels of oil equivalent a day now from 1,900 barrels a day at the end of 2011, it is not always popular with the Alberta locals, mainly because it uses fracking technology. Fracking is done by many oil and gas drillers and involves injecting water, sand and a tiny amount of chemicals underground to release hydrocarbons. The process has long been a target of various green groups, who usually cite (unfounded) concerns about water pollution, but the anti-fracking movement is only becoming trendier. This is in part because of Hollywood celebrities, those infallible founts of facts, who are as theatrical promoting their causes as they are on screen. Earlier this month, actor Matt Damon released and starred in a movie called Promised Land, in which a rural community is destroyed because, once the fracking industry came to town, the farmland "just turned brown and died." Travis Davies, a spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), says the film should not be taken for anything other than fiction: "This movie has about as much in common with the reality of current natural gas production as any Hollywood romance has with love."