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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery gained $1.23 to $62.96 on the New York Merc, while Brent for March gained $1.04 to $68.82 (all figures in this para U.S.). These WTI and Brent prices are three-year highs, driven by expectations that the next weekly report on U.S. crude oil inventories will show a decline for the eighth consecutive week. (The report will be released tomorrow.) This tightened supply is a short-term situation, as U.S. crude oil inventories are expected to shoot up in the next few months. Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $25.05 to WTI ($37.91), unchanged. Natural gas for February gained nine cents to $2.92. The TSX energy index closed up 2.27 points to 197.13.
EnCana Corp. (ECA) gained 46 cents to $17.01 on 9.58 million shares, after boasting that it boosted production at its four core assets by 31 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017, compared with the fourth quarter of 2016. EnCana did not provide the production figure, but in the fourth quarter of 2016 it produced 237,100 barrels of oil equivalent a day at its core assets, so the output for the fourth quarter of 2017 would have been 310,600 barrels a day. This is slightly higher than the company's target of 305,000 to 310,000 barrels a day. President and chief executive officer Doug Suttles deems this slightly higher-than-expected output as evidence of EnCana's "powerful" record of beating its targets.
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