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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery lost nine cents to $58.52 on the New York Merc, while Brent for May lost seven cents to $67.16 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $10.67 to WTI, up from a discount of $10.70. Natural gas for April lost six cents to $2.80. The TSX energy index lost a fraction to close at 155.87.
The big news today in the oil patch was Imperial Oil Ltd.'s (IMO: $36.39) announcement of a roughly year-long (or longer) delay to its Aspen oil sands project. The $2.6-billion, 75,000-barrel-a-day project was originally expected to start production in 2022, according to the final investment decision that Imperial announced a mere four months ago. Imperial now says that too much has changed in these four months. In particular, the Alberta government introduced mandatory production cuts effective Jan. 1, 2019, in a bid to ease the province's crude oil glut and bolster prices. Imperial has criticized the curtailments from the beginning, and is now blaming them and other "industry competitiveness challenges" for Aspen's postponement.
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