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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery added 91 cents to $76.99 on the New York Merc, while Brent for March added $1.02 to $80.00, settling in the $80 range for the first time since November (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $13.60 to WTI, unchanged. Natural gas for February lost 10 cents to $3.72. The TSX energy index added 5.98 points to close at 169.77.
Oil prices headed higher as OPEC+ stuck to its planned 400,000-barrel-a-day production increase for February. In a meeting today, the group signalled that it expects the COVID Omicron variant to have only a short-lived effect on global oil demand. "This is in addition to a steady economic outlook in both the advanced and emerging economies [around the world]," opined a report by the OPEC+ joint technical committee (seen by Reuters). The group will hold its next monthly meeting on Feb. 2.
Within the energy sector, Alberta gas producer Peyto Exploration & Development Corp. (PEY) took a peek above $10 in intraday trading, before settling up 52 cents to $9.97 on 1.25 million shares. President and chief executive officer Darren Gee rang in the new year by publishing his latest monthly letter to shareholders on Peyto's website. "We finished off the year with a bang at Peyto," he cheered, noting that production reached 102,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. This means that the company achieved its goal of hitting 100,000 barrels a day by year-end.
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