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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery added $2.70 to $106.95 on the New York Merc, while Brent for June added $2.92 to $111.70, notching a weekly gain for the first time in four weeks (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $13.00 to WTI, down from a discount of $12.66. Natural gas for May added 30 cents to $7.30. The TSX energy index added 2.34 points to close at 237.76.
The government of Quebec has passed Bill 21, banning all oil and gas exploration and extraction in the province. It is the first jurisdiction in the world to explicitly renounce hydrocarbon development. The bill will come into force after the government finalizes associated regulations, including a proposed compensation scheme that would see just $100-million provided to companies for their expropriated permits.
This is a fraction of the $500-million they were seeking and will not come close to covering decades of expenses. Past provincial governments welcomed explorers into Quebec in the 1990s and 2000s, celebrating when they found enough resources in 2008 to theoretically power the province for a century. Then successive governments blew hot and cold for years. The situation iced over last year, when the current government vowed to enact an outright ban. Not even the current wartime energy crisis in Europe has changed its mind. Nor has it veered from its position that (in the words of Premier Francois Legault) it should pay "as little compensation as possible."
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