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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery added nine cents to $57.24 on the New York Merc, while Brent for January added 22 cents to $62.51 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $22.13 to WTI, down from a discount of $22.00. Natural gas for December added two cents to $2.79. The TSX energy index added a fraction to close at 136.50.
The Alberta government has made another change to its mandatory curtailment policy on provincial oil production. Citing the success of the policy in draining oversupplies and bolstering prices, the government already exempted some producers from their quotas in August and then introduced special allowances in October (by allowing producers to go above their quotas as long as they move the excess by rail). Now it has taken a further step to "drive positive investment, lead to increased drilling activity and support economic growth in communities across Alberta," as it trumpeted in a press release this morning. The change is that new conventional oil wells will not be subject to production limits. Existing conventional oil production -- which does not include bitumen from the oil sands -- will remain under the current quotas, but all producers can now drill new conventional oil wells without restriction. Conventional oil production represents just under one-fifth of Alberta's total oil output. The change comes as producers are finalizing their 2020 budgets. "Companies are currently making investment decisions, and we want those dollars and jobs to be in Alberta," said Sonya Savage, Alberta's Minister of Energy. "We are doing everything we can to help." In this case, "help" means "help producers open their wallets."
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