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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for February delivery plunged $3.09 to $59.61 on the New York Merc, while Brent for March lost $2.83 to $65.44 (all figures in this para U.S.). Both benchmarks fell after U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that Iran is "standing down" in the Middle East, calming fears of a military escalation that could disrupt regional crude supplies. Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $22.64 to WTI, up from a discount of $22.78. Natural gas for February lost two cents to $2.14. The TSX energy index lost 2.85 points to close at 146.47.
While tensions eased in the Middle East, hackles were raised in the Canadian oil patch after the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination -- yes, that mouthful of wool is the name of an international committee of apparent experts in their fields -- took it upon itself to declare that the government of Canada should immediately suspend the Trans Mountain pipeline project and the Coastal GasLink pipeline (as well as the Site C dam). The committee called itself "disturbed" and "alarmed" at the "disproportionate use of force, harassment and intimidation" and "escalating threat of violence against indigenous peoples." Not only should Canada "freeze present and future approval of large-scale development projects ... that do not enjoy free, prior and informed consent from all indigenous peoples," continued the committee, but Canada should also prevent the RCMP and other policing or security forces from setting a single booted toe on traditional indigenous lands. The committee concluded that Canada would really benefit from seeking "technical advice" from -- who else? -- the UN's "expert mechanism on the rights of indigenous people."
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