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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery lost $1.53 to $49.90 on the New York Merc, while Brent for April lost $1.35 to $54.95 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $15.65 to WTI, up from a discount of $15.85. Natural gas for March added two cents to $1.85. The TSX energy index lost 3.63 points to close at 122.58.
Although headlines in the oil patch continue to be dominated by Teck Resources' abandonment of its $20-billion Frontier oil sands project -- "a sad situation ... [that] speaks to the ongoing inability of major Canadian projects to succeed," as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers mourned -- there was plenty of other news to sift through. Yesterday, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled that the federal government's carbon tax is unconstitutional. The 4-1 decision called Ottawa's Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act a "constitutional Trojan horse" and found that it intrudes on provincial jurisdiction over non-renewable resources. The ruling was hailed as a "great victory" by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who had campaigned on a promise to challenge the federal carbon tax, as a part of a broader promise to fight for the province's battered oil and gas industry. (It could, of course, be argued that the Alberta court's decision adds to the climate policy uncertainty plaguing all of Canada -- the very reason Teck cited for killing Frontier -- but a campaign promise kept is a campaign promise kept.) The issue will head to the Supreme Court of Canada next month.
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