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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery lost $1.17 to $48.73 on the New York Merc, while Brent for April lost $1.52 to $53.43 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $15.00 to WTI, up from a discount of $15.65. Natural gas for March lost three cents to $1.82. The TSX energy index lost 3.49 points to close at 119.09.
Pipeline hysteria crops up on both sides of the border; Canada is just worse at dealing with it. That seems to be the takeaway from analysts' reactions to the cancellation of Teck Resources' $20-billion Frontier oil sands project. Although Teck's withdrawal announcement did not actually mention pipelines -- it focused on Canada's lack of clear climate policies in the context of resource development and in the face of "a vocal minority [that] will almost inevitably oppose" energy projects -- inadequate pipeline access was one of the issues flagged by Teck when it was still considering construction. There is little doubt that anti-pipeline activism played some role in Teck's decision. The pipeline demon du jour in Canada is Coastal GasLink, which, despite being supported by every elected indigenous band council along its route, is in the crosshairs of "indigenous solidarity" protesters who have set up numerous blockades along Canadian railways. This is of course illegal; it has nonetheless been allowed to go on for weeks. Jennifer Rowland, a U.S.-based Edward Jones analyst, told The Canadian Press that Canada's reluctance to enforce the law and support approved energy projects is a distinct competitive disadvantage.
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