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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery lost 12 cents to $19.75 on the New York Merc, while Brent for June added 13 cents to $27.82 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $15.00 to WTI, up from a discount of $17.00. Natural gas for May added nine cents to $1.69. The TSX energy index lost 2.51 points to close at 58.25.
It was yet another bruising day in the oil patch. The first blow came from a U.S. federal judge in Montana, who handed another setback to TC Energy's long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline. The judge cancelled a key river-crossing permit after ruling that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers did not adequately consider the effects on endangered species. Although this ruling does not shut down work that has already begun where the pipeline crosses the U.S.-Canada border in Montana, TC Energy will require a valid permit for future construction across the hundreds of rivers and streams along the pipeline's route. It is not clear how long this extra permitting will take. Even a short delay could set back construction for at least a year, given the seasonal nature of construction work. TC Energy has already raised the spectre of slower-than-forecast production due to physical distancing measures in response to COVID-19. Regarding the permit cancellation, the company said in a statement that it is reviewing the ruling and remains "committed to building this important energy infrastructure project."
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