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by Stockwatch Business Reporter
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery lost 86 cents to $52.27 on the New York Merc, while Brent for March lost 69 cents to $55.41 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $13.70 to WTI, down from a discount of $13.65. Natural gas for February lost four cents to $2.45. The TSX energy index lost 2.06 points to close at 95.34.
Despite a so-so end to the week for oil prices, there were some signs of optimism within the sector, as Schlumberger became the third major oil services company in a week to predict that the downturn is nearing an end. Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes all released quarterly financials this week and expressed optimism that oil demand will strengthen throughout 2021. Notably, Schlumberger posted fourth quarter revenue of $5.53-billion (U.S.), which was up from $5.25-billion (U.S.) in the third quarter and represented the first sequential revenue increase since the third quarter of 2019. "We believe ... oil demand [will] recover to 2019 levels no later than 2023," declared Schlumberger's chief executive officer, Olivier Le Peuch. He added that some analysts are forecasting an even earlier recovery. In either case, he sees a "multiyear recovery cycle" coming up.
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