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Energy Summary for Feb. 23, 2021

2021-02-23 20:25 ET - Market Summary

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by Stockwatch Business Reporter

West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery lost 50 cents to $61.20 on the New York Merc, while Brent for April lost 20 cents to $65.04 (all figures in this para U.S.). Western Canadian Select traded at a discount of $11.40 to WTI, down from a discount of $11.36. Natural gas for March lost eight cents to $2.88. The TSX energy index added 1.02 points to close at 113.45.

The value of Alberta's oil production has returned to pre-COVID-19 levels, according to the province's central chief economist, Charles St-Arnaud. He credited a recovery in domestic oil production combined with a surge in global oil prices. As a result, the Alberta government has "a better starting point in terms of revenues for fiscal year 2021, and probably also a smaller deficit than they would have expected only six months ago," mused Mr. St-Arnaud to Global News.

This will no doubt be welcome news to Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews as he prepares to unveil his 2021 budget this Thursday. Almost exactly a year ago, on Feb. 27, 2020, Mr. Toews tabled the budget for 2020. He forecast $58 (U.S.) oil prices for the year and placed high hopes on the energy sector to lead the province to a balanced budget in three years. Less than two weeks later, a glum-looking Premier Jason Kenney said the province was entering "uncharted territory" as the unfolding COVID-19 crisis sent oil prices below $35 (U.S.). They went on to tip into the negatives in April before starting a rapid (but still fragile) recovery to today's level of over $60 (U.S.).

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