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Canadian oil made a almost 50% move today

06 December 2018

Western Canada Select crude's discount to USA benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil narrowed on Monday to the tightest since July.

The day after Notley's announcement, the price of Western Canadian Select heavy oil jumped $8.02 to $29.95 U.S. a barrel.

"You could say that Alberta is chipping in on the current OPEC cuts to bolster prices unintentionally", Kevin Birn, IHS Markit's director of North American crude oil markets, said by phone Sunday from Calgary.

Oil production cuts announced by the Alberta government will have the desired outcome of reducing steep price discounts on western Canadian crude, but will also create winners and losers, financial analysts say.

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Shares in the companies most likely to benefit from the move to curtail crude production from larger producers starting January 1 soared Monday as the price differential for heavy oilsands bitumen-blend fell.

The move to cut oil production could be good for the city itself, being in the oil and gas business.

Premier Rachel Notley has come out with a short-term plan to help address the oil price differential hitting the province.

These factors led to reduced demand for Alberta oil and the differential grew.

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The federal government has not yet decided whether it will contribute anything toward Alberta's purchase of new rail cars so that two more trains a day can transport crude from Alberta to refineries in Canada and the United States.

"That said, we understand the actions being taken in Alberta and will be working with our industry partners to ensure Saskatchewan is not undermining these efforts".

Similarly, while oilsands giants like Cenovus Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. will likely be happier, it's far from clear whether this will translate into anything that helps the NDP's political circumstances.

"There's such a surplus of oil in inventory right now that with the curtailment and stuff it should use up that inventory", says Petrone.

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A weekend 90-day ceasefire between the USA and China on imposing higher tariffs was a catalyst for global markets to rise even though a final resolution is far from certain, Fehr said in an interview. That should boost the profitability of all oil companies in the country over the next year, which could drive their stock prices even higher, assuming global oil prices don't continue to fall, which has been the case in recent weeks.

The curtailment is expected to reduce market volatility and "narrow the differential by at least $4 per barrel relative to where it otherwise would have been and add an estimated $1.1 billion of government revenue in 2019-20 - money used to pay for roads, schools and hospitals". The UCP had suggested a higher threshold, limiting cuts to producers making more than 25,000 bpd.

When it comes to market failures - which Notley spoke of Sunday and Kenney did recently, too, to justify interfering in the market - the problem is that the biggest market failure of all is climate change. "As owners, we have an obligation to get the most value possible".

But the Court of Appeal sided with environmentalist and indigenous opponents of the project in an August ruling, leading the federal government to give up fighting and darkening the outlook for investment, oil prices and the Loonie.

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On Wednesday, Notley announced Alberta would increase crude-by-rail capacity by an additional 120,000 bdp, starting in late 2019.

Canadian oil made a almost 50% move today