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Bigger Than Expected Crude Inventory Draw Boosts Oil Prices

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The American Petroleum Institute (API) reported on Wednesday a major draw in crude oil inventories of 5.421 million barrels for the week ending October 9.

Analysts had predicted an inventory draw of 2.835-million barrels.

In the previous week, the API reported a build in crude oil inventories of 951,000 barrels, after analysts had predicted a build of 400,000 barrels.

Oil prices were trading up on Tuesday afternoon before the API’s data release, despite industry reports from the IEA and OPEC that suggested oil demand growth could be weaker than anticipated.

In the runup to Tuesday’s data release, at 4:08 pm EDT, WTI had risen by $0.83 (+2.06%) to $41.03, up $0.40 per barrel on the week. The Brent crude benchmark had risen by $0.87 at that time (+2.05%) to $43.32.

Oil production in the United States rebounded last week, but was still down from a high of 13.1 million bpd on March 13. U.S. oil production currently sits at 11.0 million bpd, according to the Energy Information Administration—2.1 million bpd under those March highs.

The API reported a draw in gasoline inventories of 1.513-million barrels of gasoline for the week ending October 9—compared to the previous week’s 867,000-barrel draw. Analysts had expected a 1.607-million-barrel draw for the week.

Distillate inventories were down by 3.930 million barrels for the week, compared to last week’s 1.033-million-barrel draw, while Cushing inventories rose by 2.199-million barrels.

At 4:33 pm EDT, the WTI benchmark was trading at $41.03 while Brent crude was trading at $43.31.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

Source: – OilPrice.com
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Alberta to stop limits on oil production in December after nearly two years – Business News – Castanet.net

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Alberta’s oil curtailment quotas are set to end in December, nearly two years after the previous NDP government introduced them to support oil prices, the UCP government announced Friday.

The curtailments, reset monthly, are no longer necessary because 16 per cent of Alberta’s crude oil production is off-line, down from 22 per cent at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government said in a news release.

It added it will retain the regulatory authority to reintroduce the measures if necessary in 2021.

“Maintaining the stability and predictability of Alberta’s resource sector is vital for investor confidence as we navigate the economic conditions brought on by the pandemic, the commodity price crisis and the need for pipelines,” said Energy Minister Sonya Savage.

“This purposeful approach serves as an insurance policy, as it will allow Alberta to respond swiftly if there is a risk of storage reaching maximum capacity while enabling industry to produce as the free market intended.”

The province quoted Genscape in noting that there were about 20 million barrels of oil in storage as of Oct. 16, down from nearly 40 million when the curtailment program began.

High inventory levels are blamed on the inability of the pipeline system to match the province’s growing oil production levels, mainly from new and expanded oilsands projects.

The program has been controversial from the start, with oil producers such as Cenovus Energy Inc. largely in favour of it while oil producers that also own refining operations, such as Imperial Oil Ltd., adamantly opposed.

“We have always maintained that a market-based approach is best and support the government’s move to end the current program,” said Husky Energy Inc. spokeswoman Dawn Delaney on Friday.

In a report, RBC analyst Greg Pardy said the end of the program is beneficial for producers including Cenovus, Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and others that have been forced to choke back production at their facilities.

Suncor, for example, has not been able to maintain full production at its Fort Hills oilsands mine after expanding its capacity to 194,000 barrels per day in 2018. Earlier this year, it shut down one of its two extraction trains because of low oil prices.

However, a rebound in production could result in widening of the price discount on western Canadian crude versus U.S. benchmarks, Pardy warned, noting that lower oilsands output so far this year has reduced the discount on western Canadian Select bitumen-blend oil.

The province’s allowable production quota was gradually raised from 3.56 million barrels per day in January 2019 to 3.81 million bpd by year-end, a level maintained through the first 11 months of 2020.

The province says production was actually 3.1 million bpd in August and it’s not expected to exceed export capacity before mid-2021.

The government’s move to stop the program makes sense given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the oil market, said Ben Brunnen, vice-president of fiscal and economic policy for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

“This enables companies now to be making decisions from a production perspective based on market fundamentals as opposed to government-mandated limitations,” he said.

But he added it’s unfortunate the government felt obliged to intervene in the market in the first place.

“CAPP supports transparent and unconstrained market access to ensure all of Alberta’s oil production is delivered to desired markets at market clearing prices,” he said.

The government says it extended what was intended to be a short-term measure because of ongoing delays to pipeline projects that would increase the province’s export capacity.

Pardy said the completion of pipelines including Keystone XL, the Trans Mountain expansion, and Enbridge Line 3 “should enhance the province’s permanent ability to balance production and takeaway capacity, helping to ensure Alberta’s resources are exported at full value.”

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Le Chateau closing all 123 stores, including Thunder Bay location – Tbnewswatch.com

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THUNDER BAY — The city is losing another long-standing national clothing outlet. 

The Montreal-based company on Thursday announced its intention to seek protection under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act and plans to close all 123 of its locations, including one at Intercity Shopping Centre. The company cited the challenges of the pandemic and the second wave of COVID-19 hitting many communities as an underlying factor. 

“Its already evident impact on consumer demand for Le Chateau’s holiday party and occasion wear, which represents the core of our offering, has diminished Le Château’s ability to pursue its activities. Regrettably, these circumstances leave the Company with no option other than to commence the liquidation process,” reads a statement posted on the company’s corporate website. 

About 1,400 people are expected to lose their job as a result. 

Stores are expected to remain open through the liquidation process. 

The mall has been hard hit in recent years, losing anchor tenants Lowe’s and Sears. Marshalls did take over a portion of the former Sears location. 

Le Chateau says it looked into means of refinancing or finding a third party to operate th company, but was unsuccessful. The company has been in business since 1959. 

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Alberta ends OPEC-style curbs after COVID-led oil sands retreat – BNN

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Alberta’s two-year experiment with OPEC-style crude production curbs is coming to an end after a COVID-driven collapse in demand led the province’s battered oil-sands industry to idle more output than required.

A cap on production that’s currently at 3.81 million barrels a day will no longer be in effect in December, with output below the limit for several months, the provincial government said in a release on Friday. An increase in pipeline capacity this year also means the province is no longer struggling to store stranded crude.

“Current forecast show that inventories are expected to remain low, with sufficient export capacity to allow the system to operate efficiently on its own well into 2021,” the Alberta government said in the statement.

Home to the world’s third-largest crude reserves, the Canadian oil sands have been hit hard by this year’s virus-driven market crash after years already struggling with insufficient pipeline capacity and competition from U.S. shale.

Alberta imposed output limits on large oil producers at the beginning of 2019 after a storage glut formed due to a pipeline shortage, causing local oil prices to plummet. The move was controversial: welcomed by some oil-sands companies such as Cenovus Energy Inc., while criticized by others including Imperial Oil Ltd.

Oil’s crash prompted local producers to shut almost a million barrels a day of production earlier this year.

The government said experts don’t expect production in Western Canada to be above pipeline capacity before the middle of 2021 at the earliest, and storage levels are expected to remain low. As of the end of last week, inventories were at about 20 million barrels, according to data-provider Genscape Inc. When production limits were introduced in 2019, inventories had been approaching 40 million barrels.

The lifting of quotas could widen heavy Canadian crude’s discount to benchmark West Texas Intermediate futures to US$14 to US$16 a barrel as an incremental 120,000 to 150,000 barrels a day of crude production comes online, Manav Gupta, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG, said in a note. The discount has been near US$10 for the past several months.

A challenge for Alberta has been limited pipeline space for export capacity. While no new export pipelines have been built since the quotas were imposed, three major projects are under construction and existing pipelines are shipping out more oil than in the past. TC Energy Corp.’s Keystone pipeline will be able to export an additional 50,000 barrels a day next year using so-called drag resistance agents.

In addition, oil companies have secured long-term contracts to ship crude by rail. While exports on trains collapsed to an eight-year low in July, the rebounded 30% in August to more than 51,000 barrels per day in August 2020, government data show.

The government will continue to monitor inventories and may resume monthly oil production limits “if emerging market conditions make it absolutely necessary,” the provincial government said. If forecasts show inventories approaching maximum capacity in the upcoming four to six months, the government will implement output limits again. In this scenario, the industry will receive 30 to 60 days of advance notice so companies can plan their production.

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