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China's Biggest Move In Oil Markets To Date –



China is making an aggressive entrance into the world of energy exchanges, but will it help the markets like some analysts suggest, or will it spell doom for oil prices?

Persistent oversupply in the global oil and gas market has created a difficult situation for smaller oil and gas companies who must find ways to compete in a debt-laden, low-priced environment against state-run oil titans like Saudi Aramco and deep-pocketed oil giants such as Exxon.

But the small oil and gas players—those private companies that are facing an uncertain future despite sitting atop a literal wealth of oil and gas in prolific US shale plays—may have just been handed their ticket out of trouble by the largest oil importer in the world, China. 


Or have they?

China, in its quest to shore up its energy security, is launching a new energy exchange that will make it much easier for buyers and sellers of all things energy—including gas, oil, LNG, carbon credits, and even chemical products—to find each other and do business together in the robust Chinese market that might otherwise seem daunting to enter.

For smaller US energy businesses—which account for nearly 60-70% of all energy companies in the United States–the Greater Bay Area International Energy Transaction Center, as the exchange is called, could be just what the doctor ordered: easier access to a tricky but colossal market.  

For China, the exchange is designed to protect its energy security at a time when its voracious appetite for crude oil exceeds its domestic production. 

On the surface, it seems like a marriage made in oil heaven.

But concerns with the new energy exchange are widespread, and global–from the United States to the Middle East.

Small Independents

Today, there are approximately 9,000 independent oil and gas companies operating in the United States—this includes only those businesses that produced fewer than 75,000 bpd and have less than $5 million in oil and gas sales per year. This class of producers accounts for 83% of all oil produced in the U.S., and 90% of all natural gas.

It’s a booming business—and no doubt some of these smaller players will jump at the chance to engage with Chinese companies to sell their oil and gas products. There are concerns, however, that easier access to the huge Chinese energy market will erode prices further—a price situation that China is looking forward to. 

As for those independents, some of which are struggling in the already lower oil price environment, additional price erosion could mean death.

Middle East

And then there are the Middle East producers. There was a time when the United States imported almost 150 million barrels of oil monthly from OPEC member countries, according to the Energy Information Administration. But then just a few years ago, the United States lifted the export ban on crude oil, and everything changed. In January 2017, the United States imported 117.6 million barrels of oil from OPEC. In September 2019—the last month for which there is data—the United States imported just 48 million barrels. 

That’s less than half.

OPEC nations—mostly Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Iraq—had enjoyed hawking their wares on the US market. But as the U.S. slowed its oil imports, Middle East producers set their sites on another large market: Asia, including China.

Those same OPEC nations that were hurt by U.S. oil production will also be hurt by China’s courting of U.S. oil companies through this exchange.  For OPEC, who has come up against the United States oil industry time and time again as it tries to lift prices through production cuts, American oil producers keep turning up like a bad penny.

A Geopolitical Foothold

China is hoping that the new international exchange platform will rival the LSE and NYSE when it comes to online trading of crude oil and other energy-related products, including settling trade and delivering it. In addition to crude oil, chemical products, and LNG mentioned above, it will also deal with LPG, methane, ethane, and energy derivatives. And there’s more: it will also make available market information.

But the exchange will also increase—to the worry of many—China’s geopolitical foothold in new markets.

China is fast sinking money into developing oil and gas resources in foreign countries, despite lower oil prices. Its state-run oil companies, including CNOOC, have been throwing money at oil projects in Brazil, Mexico, Guyana, Nigeria, and Canada–and the US Gulf of Mexico, to name just a few. And while some see this as just a method of filling the oil void left by its own domestic production, others see this as China’s way of controlling oil resources across the globe for geopolitical gain. 

China has already sunk money into Iran and Venezuela in the form of loans in exchange for cheap crude–two countries that have found themselves on the receiving end of US sanctions that have crippled their respective oil industries. This move has upset the geopolitical apple cart as the U.S. struggles to bring oil exports for both to zero–without China’s backing, the U.S. might have been successful in doing so.

The growth of a massive new energy exchange not only improves China’s global positioning to influence oil prices, but also increases its geopolitical clout as its money gives it influence in state-run oil companies that carry political sway within their governments–particularly with Venezuela’s PDVSA and Angola’s Sonangol.  

There is no doubt that the exchange will increase the energy trade between smaller players. Whether this will have a positive result for small U.S. energy companies or whether this will crush prices and increase China’s political might remains to be seen. 

Byt Julianne Geiger for

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Rania Llewellyn out as Laurentian CEO less than 3 years after taking top job



Rania Llewellyn is out after nearly three years as chief executive of Laurentian Bank of Canada, her sudden departure coming less than a month after a strategic review failed to find a buyer for the chronically underperforming Montreal-based bank.

Shortly after the strategic review ended, the bank’s operations were shaken by a major IT outage that has not been fully resolved.

Llewellyn, who was recruited to Laurentian from Bank of Nova Scotia in 2020 with much fanfare, becoming the first woman to lead a major Canadian bank, has been succeeded as CEO by Éric Provost, an 11-year veteran of Laurentian who was most recently group head of personal and commercial banking. He has also joined the board of directors.

In a further shakeup, Michael Boychuk, former audit committee chair and reportedly a key player in the strategic review, has been appointed chair of the board following the resignation of director and chair Michael Mueller, who had been on the board since 2013.


“Éric is the right executive to lead the bank at this critical point in its evolution,” Boychuk said in an Oct. 2 statement, adding that Provost’s ascension was part of the bank’s formal succession planning process. 

“We have experienced challenges recently and the board is confident that Éric will successfully focus the organization on our customer experience and operational effectiveness.”

Meny Grauman, a bank analyst at Scotia Capital Inc., said Llewellyn’s sudden departure Oct. 2 was a negative development for the bank.

“Based on the text of this morning’s press release, the trigger for this morning’s leadership changes appears to be more tied to the bank’s ongoing systems issues, but it is hard to believe that the outcome of the recent strategic review was not a factor as well,” the analyst wrote in an Oct. 2 note to clients.

Sources said Llewellyn was not pleased with the timing of the strategic review, which was acknowledged by the bank in July, just 18 months into her plan to transform the underperforming lender with a promise of “accelerated” growth by 2024.

One industry source familiar with the review said Llewellyn felt the initial rollout of her vision had been successful and she had not had sufficient time to make necessary changes to the bank’s culture and operations.

Llewellyn could not immediately be reached for comment.

Shares in Laurentian, which had already settled back down to around $30, where they traded before the strategic process was announced, fell further following the tech problems and word of Llewellyn’s departure. The stock was trading at $28.81 at midday on Oct. 2.

Laurentian has underperformed other Canadian banks, including those in Quebec, for years. Even before the shares tumbled in September when it was revealed that the strategic review had ended without a buyer, Laurentian’s stock had risen around 165 per cent since January of 1995 compared to an 1,800 per cent rise for shares of Royal Bank of Canada shares and a more than 2,000 per cent rise for National Bank of Canada stock. National Bank’s market capitalization of $34.4 billion in July dwarfed Laurentian’s of just $1.72 billion, which had sunk further to $1.25 billion by Oct. 2.

While there is much to do, Grauman said the immediate priority for Laurentian’s new CEO will be to address the impacts of a mainframe outage that occurred last week during regular maintenance.

A three-part action plan announced by the bank will include resolving any outstanding issues from the outage, better communicating progress with the bank’s clients, and launching a comprehensive review of the factors that led to the outage.


Laurentian has already announced that all service fees charged to clients for the month of September will be reversed, and that normal hours will be extended this week.

“The bank has not quantified the financial impact of this outage, but we now expect it to be material at least for the current quarter,” Grauman wrote.



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TSX recap: Index down 1.86% on utility and energy stocks – BNN Bloomberg



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More TTC riders have full cellular service as Rogers allows BCE, Telus network access



TTC riders in Toronto’s downtown core now have access to 5G service.

In a Monday media release, representatives for Rogers said customers of all major Canadian wireless companies can connect to 5G to talk, text, and stream on Toronto’s subway system.

Service extends to all stations and tunnels in the downtown U (between Bloor-Yonge and Spadina, as well as Dupont Station), as well as in 13 stations between Keele and Castle Frank, plus the tunnels between St. George and Yonge stations.

The announcement comes a day earlier than anticipated, as the federal deadline given to Rogers to implement the extended service for all mobile customers was originally slated for Tuesday.


Rogers customers have had 5G connection in the aforementioned stations and tunnels since August, a decision that sparked ire in the telecommunications space, particularly from rivals Telus and Bell.

“Our dedicated team of technologists designed and introduced an immediate solution that added capacity, so Bell and Telus could join the network,” Ron McKenzie, chief technology and information officer for Rogers, said.

“For over 10 years, subway riders have been without mobile phone services and the Rogers team is pleased to step up and make 5G a reality for all riders today.”

In a statement shared with CP24, representatives for Telus said, “we are pleased to launch service for all our customers in connected TTC subway tunnels and stations. Now, TELUS customers can browse the Internet, talk and text, staying connected and safe on Toronto transit. We’ll be working hard to expand the number of stations and tunnels covered in the coming months.”

“We would like to thank Minister Champagne for his leadership in ensuring that all wireless carriers have the ability to serve their customers in Toronto’s subway system, and that Rogers can no longer delay the deployment of wireless service for all TTC riders regardless of their choice of carrier,” representatives for Bell shared in an afternoon statement.

“Bell looks forward to working collaboratively with our partners to build out the remainder of the TTC’s wireless network.”

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow responded to today’s news in a tweet.

“Happy to hear that all 3 major telecoms have unrolled service to downtown stations,” she wrote.

“The work continues to expand service to the rest of the TTC subway system. François-Philippe Champagne and I will work to make sure it happens quickly.”

CP24 and CTV News Toronto are owned by Bell Media.


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