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Husky Energy CEO blames regulatory process 'that just went on and on' for end of Teck Frontier mine –



The shelving of the proposed $20.6-billion Frontier oilsands mine this week stems mostly from the length of time it took for it to win regulatory approval, says the CEO of oilsands producer Husky Energy Inc.

The project application was withdrawn by Teck Resources Ltd. last Sunday, just days before the federal government was to rule on whether it would allow it to proceed.

Teck CEO Don Lindsay said there was “no constructive path forward” in a Canadian environment marked by conflict amid Indigenous rights, climate change issues and resource development.

What killed Teck, you know, ultimately, was a regulatory process that just went on and on and on and on.​​​​​– Rob Peabody, Husky CEO

“What killed Teck, you know, ultimately, was a regulatory process that just went on and on and on and on,” said Husky CEO Rob Peabody on a conference call Thursday to discuss his company’s fourth-quarter results.

“Had that process concluded in a sensible timeframe, I’m sure we’d have a Teck project under construction today because there were proponents who were set and keen to move forward with that project.

“If you wait long enough, that sort of coalescence on the idea of spending that sort of money ultimately unravels.”

The Frontier project application was first submitted to the Alberta Energy Regulator in late 2011. In 2016, a joint federal-provincial review panel was appointed and it approved the project last July.

Asked if the outcome suggests large oilsands projects can’t be built in Canada, Peabody said it actually means all large projects will have a difficult time, even if they produce renewable hydroelectric energy.

“Building major highways, building pipelines, building major infrastructure projects around cities, things like that, I think this applies to everything,” he said.

Teck’s Frontier oilsands project was planned for northern Alberta. The company pulled its application for the project on Sunday. (CBC News)

Critics of the mine, designed to produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day, said it wouldn’t have been profitable unless North American oil prices were much higher than they are now, although Teck said new technologies would have been employed to bring down costs.

Husky said lower long-term commodity price forecasts were the major reason it decided to take non-cash impairment charges of $2.3 billion after tax in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

The charges are related to its upstream assets in North America, including its Sunrise oilsands project and natural gas assets, as well as the subtraction of redundant assets at its refinery in Lima, Ohio, following a project that allows it to process heavier barrels of crude.

The writedowns echo a $2.8 billion charge taken by oilsands rival Suncor Energy Inc. earlier this month related to lower forecast prices for heavy oil from its Fort Hills oilsands mine in northern Alberta.

Teck took a charge of $910 million for the same reason related to its 21.3 per cent stake in the Fort Hills mine.

Husky cut about 370 jobs in a round of layoffs in October to better align staffing with capital spending plans for 2020 and 2021 that had been reduced by $500 million due to changing market conditions.

Shares of Husky fell by as much as 11.7 per cent to $6.31 on Thursday morning in Toronto after it reported results that matched analyst expectations on production but missed by a wide margin on funds from operations.

The Calgary-based company controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing blamed lower U.S. refinery margins, an extended shutdown at the refinery in Lima, the temporary shutdown of the Keystone pipeline in November and $74 million related to employee severance for posting funds from operations of $469 million.

That compared with $583 million in the year-earlier period and analyst expectations of $712 million, according to the financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

The company posted a net loss of $2.34 billion, compared with a profit of $216 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

On the call, Peabody said the company’s Asia-Pacific operations are getting back to normal after precautions related to the COVID-19 virus temporarily reduced demand for natural gas from the Liwan offshore project operated by its partner, China’s CNOOC Ltd.

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Thinking of Buying Equipment for Your Business? Here’s What You Need to Know



Many business owners in Canada rely on professional-grade equipment to keep the operations of their business running, but there are plenty of variables to consider before making a commitment this significant.

No matter the size of your business, if you’re tasked with acquiring equipment for your operations, there are certain factors to keep in mind as you begin the process. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering purchasing equipment for your business:

Assessing Your Financing Options

Unless you’re a wildly successful, multi-million dollar corporation, there is a higher chance that you don’t have enough free-floating capital to purchase expensive equipment without any outside assistance. The upside is that there are plenty of financing options available for business owners across every major industry, from heavy equipment financing in Canada to agriculture, manufacturing, start-ups and more.

Before you commit to any major purchases, research the financing options available to your business so you can make the smartest purchases going forward without compromising your current equity and capital.

Make a List

Now that you have your financing options in order, it’s important to make a list of your needs and wants. This list will act as a way to organize your thoughts, so you’re spending your newly earned capital wisely. It may be helpful to divide your list into two categories, your needs and your wants.

Your needs will include essential pieces of inventory that contribute to the basic operations of your company. Once you’ve purchased the essentials, you can assess which items under the wants category will be best for your company, with your remaining capital.

Choosing Quality over Flash

It may be easy to become tempted over the latest, flashiest pieces of equipment on the market, but have you done the research to assess its quality? No matter what you purchase in business or in your personal life, quality will always serve you better than aesthetics.

This is especially important when it comes to purchasing expensive equipment for your company. The more you prioritize quality, the more money you’ll save in the long run since you won’t have to worry about replacements.

Maintenance Requirements

Maintaining your equipment is a crucial component of its longevity and durability. Without proper maintenance, you’ll likely end up spending significant costs to repair or replace your inventory. Once you’ve begun to shop around for professional equipment, ensure you’ve taken the time to research the type of maintenance each piece requires. This will help you decide if you have the time and resources to handle the task.

If the equipment you’ve had your eye on requires too much manpower or capital to maintain, you may need to consider a lower price point with more attainable maintenance.

Safety & Certifications

Like anything connected to your business, safety is key. When it comes to purchasing expensive and often heavy equipment, ensure each item has the safety certifications you need — otherwise, your business could become liable if the equipment malfunctions. Prioritizing safely ensures your company, employees, and customers are out of harm’s way.

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P.E.I. announces 6 new COVID-19 cases, 17 exposure sites –



P.E.I. announced six new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Two of the cases are in their 40s, one is in their 30s, one is in their 20s and two are children under 12.

Three of the announced cases are related to travel outside the province, and three are contacts of previously reported cases.

The two children are students at Westwood Primary School. The school will be closed on Thursday and Friday to allow for close contacts to get tested, and so the province can determine if there’s been any transmission within the school.

Classmates and other children who travelled on the same bus with the students will be contacted by public health and advised on testing and isolation requirements.

The province said other Westwood students and staff should monitor for symptoms and get tested and isolate if any develop.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Public Schools Branch said four schools in eastern P.E.I. will remain closed for another day to allow for mass testing amid worries of community transmission in the eastern Kings region.

The situation at Westwood is not considered an outbreak at this time.

17 exposure sites announced

Seventeen new public exposure site notifications were issued, including two on the Northumberland Ferry. Most of the exposures are in Charlottetown.

The province is also advising anyone who was at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., between last Friday and Monday to get tested and isolate while they await results.

There are currently 27 active cases in P.E.I. and there have been 403 total cases.

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Pfizer says COVID booster ‘effective’ against Omicron variant – Al Jazeera English



Lab tests show the three-shot course of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine neutralises Omicron, while two shots appear less effective.

Pfizer has said a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine was able to neutralise the new Omicron variant in lab studies, even though the initial two doses appear significantly less effective.

The announcement on Wednesday is the first official statement from vaccine manufacturers on the efficacy of current shots against Omicron.

Pfizer and its partner BioNTech said that lab tests showed a booster dose increased by 25-fold the level of so-called neutralising antibodies against Omicron. Their results have not been peer-reviewed.

According to the early laboratory research using blood serum from vaccinated people, a booster third dose generated around the same level of antibodies against Omicron as is seen after a second dose with other variants.

Scientists have speculated that the high jump in antibodies that comes with a third dose of COVID-19 vaccines might be enough to counter any decrease in effectiveness.

Antibody levels predict how well a vaccine may prevent infection with the coronavirus but they are just one layer of the immune system’s defences. Pfizer said two doses of the vaccine may still induce protection against severe disease.

“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is maximised with a third dose of our vaccine,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement.

“Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Bourla said.

The companies also said an Omicron-specific version of their coronavirus vaccine, which is currently under development, would be available by March.

The findings are broadly in line with a preliminary study published by researchers at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa on Tuesday, saying that Omicron can partially evade protection from two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The findings also suggested that a third shot might help fend off infection.

The detection of the first Omicron cases two weeks ago coincided with a spike in infection numbers across the world.

The variant has fuelled concerns about a global COVID-19 resurgence.

Omicron has so far been found in 57 countries, according to the World Health Organization, with many reimposing travel restrictions to stem the spread.

No deaths have yet been associated with the variant, with some health officials saying that while Omicron may be more contagious than previous variants, early signs suggest it may cause less severe disease.

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