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Irving Oil's Come By Chance refinery purchase a 'building block' to get Western Canadian oil east – Financial Post

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CALGARY – One of Canada’s richest families is buying Newfoundland and Labrador’s only oil refinery, which will be a “building block” in a larger strategy to process more Canadian oil.

Saint John, N.B.-based Irving Oil announced Thursday plans to buy North Atlantic Refining Corp. and its Come By Chance, Nfld. refinery from New York-based investment firm Silverpeak for an undisclosed sum, which marks the seventh time the refinery has changed hands in its storied history.

The deal is subject to conditions, including a Competition Bureau review, but it would make family-controlled Irving Oil the only refinery operator in Atlantic Canada. The deal comes weeks after Irving Oil secured permission to bring Western Canadian to the East Coast and forms part of a larger strategy to strengthen its business, according to a company spokesperson.

Last month, Irving Oil obtained Transport Canada’s approvals to source Western Canadian oil from the West Coast, through the Panama Canal to its refinery in New Brunswick.

“Our recently announced plans to source Canadian crude oil and today’s announcement in Newfoundland are two building blocks that fit together with our company’s existing strengths,” Irving spokesperson Candice MacLean said in an email. “All of these elements contribute to our long-time objective of helping Canada be even more competitive in the international landscape.”

MacLean also said Irving, which owns a 320,000-bpd refinery in Saint John and a 71,000-bpd refinery near Cork, Ireland, has been investing for years “in the broader Atlantic Basin and have continued to pursue opportunities for growth in these regions, including Atlantic Canada.”

Analysts believe the Come By Chance refinery and associated retail fuel station network in Newfoundland and Labrador are a strategic fit for Irving, which operates filling stations across Atlantic Canada and the U.S. Northeast.

The sale marks the seventh time the refinery has changed hands

Irving operates a distribution network in Newfoundland, including its flagship Big Stop trucking stations in multiple locations across the province.

“It makes sense that they would see a benefit to acquiring the Come By Chance distribution and retail assets,” IHS Markit oil markets, midstream and downstream analyst Susan Bell said in an email.

She said the Come By Chance refinery has been challenged historically because it has been prohibited from selling fuels into the broader Canadian market beyond Newfoundland.

Built with federal and provincial money between 1970 and 1973, the refinery operated for just a few years before going bankrupt in 1976. Petro Canada bought the refinery, then dubbed the “biggest lemon in the world” according to Memorial University archives, for $10 million in 1980. The Crown corporation couldn’t turn a profit on the facility either and sold it for $1 to Newfoundland Energy Ltd. in 1986.

The refinery would change hands again and again. Swiss commodities trader Vitol SA sold the facility to Calgary-based Harvest Energy Trust for $1.6 billion in 2006. Harvest, in turn, sold itself to Korea National Oil Corp. for $4.1 billion in 2009.

The refinery changed hands again in 2014 when Silverpeak, then called SilverRange Financial Partners, bought the facility and invested in expansions. The refinery was initially built to process 100,000 barrels of oil per day but now, according to Irving’s release, it is a 135,000-bpd refinery. In 2019, the previous owner of the refinery had applied to further expand the facility to process 165,000 bpd.

A spokesperson for Silverpeak declined to comment while the sale is still pending. North Atlantic Refining was the firm’s main energy holding, though it also owns a joint venture in Peru.

The facility now processes 135,000 barrels per day, up from its original 100,000

Historically, the top five foreign sources of oil to that refinery in Newfoundland were the United States, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Nigeria and Norway, said Dinara Millington, Canadian Energy Research Institute vice-president of research.

In 2018, the majority of the refinery’s throughput was sourced from the U.S., and data from the Canada Energy Regulator show imports to Newfoundland from the U.S. averaged 88,100 bpd, or about 68 per cent of the refinery’s capacity.

Millington said the refinery is calibrated to refine light crude oil but noted that a proposed expansion project to add a coker could enable the new owners at Irving Oil to run a heavier slate in the future.

The most recent offshore oil discovery in Newfoundland is also a large heavy oil deposit, so the refinery could — at least theoretically — be recalibrated to accept heavy oil produced locally.

That heavy oil from Newfoundland “will need a home,” Millington said, though she noted a likely outcome would be to send the heavy crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast, where refineries are already designed to process heavy grades.

• Email: gmorgan@nationalpost.com | Twitter:

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METALS-Supply angst helps copper scale two-year high – Kitco NEWS

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* China industrial production data due Thursday

* Cash over three-month copper contract at 14-month high
(Updates prices)
By Pratima Desai
LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) – Copper prices reached two-year
highs on Monday in a buying frenzy triggered by worries over
strikes and supplies from top producer Chile and flooding in
China.
Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME)
was up 2.5% at $6,572 a tonne at 1602 GMT.

Prices of the metal used widely in the power and
construction industries earlier touched $6,633 a tonne, its
highest since June 2018 and up more than 50% since hitting
four-year lows in March.
“Miners at Antofagasta’s Zaldivar mine in Chile voting to
strike provided a tailwind to disruptions at Codelco due to
COVID-19,” said ING analyst Wenyu Yao. “Antofagasta’s Centinela mine will soon conclude voting on
whether to accept a wage offer or go on strike, which is another
upside risk for copper.”

CHILE: Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer, and
other miners in Chile have altered shift patterns, suspended
upgrades and smelter operations in an effort to stop the spread
of the new coronavirus. FLOODING: Traders are worried that flooding in China’s
Jiangxi province could eventually affect copper production. Jiangxi Copper , one of the country’s biggest
copper producers, has so far been largely unaffected by the
floods because most of its transportation is by rail. FUNDS: Much of the buying in base metals markets is by funds
in China and elsewhere, jumping on the uptrend of recent days.
DATA: Clues to demand prospects will come from Chinese urban
investment, house prices and industrial production data on
Thursday.

SPREADS: Worries about supplies on the LME market in the
face of falling stocks and cancelled warrants –
metal earmarked for delivery – pushed cash copper’s premium
over the three-month contract to a 14-month high above $11 a
tonne.
Between May 2019 and June 2020 the cash contract mostly
traded at a discount .
OTHER METALS: Aluminium was up 0.1% at $1,691 a
tonne, zinc gained 2.9% to $2,257, lead rose
1.4% to $1,881, tin climbed 0.4% to $17,380 and nickel added 1.5% to $13,715.

(Reporting by Pratima Desai
Editing by Catherine Evans)

LME price overview COMEX copper futures All metals news All commodities news Foreign exchange rates SPEED GUIDES ))

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China's imports and exports grew in June – MarketWatch

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China’s imports and exports rose in June from a year earlier, mainly reflecting improving demand at home and abroad as the country largely brought the coronavirus pandemic under control and some developed countries began reopening.

China’s imports rose 2.7% in June, reversing a 16.7% slump in May, the General Administration of Customs said Tuesday. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal expected June’s imports to drop 10.0%.

Exports edged up 0.5% in June, compared with a 3.3% decline in May, customs data showed. June’s exports were also better than economists’ median forecast of a 4.3% decline.

China recorded a trade surplus of $46.42 billion last month, much smaller than May’s $62.93 billion surplus and below the $59.30 billion surplus economists expected.

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Why the 2021 Ford Bronco Has Independent Front Suspension – RoadandTrack.com

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Hardcore off-roaders and Jeep fans swear by the solid axle. They say the durability, articulation, and simplicity of a live-axle setup can’t be beat. Yet slowly, the solid front axle has died out. Aside from the Wrangler, no new passenger vehicle is sold in the U.S. today with a solid front axle. And now we know the new Ford Bronco won’t change that.

The Bronco instead opts for an independent front suspension, like pretty much every other truck or SUV out there. It’s easy to see why: Independent front suspension gives you more wheel control, reduces unsprung weight, and increases steering precision.

Ford

But the new Bronco isn’t just about about the on-road experience. And independent front suspension has some drawbacks for off-roaders. Most IFS designs offer less suspension travel than a solid axle, making it harder to maintain traction on uneven surfaces and keep all four wheels on the ground

According to Gavin McGee, a vehicle dynamics engineer for the Bronco, Ford considered a solid front axle. But beyond the fact that the increased unsprung weight tends to make for an uncomfortable ride, there were other dynamic concerns. A big one is wheel control, which suffers on a live-axle vehicle. Because both wheels are tied together, a bump on one side affects the other. That creates a wobbly ride, especially at speed, as the suspension can’t keep up with cascading impacts. On high-speed washboard surfaces or desert conditions, independent suspension allows for greater control.

Perhaps more importantly, independent front suspension allows for more precise, responsive steering. Solid-axle vehicles mostly use recirculating ball steering systems, an ancient design. Independent suspension allows for more modern steering systems, which should help give the Bronco better high speed behavior than the Wrangler, and more precise steering feedback at all speeds.

Lastly, McGee says Ford has mitigated a lot of the off-road compromises of independent front suspension. One of the key things that reduces the flexibility of an independent suspension setup is the stabilizer bar, which links the two front wheels together to reduce body roll. The Bronco has an available electronic disconnect on its front stabilizer bar, allowing way more travel—on an RTI ramp, which measures a 4×4’s suspension flex, a Bronco Badlands goes from a score of 560 with the stabilizer bar connected to 700 when disconnected.

Finally, while independent suspension used to mean limited wheel travel, Ford says the Bronco’s suspension has 17 percent more travel than the Wrangler. You can also get Bilstein position-sensitive dampers on every trim of the Bronco, which get stiffer toward the top end of their travel. That means more on-road comfort around town with better composure in challenging high-speed terrain. Combined with the inherent advantages of independent front suspension, the new Bronco should easily feel more refined and stable than the Wrangler, especially in the on-road driving where most owners spend the majority of their time.

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