Energy projects like an LNG Canada export terminal and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion may face short-term setbacks but the coronavirus pandemic and oil price crash shouldn’t threaten their long-term viability, economists say.
Andrew Leach, an energy economist at the University of Alberta, said the long-term forecast for both natural gas and oil remains steady, even as some companies scale back workforces to meet safety protocols.
“I think the consensus amongst most people is that there isn’t a big impact of what we’re seeing right now beyond the timeline of the pandemic and the recovery,” he said.
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Global oil prices recently plunged amid oversupply concerns as storage tanks near capacity while refineries are reducing output as economic activity slows during the pandemic. The low prices have forced some producers to cut production in Canada’s oilpatch.
Werner Antweiler, an energy economist at the University of British Columbia, said the oil industry is facing a “double whammy” of a global decrease in demand coupled with a Saudi Arabia-Russia price war. A recent agreement by OPEC and other countries to reduce production doesn’t go far enough to balance supply with falling demand, he said.
But pipelines face slightly different market forces than the producers who fill them. There may be increased pressure on pipelines as Canadian producers seek to get oil to markets at the best price possible, while the spectre of American protectionism could also increase the pressure to get Canadian oil to Asian refineries if U.S. ones becomes unavailable, Antweiler said.
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Trans Mountain said in a statement that construction on the expansion project is progressing well at its terminals and along the right-of-way in B.C. and Alberta with COVID-19 safety measures in place.
Current oil prices don’t have a direct impact on the project, the company said. Its customers have made 15- and 20-year commitments for roughly 80 per cent of the capacity in the expanded pipeline. It’s still due to come into service in late 2022, the statement said.
The existing Trans Mountain pipeline operated at its maximum capacity for the first quarter of 2020, the company said.
LNG Canada has reduced its workforce to manage the risk of spreading COVID-19, director of corporate affairs Susannah Pierce said in a statement. But the company and its engineering procurement and construction contractor, JGC Fluor JV, continue to hit “critical construction milestones,” she said.
Antweiler said liquefied natural gas has a good long-term outlook because of the ongoing switch from coal to gas globally and the increase in demand for energy in Asia.
“These two things, they will continue once the economy returns to normal.”
In the case of Coastal GasLink, the 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline that would feed LNG Canada’s export terminal on the B.C. coast, the pandemic may never rival the disruption earlier this year by its opponents, Leach said.
Construction on most projects that are underway could be vulnerable to disruptions caused by outbreaks but otherwise appear to be continuing at status quo. Leach biked through a Trans Mountain construction zone in Edmonton on Thursday and it seemed unchanged, he said.
“It feels like it’s going full speed ahead,” he said.
A pipeline like Trans Mountain, which is regulated by the Canadian Energy Regulator, is not a commercial venture in the sense that it doesn’t take full merchant risk and has bounds on the tolls it can charge. It’s also largely able to pass any extra costs on to producers, Leach said.
“They can’t charge whatever the market will bear at any point of time and as a consequence of that they also have some protection for their capital investments,” Leach said.
The wildcard project is Keystone XL for several reasons, including that it doesn’t have all its permits and is not materially under construction, he said.
“It’s relatively early in the process and the cross-border nature of it, the length of it, all these sorts of things make it more challenging in the current market. So that’s probably one of the projects that is most likely to be affected,” Leach said.
TC Energy, which owns the project, did not respond to a request for comment.
While some have mused that the oil price plunge signalled the beginning of the end for oil, Leach and Antweiler don’t buy it.
It would take broad public policy shifts or an energy technology revolution to stimulate a mass shift away from oil dependency. If anything, Leach said physical distancing habits could discourage drivers from making the switch to public transit, for example.
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“I’d love to see the oil industry fade away more quickly than it will, but as an energy economist I still know we depend on oil for transportation,” Antweiler said.
He said he expects demand for oil to remain stable for the next few years and it will be up to countries around the world to curb demand through policy until cleaner options become more cost effective.
“There will be potentially a reduction in demand for oil but it won’t be as fast as some hope,” he said.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
AIB agrees to life and pensions joint-venture with Canada Life
Allied Irish Banks on Wednesday said it would form a joint venture with Canada life as it seeks to plug gaps in its life, savings and wealth products.
The joint venture will be equally owned by Canada Life, a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco Inc.
“The move to create this joint venture is aligned with AIB’s stated ambition to complete its customerproduct suite and diversify income,” AIB said in a statement.
“Through this strategic initiative AIB intends to offer customers a range of life protection, pensions, savings and investment options enhanced by integrated digital solutions withcontinued access to our qualified financial advisors.”
The Irish lender highlighted Canada Life’s “deep experience” of the Irish bancassurance market through Irish Life Assurance, which is also a subsidiary of Great-West Lifeco.
AIB currently operates under a tied agency distribution agreement with Irish Life, and will enter into a new distribution agreement with the new joint venture company.
Chief Executive Colin Hunt highlighted the need to plug gaps in AIB’s life, savings and wealth products when he set out the bank’s medium-term targets last December.
AIB expects its equity investment in the joint venture will be around 90 million euros ($107.51 million), equating to around 10bps of CET1.($1 = 0.8372 euros)
(Reporting by Graham Fahy;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
Interac: Canada’s Latest Payment Solution Phenomenon
Few can argue that digital payment methods aren’t central to modern-day society. In recent times, increasing numbers of payment solutions have come to the forefront, offering consumers more choice regarding their transaction preferences. Canada, in particular, has embraced a wide-ranging selection of secure, forward-thinking options. Of those available throughout the country, Interac has piqued the interests of local consumers the most. So, let’s look at why this payment solution is an especially popular option throughout Canada.
Usable Across Various Markets
It speaks volumes about Interac’s versatility in that it’s usable across a variety of different industries. Since being founded in 1984, the Canadian interbank network has become integral to numerous markets, including local air travel. Air Canada, which has been operating since 1937, has expanded their accepted payment methods, and now passengers can pay for their flights using Interac. According to the airline’s official website, the Interac Online service lets consumers pay for their tickets via the internet directly from their bank account.
Not only that, but Interac is also available at Walmart. In November 2020, the two organizations partnered together to expand in-store and online payment options. Walmart has adapted well to the digital trend, with American Banker reporting that they’ve opened Interac Flash sale points throughout their stores.
Aside from the above, Interac has also taken the digital world by storm. Following its rapid rise to prominence, the solution has also altered the online casino industry, with platforms like Genesis Casino now accepting the transaction type. The provider, which features Interac Canadian casino options, uses the popular payment method to enhance transaction speeds of deposits and withdrawals, as well as security. Players can use Interac Online and Interac e-Transfer to make deposits or withdrawals from their desktops or mobiles as the platform is fully optimized.
A Reflection of Modern-Day Society
In recent times, Interac recorded a 55 percent increase in transactions between April and August 2020 compared to the same period the previous year, as per BNN Bloomberg. These figures somewhat reflect the current state of e-Commerce and modern consumerism. Following the rise of Interac and other payment methods, it’s now less troublesome for consumers to complete in-store and online purchases.
There’s an ever-growing perception that land-based businesses need to adapt within the digital era and accept forward-thinking payment methods. According to Cision, Interac is of utmost importance to the Canadian economy, and a year-on-year increase in Interac Debit payments of 333 percent reflects that. Not only that, but Interac e-Transfer payments are growing at 52 percent each year. This Interac-oriented trend appears unlikely to fade over the coming years, with the network being selected as the country’s provider for a new real-time payment system, as per Lexology.
Consumer Habits are Changing
There can be no doubt that consumerism has changed drastically over the past decade. The popularity of Interac suggests that a cashless future may be on the horizon, with increasing numbers of shoppers enjoying the security of online payment methods. While it’s currently unclear if that will happen, Interac appears to be prevalent for the long run.
Your Education and Certificates Need to Align the Job Requirements
After your professional experience, your education/certifications (verified skills) will be the next section on your resume the reader will use to judge whether you go into the “to be interviewed” pile.
Many job seekers apply to job postings knowing they don’t have the education/certification requirements. They believe their “experience” will compensate. With so many highly qualified job seekers now on the job market this is rarely the case. If your education/certifications align with the job requirements, the education section of your resume will play a critical part in setting you apart from all the “spray and pray” job seekers.
Suppose a job posting for a Director of Finance lists as a qualification “Canadian Accounting Designation (CPA).” You have a university degree and 15 years of experience managing a mid-size company’s finances, but no CPA—don’t bother applying. Job postings generate an influx of applicants. Undoubtedly there’ll be many applicants who possess a CPA applying. There’s also the employer’s ATS to consider, which likely has been programmed to scan for “CPA.”
Education background information you should provide:
- Degree/certification obtained
- School’s name
- Location of school
- Period of attendance
- Relevant coursework
- Honors, academic recognition, extracurricular activities, or organizations participation worth mentioning
When it comes to presenting your educational background keep your ego in check. You may have impressive education background; however, it may not be impressive for the job you’re vying for. Prioritize relevancy over perceived prestige.
Here’s my suggestion how to present your education/certificates (there’s no hard formatting rule):
BS Biomedical Science
University of Calgary, Calgary, AB — 09/1992 – 06/1996
- Principles of Human Genetics
- Organismal Biology
- Principles and Mechanisms of Pharmacology
- Advanced Bioinformatics
Ryerson University Continuing Education, Toronto, ON — 10/2001 – 04/2003
- Planning and Scheduling
- Leadership in Project Management
- Project Cost and Procurement Management
- Project Risk and Quality Management
As I’ve pointed out in previous columns— there’s no universal hiring methodology. No two hiring managers assess candidates the same way. Depending on the job requirements respective employers search for different things when it comes to a candidate’s education. Read the qualifications in the job posting carefully. Then present your education/credentials accordingly. Don’t hesitate to add/remove courses to better tie in your education towards the job. It’s for this reason I suggest you list courses, not just your degree/certification. Listing of courses is rarely done, doing so will give your resume a competitive advantage.
You’ll have noticed my examples indicated start and end dates. Many “career experts” advise against this. The thinking being dates, even just the graduation year, will give employer’s a sense of your age, which if your over 45 can hinder and prolong your job search. This advice is supposed to be a workaround to ageism. However, these same “career experts” unanimously agree employment dates (month/year) need to be indicated. To me, this is a mixed message.
I believe in complete transparency from both sides of the hiring process. Full transparency ensures the likelihood of there being a solid fit for both parties. At some point, whether when the employer checks your digital footprint or interviews you, your interviewer will have a good indication of your age. Besides, not mentioning dates, which I call “obvious” information, is a red flag.
If your age is a deal-breaker with an employer, they aren’t the employer for you. The job search advice I give most often: Seek employers who’ll most likely accept you, where you’ll feel you belong—look for your tribe.
Some professions, such as finance or healthcare, require specific certifications or degrees. In such cases, show you have the necessary “must-have” (a deal-breaker if you don’t) credentials by placing your education at the top of the page just below your contact information before your professional experience.
One last note: Often overlooked is education in progress. If relevant, this should be included in your resume. In this case, list pertinent courses and the month/year you intend to graduate.
Using suggestions in this and previous columns you are now able to create a resume that “WOWs.” Next week, I’m going to begin discussing cover letters. Yes, many hiring managers, like myself, do read cover letters, which have one purpose—to give the reader a reason to read your resume.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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