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Survival on display

Read more...Canada's junior oil and gas sector is again the centrepiece of the EPAC Awards, proving rumours of its imminent demise are vastly exaggerated

A year ago, the goal of Gary Leach, president of the Explorers and Producers Association of Canada, in launching the EPAC Awards was to recognize the bread and butter of the Canadian oil and gas industry—the largely entrepreneurial junior and intermediate sector.

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Many eggs, one basket

Read more...Since Leduc No. 1, Alberta has tried—and largely failed—to diversify its economy. Does the province really need to develop a different economic model?

If Alberta's business community has a primal fear, then it's the prospect of an early death for the oil industry. Albertans have always felt self-conscious, if not a little guilty, about their vast resource wealth, in particular the oilsands. Hydrocarbon and non-hydrocarbon related downstream value-adding industries are considered under-developed, so what happens when one day the non-renewables run out, or get run out?

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Patient money

Read more...M&A activity could set new highs in 2015 on the back of distress sales

After a reasonably robust year of oil and gas deals in Canada, sub-$50 oil fell like a blanket of snow on the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) landscape, temporarily burying the hope that companies will agree on the value of any assets they wanted to sell. Private equity blew into town on the icy wind and took its place alongside cash-rich producers waiting to see what opportunities low commodity prices and expiring hedges would bring their way.

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Within reach

Read more...Public equity capital for Canadian producers has all but disappeared, but private cash is available for the right team

With oil prices down by 50 per cent from last summer and natural gas prices still weak, a large number of publicly listed Canadian junior and intermediate oil and gas producers have seen their share prices halved or more, and some are now little more than penny stocks. Still, there's a surprising sense of something close to optimism among analysts and financial experts who follow the sector.

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How low can it go?

With prices in free fall, the $64,000 ($23 billion) question is how far, and for how long?

Read more...First it was $80. Then $75. Then $50. Now there's talk from some corners that WTI might go as low as US$30/bbl before finding a bottom. And then begins the long, slow climb back to the new status quo, which most agree won't be anywhere near US$100/bbl.

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Silver lining

Canada's energy and political leadership could use the price crisis to rethink the resource economy

Read more...When good times roll, nobody likes a doomsayer preaching that the sky is falling. Likewise, during economic crises, you'll probably just earn ridicule if you point out how good things actually are. Yet, with all the gloom over low oil prices, maybe it's worthwhile to brighten things up for a moment and remember that it's usually a good exercise to look for the positive in the negative.

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Hedging the future

Read more...In a climate of price pessimism, selling forward is seen as a recipe for survival

All companies are not created equal. They work in similar environments and get clobbered by the same economic events, but their narratives are different. Consider, for example, how—or whether—they use forward hedges for risk management.

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