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A New Era For Canadian Oil And Gas, For Better Or Worse

A New Era For Canadian Oil And Gas, For Better Or Worse

Canadian voters kicked out the conservative government in the October 19 election, a party that had been in power for a decade. Polls had predicted a slight lead for the Liberal Party, but in a surprise result, the Liberals actually won a majority of seats in parliament and will form a majority government. Most analysts had expected the Liberal Party would have had to form a coalition government, but many voters appeared to strategically vote for the frontrunner in order to ensure a loss for the conservatives. The new government of Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau will almost certainly be much less friendly to the oil and gas industry in Canada, though to what extent remains uncertain. Trudeau opposes Enbridge’s (NYSE: ENB) Northern Gateway Pipeline, but also backs TransCanada’s (NYSE: TRP) Keystone XL Pipeline – the latter of which could be blocked by the U.S. government. More will be known in the coming weeks. However, one clear promise from Trudeau was his plan to engage in deficit spending to goose the economy through higher investments in infrastructure.

The U.S. Department of Interior cancelled two lease sales for the Arctic, effectively ruling out new drilling for several years. The agency said that there was almost no interest from potential buyers for acreage in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas, so it decided to scrap the lease sales. The move follows the decision from Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.A) to abandon Arctic drilling, and without any other companies positioned to move forward, offshore drilling in the U.S. Arctic may not happen for years. In addition to cancelling the lease sales, the Obama administration also denied a request from Statoil (NYSE: STO) and Shell to allow an extension of their leases. They are set to expire in 2017 (Beaufort Sea) and 2020 (Chukchi Sea).

 

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