CANADA FX DEBT-C$ weaker as oil falls, investors weigh NAFTA talks

(Adds strategist comment, updates pricing) * Canadian dollar at C$1.2808, or 78.08 U.S. cents * Oil falls 0.8 percent * Bond prices lower across the yield curve By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Nov 20 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened against its U.S. counterpart on Monday as oil prices fell and investors focused on negotiations to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Oil, one of Canada's major exports, eased as traders were wary of betting too heavily on which way prices might move ahead of next week's meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. "The market may be shifting its collective attention more toward developments in crude prices," said Mazen Issa, senior foreign exchange strategist at TD Securities. Oil prices fell 0.8 percent. At 4 p.m. EST (2100 GMT), the Canadian dollar was down 0.3 percent at C$1.2808 to the greenback, or 78.08 U.S. cents. The currency traded in a narrow range of C$1.2756 to C$1.2816. "The other factor that will be pretty important will be retail sales later this week," Issa said. The Bank of Canada has said it will closely watch economic indicators when deciding next steps in monetary policy after raising interest rates twice so far this year. On Friday, the loonie touched a two-week low at C$1.2824 after tame inflation data tempered prospects the central bank would raise rates in the first quarter of 2018. People familiar with talks to update the 23-year-old NAFTA trade deal said Canada and Mexico planned on Monday to question U.S. demands around automotive content, underlining scant progress in the fifth of seven planned rounds of talks. "I don't think the currency is adequately reflecting that (NAFTA) risk," TD's Issa said. Speculators have cut bullish bets on the Canadian dollar, data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Reuters calculations showed on Friday. As of Tuesday, net long positions had slipped to 47,335 contracts from 50,889 a week earlier. In October, bullish bets had reached 76,392 contracts, their highest in five years. Canadian government bond prices were lower across the yield curve, with the two-year down 3.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.475 percent and the 10-year falling 15 Canadian cents to yield 1.956 percent. Canadian wholesale trade for September is due on Tuesday, and retail sales data for that month is set for release on Thursday. (Additional reporting by Fergal Smith Editing by Sandra Maler)


Keystone pipeline spill pushes oil higher, fuels TransCanada opponents

CALGARY, Alberta/LINCOLN, Neb. (Reuters) - A major oil spill on the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota helped push U.S. crude prices higher on Friday, while fueling opposition to another pipeline project by owner TransCanada Corp that faces a crunch decision in Nebraska next week.

The climb in U.S crude futures and slide in Canadian heavy crude prices, as well as TransCanada Corp shares, came the day after the 5,000 barrel spill, tied for this year’s largest pipeline leak in the United States.

No date has been set for reopening Keystone, TransCanada said, adding that a media report that had identified a restart date was incorrect.

The spill gave further ammunition to environmental groups and other U.S. opponents of another pipeline the company has proposed, the long-delayed Keystone XL.

 Keystone carries 590,000 barrels per day of crude from Alberta’s oil sands to markets in the United States. The state of Nebraska was set to decide on Monday whether to approve Keystone XL.

On Thursday, Calgary, Alberta-based TransCanada said it had contained the leak in the town of Amherst, South Dakota, and was investigating the cause. It said the pipeline will be shut until it gets approval to restart from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

“It’s not a tiny spill by any means,” said Kim McIntosh, environmental scientist manager at the South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources. McIntosh said it may take longer than usual for the company to determine the extent of contamination, a process that usually takes days.

The last Keystone pipeline spill recorded was about 400 barrels of oil in Hutchinson County, South Dakota, in April 2016. “The 2016 release took around 10 months to clean up; this will take longer,” said McIntosh. “I can’t predict whether it will take 20 months or 12 months.”

In Nebraska, Keystone XL opponents seized on the spill as an example of its environmental risks.

“Pipelines are basically plumbing; and plumbing leaks. It comes as no surprise,” said Tom Genung, who lives near the proposed Keystone XL route in Holt County, Nebraska.

The Nebraska Public Service Commission, or PSC, is scheduled to announce a decision on Monday on Keystone XL. Its decision focuses narrowly on whether the pipeline is in the public interest, and not on environmental issues, which it is not allowed to consider.

Art Tanderup’s family farm in Neligh, Nebraska, lies in the path of the 830,000 bpd Keystone XL project. He said the proposed XL pipeline would be built over huge swaths of porous, sand-like soil atop the Ogallala aquifer, putting farmers and ranchers at risk of water contamination if a spill occurs.

”We would have so much crud and chemicals in the Ogallala aquifer that we could never clean up,” he said.

TransCanada shares closed down 0.9 percent on the Toronto Stock Exchange at C$62.54.

The South Dakota spill ties with January’s spill from the Seaway pipeline near Trenton, Texas, for the largest U.S. crude oil pipeline spill in 2017, U.S. data showed.

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said the company is assisting with the storage of crude in Hardisty, where Keystone originates, and that it regrets the impact caused to customers.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude ended up $1.41, or 2.6 percent, at $56.55 a barrel. Traders said the shut-in would add to bullish sentiment due to fewer barrels going into Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point of the WTI contract. The WTI prompt spread (CLc1-CLc2) narrowed by as much as 8 cents.

If the pipeline is shut for a week, it would affect at least 2 million barrels of crude going into Cushing, according to estimates by traders. The pipeline also brings oil into Patoka, Illinois.

Export pipeline shutdowns also pressure the price of Canadian crude because barrels get bottle-necked in Alberta.

The discount for Western Canada Select for January delivery in Hardisty, Alberta, widened to $16.00 per barrel below the West Texas Intermediate benchmark, according to Shorcan Energy brokers. On Thursday, January barrels settled at $15.50 per barrel below U.S. crude.

Additional reporting by Ethan Lou in Calgary, Alberta, Valerie Volcovici in Washington and Catherine Ngai in New York; Editing by David Gregorio


CANADA FX DEBT-C$ drops to one-week low as oil and stocks slide

* Canadian dollar at C$1.2765, or 78.34 U.S. cents * Loonie touches its weakest since Nov. 7 at C$1.2789 * Oil falls for fourth straight day * Bond prices higher across a flatter yield curve By Alastair Sharp TORONTO, Nov 15 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar weakened to a one-week low against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday as oil and stocks fell and investors weighed trade uncertainties ahead of fresh NAFTA talks. At 4 p.m. ET (2100 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading at C$1.2765 to the greenback, or 78.34 U.S. cents, down 0.3 percent. "There was modest Canadian dollar weakness on the day," said Eric Theoret, currency strategist at Scotiabank, citing nervousness in the market ahead of the latest round of NAFTA negotiations. The Mexican peso meanwhile hit its weakest against the greenback since March before paring some losses. On Tuesday, Canada launched a NAFTA challenge of a U.S. decision earlier this month to impose duties on softwood lumber exports from its northern neighbor. NAFTA working groups are due to begin meeting from Wednesday in Mexico. Talks will begin on Friday and continue through Nov. 21. The Canadian currency's strongest level of the session was C$1.2714, while it touched its weakest since Nov. 7 at C$1.2789. Prices of oil, one of Canada's major exports, slipped for a fourth day on a gloomy outlook for oil demand growth from the International Energy Agency. World stocks registered their longest losing streak in eight months, while the U.S. dollar recovered early losses against a basket of major currencies as U.S. data boosted expectations for further Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. "For us, it's still a spread story rather than a commodity story," Theoret said, pointing to a widening gap between higher yields on U.S. two-years bonds versus their Canadian equivalents. Less stimulus will be required over time but the Bank of Canada will remain cautious as it considers future interest rate moves, Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Wilkins said, reiterating the central bank's recent dovish tone. Wilkins will speak about monetary policy amid uncertainty on Wednesday evening in New York. Canada's manufacturing sales data for September is due on Thursday and an October inflation report will be released on Friday. "For Canada, the vulnerability would be to an upward surprise" in inflation, Theoret said, given the weakening trend in the currency since September's surprise Bank of Canada decision to hike rates. Canadian government bond prices were higher across the yield curve, with the two-year rising 2.5 Canadian cents to yield 1.448 percent and the 10-year up 31 Canadian cents to yield 1.914 percent. In domestic data, resales of Canadian homes rose 0.9 percent in October from September, the third straight monthly rise. (Additional reporting by Fergal Smith; Editing by Bernadette Baum and James Dalgleish)


CANADA STOCKS-TSX falls as lower oil prices weigh on energy stocks

* TSX down 86.41 points, or 0.54 percent, to 15,939.85

* Nine of the TSX’s 10 main groups move lower

TORONTO, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Canada’s main stock index fell on Tuesday, as a third day of falling oil prices put pressure on the heavyweight energy sector, while financial and mining stocks also pulled the index further from the all-time high it hit earlier this month.

The energy group retreated 1.4 percent as rising U.S. output pushed oil prices down, with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd losing 1.8 percent to C$45.05 and Suncor Energy Inc off 0.9 percent at C$45.81.

Cenovus Energy Inc, which said on Monday it had reached a deal to sell its Weyburn oil facility for C$940 million ($737 million), fell 1.7 percent to C$13.70.

At 10:06 a.m. ET (1506 GMT), the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was down 86.41 points, or 0.54 percent, at 15,939.85. Nine of the index’s 10 main groups were in negative territory, with three decliners for every advancer.

Premium Brands Holdings Corp shed 7.3 percent to C$94.38 after it reported earnings and revenue that missed expectations and reduced its 2017 organic volume growth forecast.

On the other side of the ledger, Bombardier Inc advanced 2.3 percent to C$3.13 after saying it expects to finalize two recently-announced orders for its CSeries jets by the end of the year.

DHX Media Ltd rose 7.2 percent to C$4.19 after the media content company’s earnings beat expectations.

The financials group lost 0.4 percent, with Brookfield Asset Management Inc down 2.5 percent at C$52.40.

The materials group, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.3 percent. Diversified miner Teck Resources Ltd fell 2.3 percent to C$27.17.

U.S. crude prices lost 1.6 percent to $55.84 a barrel, while Brent lost 1.7 percent to $62.09.

Gold futures were little changed while copper prices declined 1.9 percent to $6,762 a tonne.


UPDATE 1-Cenovus posts smaller loss as production more than doubles

Nov 2 (Reuters) - Canadian oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc reported a smaller third-quarter loss on Thursday as its purchase of ConocoPhillips' Canadian oil-sands assets more than doubled production.

Total production rose to 590,851 barrels of oil equivalent per day from 273,405 boed a year earlier.

Cenovus paid $13.3 billion in March to buy ConocoPhillips' Canadian oil sands assets. The company trimmed its full-year spending by C$100 million, saying it would not impact production in its core areas.

Cenovus said it continues to target C$4 billion to C$5 billion in asset sales in 2017.

Net loss narrowed to C$69 million ($53.76 million), or 6 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept 30 from a loss of C$251 million, or 30 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Third-quarter loss includes a charge of C$440 million related to the sale of its Pelican Lake assets. ($1 = 1.2836 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)


UPDATE 2-Canadian Natural commits to shipping more crude on Keystone XL pipeline

CALGARY, Alberta, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd has increased its volume commitment on TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline by about 46 percent to 175,000 barrels per day (bpd), Canadian Natural President Steve Laut told Reuters on Thursday.

The bigger commitment from one of Canada’s largest oil and gas producers will be a boon to TransCanada, at a time when Canadian pipeline companies are trying to push through new projects in the face of fierce environmental opposition and concerns about slowing oil sands growth.

TransCanada’s open season to gauge interest from producers wanting to ship on the 830,000 bpd pipeline ended last week.

The company has not released the results or said what volumes it would need to push ahead with the project. Canada’s two other biggest energy producers Suncor Energy and Cenovus Energy have said they are committed shippers on Keystone XL, without disclosing contracted volumes.

Canadian Natural is growing its oil sands operations after completing an expansion at its Horizon project in northern Alberta, which will add 80,000 bpd of production.

Keystone XL would transport crude from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest but has been delayed for eight years by regulatory hurdles. U.S. President Donald Trump this year granted a presidential permit for the pipeline, reversing a rejection by the Obama administration.

Oil prices have been in a deep slump since 2014, prompting Canadian producers to scale back plans for growth and fuelling speculation that TransCanada could struggle to get enough shippers to support Keystone XL.

TransCanada Chief Executive Officer Russ Girling said in May that lower oil prices and alternative export routes were complicating shipper negotiations.

Bloomberg, citing sources, reported on Thursday that TransCanada had asked the Alberta government to buy capacity on the pipeline.

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha declined to comment on the Bloomberg report, adding that it “will spend the fourth quarter reviewing the commercial support of the project.”

Alberta government spokesman Mike McKinnon did not comment on the Bloomberg report but said the government supported all pipeline projects and had not ruled out any options.

“We make decisions on a project-by-project basis, weighing all economic considerations,” McKinnon added.

Last month TransCanada scrapped its proposed 1.1 million bpd Energy East pipeline from Alberta to Canada’s east coast amid mounting regulatory hurdles.

The Alberta government receives royalties in the form of barrels of bitumen from some producers and had been signed up to ship 100,000 bpd on Energy East. (Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Andrew Hay, Meredith Mazzilli and David Gregorio)


Canada oil, gas drilling to pick up in 2018: industry body

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian oil and gas drilling activity will climb 5 percent in 2018 as a gradual uptick in crude prices gives rise to cautious optimism among producers, an industry body forecast on Tuesday.

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC) expects energy firms to drill 7,900 wells next year, up from 7,550 in 2017. The biggest increase in activity will be in Canada’s main crude oil and gas-producing province of Alberta.

Based on PSAC’s forecast, next year will be the busiest for drilling since 2014, when oil prices crashed because of global oversupply.

The 2018 estimate is still 30 percent below 2014 well totals, highlighting the slow speed of recovery. U.S. crude prices are hovering just under $55 a barrel CLc1, well below early 2014 prices of above $100.

“For 2018, confidence that oil will stay in the low-to-mid $50 range as markets tighten and inventories reduce, along with growing interest in Canada’s vast liquids rich natural gas, should support a 4 to 5 percent increase in activity levels,” PSAC president Mark Salkeld said in a statement.

He also called for more export pipelines to ship Canadian oil and gas to market, warning that TransCanada Corp’s (TRP.TO) recent decision to cancel its Energy East project was a blow to investor confidence.

Reporting by Nia Williams, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

Cenovus names TransCanada veteran Pourbaix as new CEO

(Reuters) - Canadian oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc (CVE.N) (CVE.TO) on Monday named Alex Pourbaix, formerly of pipeline company TransCanada Corp (TRP.TO), as its new chief executive, tapping another leader without direct technical experience even as some investors and analysts were expecting change.

Cenovus, which focuses on Canada’s high-cost oil sands, said in June it would replace Chief Executive Brian Ferguson after investors rejected his rationale for a C$17 billion ($13.3 billion) deal to buy ConocoPhillips (COP.N) assets.

Pourbaix, 52, held various positions at TransCanada, Canada’s No. 2 pipeline operator, before retiring as its chief operating officer in May.

Pourbaix, who received a law degree from the University of Alberta, would become the company’s second chief executive without a technical background when his appointment takes effect on Nov. 6. His predecessor, Ferguson, was an accountant by training.

“Investors may be surprised that Cenovus has appointed a CEO without direct upstream oil and gas (or in-situ oil sands) experience,” Royal Bank of Canada analyst Greg Pardy said in response to the naming of Pourbaix.

Cenovus shares were down as much as 1 percent at C$12.27 on Monday before trading midday at C$12.37, down 0.2 percent. Other oil companies traded in the positive.

The company’s shares plunged after the ConocoPhillips deal and hit a record low of C$9.11, losing about half their value, after Ferguson announced his departure in June.

Pourbaix said in a statement he looked forward to developing the assets bought from ConocoPhillips and reducing debt through sales, a path for the company charted by Ferguson.

National Bank of Canada analysts said in a note: “We do not believe that Alex’s arrival will have a material impact on the company’s strategy.”

Reporting by John Benny in Bangalore and Ethan Lou in Calgary, Alberta; Editing by Martina D'Couto and Steve Orlofsky


Imperial Oil posts smaller quarterly profit

Oct 27 (Reuters) - Canadian oil producer and refiner Imperial Oil Ltd on Friday reported a smaller quarterly profit from a year ago when it realized a C$716 million gain from the sale of some its retail sites.

The company reported a net profit of C$371 million ($287.80 million), or 44 Canadian cents per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, from C$1 billion, or C$1.18 per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue and other income fell to C$7.16 billion from C$7.44 billion as production fell marginally. ($1 = 1.2891 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Karan Nagarkatti; Editing by Arun Koyyur)


UPDATE 1-Worker killed at Suncor's Millennium oil sands mine

By Nia Williams


CALGARY, Alberta, Oct 20 (Reuters) - A contractor was killed in an incident at Suncor Energy’s Millennium oil sands mine near Fort McMurray, northern Alberta, on Friday morning, a Suncor spokeswoman said.

The worker, who was a contractor for Aecon Group Inc , was involved in excavation activities in one area of Suncor’s 350,000 barrel per day base plant site, spokeswoman Sneh Seetal said.

There were no other injuries and production has not been affected.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the person’s family, friends and co-workers during this difficult time. We have initiated grief counselling activities for people on site,” Seetal added.

The contractor was somehow buried while involved in the trenching work and succumbed to the injuries, Alberta Labour spokesman Trent Bancarz said.

Alberta Labour’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)investigators are on site and a stop-work order has been put in place where the incident occurred.

Aecon Group chief executive John Beck expressed his condolences in a statement and said the company would work closely with Alberta OHS and launch a thorough investigation.

The Wood Buffalo region Royal Canadian Mounted Police were called in to assist emergency services, and have not yet identified the victim. (Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Andrew Hay)


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