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Notley says Alberta will buy rail cars to move oil, wants Ottawa to chip in





Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said today her government is only weeks away from finalizing a purchase of rail cars to move oil and help close massive price gaps that have short-changed government coffers and Canadian oil producers.

She also said she wants the federal Liberal government to contribute financially to the plan.

“We’re not wasting any time,” Notley told a Canadian Club luncheon in Ottawa Wednesday, formally announcing the rail car purchase. “Alberta’s oil is going to flow one way or another — if not by pipelines, then by rail or by truck.

“Don’t mistake me — this is not the long-term answer … But until pipelines are built, we need to move more oil by rail.”

Notley said her government will buy two new unit trains that can transport an additional 120,000 barrels a day, increasing the amount of oil being moved by rail in Canada by a third. Notley said she hopes to announce the final details of the purchase agreement by year’s end.

Coca-Cola sells sugar-flavored water for more. We are essentially giving our oil away for free.– Alberta Premier Rachel Notley

The amount of oil shipped on Canada’s railways has reached record highs already, thanks to a bottleneck in pipeline capacity connecting Alberta’s oilsands to foreign markets.

The leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party, Jason Kenney, said the rail car purchase might be useful in the “midterm” but does little to help immediately close the price gap “crisis” that has left the energy industry “reeling.”

“In the dozens of meetings I’ve had with industry leaders over the last number of weeks, not a single one has raised the issue of the government buying rail cars,” Kenney told reporters in Edmonton. “We don’t have a year to wait at a $40 price differential. We have to take extraordinary action now.”

Instead, Kenney proposed Wednesday that the provincial government impose a “mandatory curtailment” on oil production — an even more aggressive step to shore up prices.

Kenney is pitching legislation that would force producers to cut total production by 10 per cent — the equivalent of 400,000 barrels of oil a day — to tighten supply and drive up prices.

“We are calling for a short-term, temporary measure that is well rooted in Alberta history, to save jobs and stop the giveaway of our greatest asset. It’s time to act and end the fire sale of Alberta oil,” said Kenney, a former federal Conservative minister.

Crude-by-rail at an all-time high

Canada transports several types of crude oil by rail to various destinations throughout North America. Most of it is shipped to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, where Canadian producers can fetch prices closer to the going ‘world’ rate, rather than the discounted rate offered by refineries in the U.S. Midwest.

While shipping crude by rail is typically far more expensive than transport by pipeline, it’s a flexible alternative for producers facing a dearth of pipeline space.

With the Trans Mountain expansion stalled and the Northern Gateway project shelved, Alberta’s producers have been forced to accept prices far below world levels for their oil.

Ninety-nine per cent of Canada’s oil exports are destined for the U.S. American refineries have been offering lower prices for that oil, knowing that Alberta producers have few options and are desperate to unload excess product.

Western Canadian Select, which includes product from the oilsands, trades at just $11.56 US — less than a quarter of the $51.49 that West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the U.S. gold standard, fetches on the open market. (These prices were current as of Wednesday.)

“Coca-Cola sells sugar-flavored water for more. We are essentially giving our oil away for free,” Notley said.

This price gap is costing the Canadian economy roughly $80 million a day, she said.

A BNSF Railway train hauls crude oil west of Wolf Point, Montana. Crude-by-rail shipments in Canada have seen an eight-fold increase since the Trans Mountain expansion project was first announced in April 2012. Much of the crude is destined for U.S. refineries. (Matthew Brown/AP Photo)

Notley said that while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals should be commended for buying the Trans Mountain project in a period of investor uncertainty, Ottawa now needs to partner with Alberta by helping to finance the rail car purchase.

“The federal government should be at the table on this. There’s no excuse for their absence. Either way, we will not allow delays to continue,” she said.

Notley said Alberta would go forward with the purchase even if the federal government decides not to help.

Notley said the additional oil-by-rail capacity would narrow the price gap by about $4 a barrel, generating an additional $1 million a day in federal revenue — suggesting the purchase price would be “fully recouped” through increased royalties and by selling shipping capacity to producers.


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Real Estate

The cost of renovating your bathroom in Toronto in 2021





Home renovations can be a big task, especially bathroom renovations where you have to work with either an awkwardly shaped space, or one with lots of pipework and very little natural light.

Nonetheless, getting a bathroom renovation by Easy Renovation to change your existing bathroom layout, improve the ambience or add more natural skylights can be worth all the trouble. But determining how much a bathroom renovation would cost is important while setting a budget.

The pandemic has changed a lot of things with social distancing rules, working from home, and for some, being made redundant. Therefore, having a complete grasp of the financial implication of a bathroom innovation is very important.

Owning your dream bathroom can be made a reality and the good thing is, regardless of your financial situation, there are always available options. If you also decide to put up your property for sale in the future, a bathroom upgrade would be a great investment—as it would add significant value to the property. Your bathroom renovation project, like every home renovation, can either be very affordable or extravagant, but one thing is certain, you’re bound to have a more refreshed, stylish and modernistic space.  

Looking through detailed sketches of luxurious and expensive bathrooms can be quite tempting, especially when you’re on a budget. However, your bathroom can be equally transformed into something that looks just as modern, stylish and refreshing but without the heavy price tag.

Conducting a partial bathroom renovation means you only have to change a little part of your existing bathroom rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. If you intend to carry out this type of bathroom renovation in Toronto, depending on the size of your bathroom, you can spend between $1,000 – $5,000. With a partial bathroom renovation, you can save money by tackling smaller problems that exist in your present bathroom—or you can just upgrade a few of its features.

Partial bathroom renovations are quite affordable and would leave your bathroom feeling new and stylish without being time-consuming or a financial burden—which is important considering the economic impact of the pandemic. Repainting the bathroom walls, replacing the tiles on the floor and in the shower area are examples of partial bathroom renovations which is the cheapest to accomplish.

A more expensive and popular bathroom renovation is the standard 3- or 4-piece renovation. This renovation type involves a lot more services that are not covered by a partial renovation budget. To execute a standard bathroom renovation in Toronto you need a budget of about $10,000 – $15,000.

Unlike with a partial renovation, you would have to make a lot more changes to various elements of your bathroom without the hassle of changing the overall design. You can easily restore your current bathroom into a modernistic and classy space that fits your existing style. Making changes to more aspects of your bathroom is quite easy since there is more room in your budget to accommodate it.

A standard 3- or 4-piece renovation includes everything in a partial renovation plus extras such as revamped baseboards, installing a new bathroom mirror, buying new lights, installing a new vanity, changing the toilet, and buying new shower fixtures.

If you’re one of those looking to make a complete overhaul of your existing bathroom, then the option of a complete bathroom remodel is for you.

Unlike a bathroom renovation, remodelling means a complete change of your current bathroom design and layout for one that is newer and completely unrecognizable. The possibilities when remodelling a bathroom are endless especially when you have a large budget of over $15,000. That way, you can get the opportunity to create the perfect bathroom for yourself.

In addition to all that’s available with a standard bathroom renovation, bathroom remodelling allows you to make bathtub to shower conversion, relocation of plumbing, relocation of the toilet, reframing the bathroom and even relocating the shower.

In conclusion, a bathroom renovation can be a very important upgrade to your home and depending on the features that you decide to include, in addition to the size of your bathroom, this would influence the total cost of the project.

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Real Estate

7 Tips For First-Time Home Buyers In Calgary





Buying a house for the first time can be overwhelming to say the least. If you’re wondering what neighbourhood to go with, what you can afford, or even how to just get started on the process, let us take some stress off your hands! We’ve teamed up with Hopewell Residential to give you 7 tips to ensure the home you end up with is everything you dreamed of.

Hopewell Residential is a five-time Developer of the Year award winner, so their expertise is second-to-none in Calgary and beyond. Who better to learn home-buying tips from than the homebuilders themselves?

Create a checklist of needs & wants

This is a biggie. When you’re buying your very first home, you’ll want to weigh your needs vs. your wants. Ensuring you have what you love in your first home is a big, big deal.

What should you do? Easy. Set up a list of needs and a list of wants, but be pretty strict with yourself, and make sure you take your lifestyle into consideration. With the increase in remote work over the past year, it’s important to keep in mind that a home office or flex room might just be the key to maximizing at home happiness. Especially if you’re thinking you might be expanding your family later on, spare rooms and extra space is key (but more on that later!).

Or for instance, you might need a home in an area with a high walkability score, but you want to be close to certain amenities. Set yourself up with the right level of compromise and the number of homes that actually fit your ‘perfect’ idea will skyrocket.

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Real Estate

‘Don’t give up’: Ottawa Valley realtors share statistics, tips for homebuyers in ‘extreme’ sellers market





The real estate market in the Ottawa Valley can be summed up this way: people from far and wide are in a buying frenzy, but there’s hardly anything to buy at the “store,” and the limited inventory is overpriced.

This “stampede” — as one realtor described it — will affect rural towns as residents grapple with finding affordable housing and agonize over their inability to purchase homes in their price range.

“We are seeing a lack of inventory in all price ranges,” said Laura Keller, a real estate agent from Carleton Place.

Helen Vincent, a Renfrew realtor, said she’s never seen a market like this in her 36 years of practice. “We postpone offers for four to five days in order to get all the buyers,” she said.

Multiple offers — between seven and 10 — became the norm, with cash offers and no conditions, as buyers faced bidding wars. “In Ottawa, they have up to 50 (offers),” she added.

“It’s very stressful. You’re going to get nine (people) ticked off, and one happy. So many people are disappointed,” Vincent said.

Terry Stavenow, an Arnprior realtor for 40 years, said that “the pent-up need took over with inventory going low. It made a stampede on everything that was available.“

“Brand new housing — it’s very much gone. Several building developers are rushing to get inventory. They usually don’t do construction in the winter months,” said Stavenow.

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