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Western oil price rally unlikely to last after curtailments begin: expert panel

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It’s unlikely a dramatic improvement in western Canadian oil prices since Alberta announced forced production curtailments two weeks ago will continue after the cuts begin on Jan. 1, 2019, a panel of experts agreed Thursday.

The difference between Western Canadian Select bitumen-blend heavy oil and New York-traded West Texas Intermediate oil prices had widened to as much as $52 US a barrel in October before recovering to about $25.50 US on Dec. 3, the day after the announcement by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley.

The differential tightened to as little as $10.25 US on Tuesday this week and was flat at $12.25 US on Thursday for barrels to be delivered in January, according to Calgary trader Net Energy.

That’s actually slightly lower than what analysts consider a normal or typical discount based on transportation costs and the difference in quality between WCS and WTI.

“I expect there’s going to be a lot of variance in the short-term over the next couple of months where the price bumps around trying to seek what its natural level should be,” said Kent Fellows, research associate in energy and environmental policy at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, after a panel discussion on the topic in downtown Calgary.

“I would not expect the differential to stay as low as it was on Tuesday.”

Audience member Gordon Tulk argued that Alberta has surrendered to pipeline opponents by reducing production and will be forced to extend cuts beyond the program’s end date because the federal government’s Bill C-69 to revamp the National Energy Board will make it impossible to build new pipelines.

“We are surrendering to the federal government and the powers that are pushing the federal government politically,” he said later, adding the curtailments amount to the province “kneecapping” its own industry.

“We’ve now put a ceiling on our production,” he said.

Economist Trevor Tombe says “curtailing forever makes no sense at all.” (Mike Symington/CBC)

But the panellists disagreed, with Trevor Tombe, assistant economics professor at the School of Public Policy, pointing out the province’s goal is for a modest $4 US per barrel improvement in 2019 and it has set a firm end date of Dec. 31, 2019, for the curtailment program.

“Curtailing forever makes no sense at all,” he said.

“Curtailing to avoid shipping out on expensive transportation modes (like rail or truck) makes sense … It’s better not to ship today and ship tomorrow on a new pipeline.”

Current prices in Western Canada are based on speculation about what the market will look like in January and that will change, said Grant Bishop, associate director of research for the C.D. Howe Institute.

He said it’s unclear how much of the wide price differentials over the past several months was caused by flaws in the way Canada allocates tight pipeline space, for instance, adding those factors may continue to influence prices even as production falls.

Alberta is depending on the federal government to show more leadership on the pipeline file and clarify what Bill C-69 will look like when implemented, said panellist Marla Orenstein, natural resources director for the Canada West Foundation.

Market access for Alberta crude is expected to improve when Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 replacement project starts up in late 2019. Two other pipelines, the Trans Mountain expansion and the Keystone XL project, are both in limbo after being stalled by court decisions in Canada and the U.S.

Crude-by-rail shipments reached a record high of 270,000 barrels per day in September. Tombe said predictions that they could grow to as much as 700,000 bpd next year are unlikely now because the production cuts will reduce the need.

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Couple from Toronto buys dream home in Mushaboom

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MUSHABOOM – A couple who lived and raised a family in downtown Toronto developed a five-year plan in 2015 to purchase their dream home.

In September they moved into the home – located on Malagash Island in Mushaboom on Nova Scotia’s stunning Eastern Shore – that met and exceeded their best dreams for their retirement.

The Camerons, Bruce and Tanya, decided in 2019 they would explore the Maritimes to see what real estate was available to become their potential retirement home. In the spring of 2020, during a global pandemic, the real estate boom hit their city, and they were hearing the same for Nova Scotia. Our province was their first-choice for attaining their desire for an entirely different lifestyle – away from the busyness of the city.

“We had $300,000 to $350,000 as a home value in mind to buy. Our semi-detached located off Danforth in Toronto was priced at $850,000. We wanted to come out ahead, so we would be secure in retirement,” Tanya said.

Their century-old home had prime location near the subway and GO Transit Line for a great 13-minute commute downtown.

“We enjoyed our community,” explains Bruce “… we had great neighbours, young children around and street parties – lots of social activity.”

Bruce says, “Our agent suggested a starting quote of $899,000. We did not do any renovations and only some staging. Fifty couples went through and we received four significant offers. Six days later we sold – with zero conditions – and a price of over a million dollars. We just requested a closing of September 2020 to get the kids off to school – which we got.”

The couple got more than they had anticipated.

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Rabobank Announces Leadership Changes in U.S., Canadian Offices

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NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Rabobank, the leading global food and agribusiness bank, has appointed two of its top executives, Tamira Treffers-Herrera and Robert Sinescu, to become Co-Heads of North American Client Coverage, positioning the Bank for future growth in the region.

Treffers-Herrera has also assumed the role of Vice Chairperson and Head of the Atlanta office, where she additionally oversees Rabobank Mexico, which is led by Eduardo Palacios. Sinescu is the Head of the Chicago office, and also oversees Rabobank Canada, led by Marc Drouin, who was recently appointed as Canada’s General Manager.

Treffers-Herrera and Sinescu report to David Bassett, Head of Wholesale Banking North America, the Bank’s corporate and investment banking business for the region based in New York.

“Both Tamira and Robert have a demonstrated history of strong leadership, operational excellence and passion for our clients,” Bassett said. “Their broad experience and deep sector expertise will be invaluable in delivering dynamic results for clients while accelerating our growth trajectory in North America.”

Each office will have an even greater focus on key Food & Agribusiness sectors and clients: The Chicago office will drive growth in sectors including Dairy, Farm Inputs and Grains & Oilseeds, which are also key areas of focus for the Canada office. The Atlanta office will focus heavily on sectors such as Animal Protein, Beverages, Sugar, and Supply Chains, which are important sectors in Mexico as well.

“Rabobank is fully committed to our clients throughout North America, and we believe our new sector-focused coverage will improve our ability to provide knowledge-based, value-added solutions that benefit our clients,” Bassett said.

Treffers-Herrera was most recently based in London as CEO of Rabobank’s European Region from 2016-2020, where she took the organization through Brexit. Prior to that, she worked in the Atlanta office from 2002-2016. During her tenure in Atlanta, Treffers-Herrera served as Global Sector Head – Consumer Food & Beverages, and prior to that she was a senior banker for a portfolio of large beverage and consumer foods clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Arts from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and has studied at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Harvard Business School.

Sinescu has been with Rabobank for over 21 years and was previously General Manager of Rabobank Canada, where he oversaw all operations, business development, commercial strategy and relationships with regulators. In addition, he continues to serve as CEO of Rabo Securities Canada Inc. Prior to Canada, he was a senior banker, Head of Corporate Banking, European Sector Head for Sugar, and a member of the Management Team for Rabobank France. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the Bucharest School of Business, a Master of Business Administration & Management and a Master of Science in Banking and Corporate Finance from Sorbonne University in Paris, and has studied at Brown University.

Drouin has worked with Rabobank’s Canadian team for more than nine years and most recently served as a senior banker, Head of Rabobank Canada’s AgVendor Program and a member of Rabobank Canada’s Management Team. He brings extensive wholesale banking experience within the Dairy, G&O, CPG and Supply Chain sectors. Drouin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration in International Finance, Marketing and Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

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Greybrook Realty Partners & Marlin Spring Brand Jointly Owned Asset Manager – Greyspring Apartments

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TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Greybrook Realty Partners and Marlin Spring are pleased to announce the new branding of their jointly owned investment and asset management firm, Greyspring Apartments. With a portfolio of more than 2,000 units and CAD$375 million in assets under management, Greyspring Apartments is focused on the acquisition and repositioning of multi-family assets throughout Canada.

The new name and branding is an important step in Greyspring’s evolution as an independent operating business. Formed in 2018 by long standing-partners Marlin Spring and Greybrook Realty Partners, Greyspring Apartments was established with the goal of building a leading asset management firm with a robust portfolio of residential rental real estate assets in primary and secondary markets across Canada.

Greyspring’s talented team of real estate, asset management and finance professionals is overseen and guided by the Management Board, whose members include Benjamin Bakst, CEO, Marlin Spring; Elliot Kazarnovksy, CFO, Marlin Spring; Sasha Cucuz, CEO, Greybrook Securities Inc.; Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Chris Salapoutis, President & COO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Ashi Mathur, President, Marlin Spring; and Karl Brady. In addition to his role on the Management Board, Karl Brady leads Greyspring Apartments as its President. 

“We are pleased to announce the official name and branding of a business we formed with our partners at Marlin Spring a few years ago,” said Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners. “Greyspring has been diligently focused on the execution of strategic value-add programs across its portfolio that are improving the quality of housing for tenants and overall asset values. For Greybrook investors, expanding from our core business in real estate development to the value-add space through Greyspring, has allowed us to provide our clients with investment opportunities that diversify their real estate investment portfolios.”

“Marlin Spring and Greybrook have partnered on many residential real estate projects in recent years,” said Benjamin Bakst, CEO and Cofounder, Marlin Spring. “To a great extent, Greyspring illustrates our approach to partnerships. We believe in, and strive for, responsible growth through deepening our relationships with our trusted partners. With Greyspring, we’ve formalized our focus on providing better and more affordable living experiences for Canadians. This vision aligns with our mission to deliver exceptional real estate value to all our stakeholders with an uncompromising adherence to our core values.”

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