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NewsRail

Cenovus Energy to suspend crude-by-rail program in 2020

Falling crude oil prices have prompted Canadian oil and natural gas producer Cenovus Energy (NYSE: CVE) to stop its crude-by-rail program temporarily.

Cenovus is “temporarily suspending its crude-by-rail program and deferring final investment decisions on major growth projects. These measures are being taken in response to the recent significant decline in world benchmark crude oil prices,” the company said on March 9. Cenovus’ operations include oil sands projects in northern Alberta and oil and gas production in Alberta and British Columbia.

Because Cenovus is suspending its crude-by-rail program, it will no longer be making use of the credits under Alberta’s Special Production Allowance program. The program allowed crude producers to increase their crude oil production if producers agreed to ship it by rail. The Alberta government set production limits so that Alberta heavy crude would not be sold at steep discounts.

As a result of not increasing crude production and sending crude volumes via rail, Cenovus said it expects oil sands production to average 350,000-400,000 barrels a day, which is 6% lower than the 2020 guidance the company provided last December.

Crude oil prices in “this challenging commodity price environment” have fallen sharply in recent days as Saudi Arabia has sought to ramp up crude production in hopes of slashing prices, including those of competitors such as Russia.

Alberta crude producers look at the pricing spread between Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) as they assess their ability to ship via rail. Western Canada Select (WCS) crude, which is Alberta heavy crude, is typically priced against WTI.

WCS gets hauled to the U.S. East or Gulf coasts, and so producers consider rail costs. If the price of WCS, which is WTI minus the prevailing market differential, is competitive with Brent crude, then producers are more willing to bear the rail costs and ship WCS.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.

One Comment

  1. They should close the border ,period ! We can survive on both sides without one another for a bit of time . We’ll manage and adapt ! Let’s just hope the weather will be in our favour this year in regards to crops . Otherwise , it’s going to be real bad .

    Speaking of which .

    Farmers depend on immigrants through work visa’s to help them during certain season’s . Now these immigrants won’t be allowed to cross the boarders . It’s going to hit our agriculture food producers hard . They have difficulty attracting labourers due to the low wages they offer . Now if they want to attract labour interest from their own country’s they’ll have to raise wages which will raise the cost of food . It’s an essential so people will be allowed to work the fields .

    Wait when food prices start to increase exponentially and certain foods won’t be available . This is going to hit us hard . That being said , we can manage . But it’s going to cost us big time .

    Spring is approaching . If you have a yard , it wouldn’t be silly to create your own very generous garden in my opinion . The general public hasn’t thought about this yet . When they do , you won’t find a seed .

    Take care !

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