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Who are the winners and losers from the Alberta oil production cut?

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Oil production cuts announced by the Alberta government will have the desired outcome of reducing steep discounts on its oil, but it will also create winners and losers, financial analysts say.

Shares in the companies most likely to benefit from the move to curtail crude production from larger producers starting Jan. 1 soared Monday as the price differential for heavy oilsands bitumen-blend fell.

READ MORE: Rachel Notley says Alberta is ‘essentially giving oil away for free’ in Toronto speech

Meanwhile, shares in oil producers who had been either benefiting or insulated from the discount prices stayed put or subsided.

“There are going to be a number of producers who will shoulder the brunt of the Alberta government’s 325,000 barrels per day in mandated production curtailments of raw crude and bitumen (namely the oilsands producers), but the broader health of the province is likely to benefit over the medium term from the decision as a result of narrowing differentials and stronger royalty revenue,” said a report from Calgary-based AltaCorp Capital.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced Sunday the province will require producers with more than 10,000 barrels per day of output to cut production by about 8.7 per cent until there is enough shipping space on pipelines to improve prices, expected to take three months.

READ MORE: Alberta orders 8.7 per cent oil production cut to help deal with low prices

After that, the reduction will be lowered to 95,000 bpd through the rest of 2019.

In early trading Monday, Cenovus Energy Inc. rose as much as 13 per cent over its Friday close to $11.11, while Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. rose as much as 16 per cent to $38.74.

READ MORE: Shares in Cenovus, CNRL soar on news of Alberta crude production cuts

Cenovus CEO Alex Pourbaix was the first oilsands CEO to call for the province to curtail production. On Sunday both Cenovus and Canadian Natural issued statements of support for the Alberta move, as did Chinese-owned oilsands producer CNOOC-Nexen.

Canada’s largest oil and gas company, Suncor Energy Inc., said Monday its estimate of the impact of the provincial cuts will be provided when it issues its 2019 capital and production guidance.

“Suncor believes the market is the most effective means to balance supply and demand and normalize differentials,” it said. It has said it is insulated from price discounts because of its Canadian refineries and pipeline contracts.

In mid-day trading, Suncor was down 1.5 per cent while fellow Calgary-based companies that both produce and refine oil, Imperial Oil Ltd. and Husky Energy Inc., were off 4.1 per cent and 0.8 per cent, respectively.

READ MORE: Suncor assessing impact of Alberta’s move to cut oil production 8.7% next year

The winners from the curtailments will include the provincial government (which estimates it will earn $1.1 billion more from royalties in the 2019-20 fiscal year); energy producers in B.C. and Saskatchewan, who will benefit from better prices without having to cut production; condensate producers, as that light oil isn’t included in the curtailment; and junior energy producers who are exempt from the program, AltaCorp said in its report.

The losers include integrated producers who will likely pay more for their refining feedstock and companies that had intended to grow their production in the first half of 2019, it said.

Of the 378 operators with active oil production in Alberta in October, only 25 produce more than 10,000 bpd, AltaCorp noted.

WATCH BELOW: Ian Lee with Carleton University on premier Rachel Notley’s announcement that her province is cutting oil production due to the ongoing oil pricing crisis.






Oilfield service companies are also on the losing side of the equation, said GMP FirstEnergy in a note, because drilling budgets will likely shrink in early 2019.

Companies that previously reduced output voluntarily will receive credit under the Alberta plan.

Analysts said that means the market is already halfway to the provincial goal as estimates suggest about 150,000 bpd has already been shut in, mainly by Cenovus and Canadian Natural.

“Anecdotally, this will likely be a messy process with collateral damage (reservoir management, abandonments, take-or-pay overhang),” said a report from National Bank of Canada analysts.

READ MORE: Canadian oil price discounts costing economy billions of dollars

The discount between Western Canadian Select bitumen-blend oil and New York-traded West Texas Intermediate was about US$21 per barrel on Monday morning, an improvement of about US$7 per barrel from Friday, according to Net Energy. WTI was up almost US$2 per barrel.

“We estimate oil prices need to average only US$2.50 per barrel higher to offset the cash flow impact of the mandated production cut,” said senior analyst Jennifer Rowland of Edward Jones Equity Research in a note.

READ MORE: Maximize existing pipelines’ efficiency to help with oil glut, federal minister says

The cuts will hit the larger Canadian economy, according to BMO Capital Markets, which estimates gross domestic product will drop by more than two per cent on an annualized basis in the first quarter of 2019.

“The expected rebound in production later in the year should contain the full-year 2019 GDP impact and potentially lift 2020 slightly, depending on timing,” it added, adjusting its national growth forecast for 2019 to 1.8 per cent from 2.0 per cent.

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Anglais

‘We’re back’: Montreal festival promoters happy to return but looking to next year

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In downtown Montreal, it’s festival season.

In the city’s entertainment district, a musical act was conducting a sound check on stage Friday evening — the second day of the French-language version of the renowned Just For Laughs comedy festival. Tickets for many of the festival’s free outdoor shows — limited by COVID-19 regulations — were sold out.

Two blocks away, more than 100 people were watching an acoustic performance by the Isaac Neto Trio — part of the last weekend of the Festival International Nuits d’Afrique, a celebration of music from the African continent and the African diaspora.

With COVID-19 restrictions continuing to limit capacity, festival organizers say they’re glad to be back but looking forward to next year when they hope border restrictions and capacity limits won’t affect their plans.

Charles Décarie, Just For Laughs’ CEO and president, said this is a “transition year.”

“Even though we have major constraints from the public health group in Montreal, we’ve managed to design a festival that can navigate through those constraints,” Décarie said.

The French-language Juste pour rire festival began on July 15 and is followed by the English-language festival until July 31.

When planning began in February and March, Décarie said, organizers came up with a variety of scenarios for different crowd sizes, ranging from no spectators to 50 per cent of usual capacity.

“You’ve got to build scenarios,” he said. “You do have to plan a little bit more than usual because you have to have alternatives.”

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Anglais

MELS new major movie studio to be built in Montreal

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MONTREAL — MELS Studios will build a new film studio in Montreal, filling some of the gap in supply to meet the demand of Hollywood productions.

MELS president Martin Carrier said on Friday that MELS 4 studio construction will begin « as soon as possible », either in the fall or winter of next year. The studio could host productions as early as spring 2023.

The total investment for the project is $76 million, with the Quebec government contributing a $25 million loan. The project will create 110 jobs, according to the company.

The TVA Group subsidiary’s project will enable it to stand out « even more » internationally, according to Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Karl Péladeau. In the past, MELS Studios has hosted several major productions, including chapters of the X-Men franchise. The next Transformers movie is shooting this summer in Montreal.

Péladeau insisted that local cultural productions would also benefit from the new facility, adding that the studio ensures foreign revenues and to showcase talent and maintain an industry of Quebec producers.

STUDIO SHORTAGE

The film industry is cramped in Montreal.

According to a report published last May by the Bureau du cinéma et de la télévision du Québec (BCTQ), there is a shortage of nearly 400,000 square feet of studio space.

With the addition of MELS 4, which will be 160,000 square feet, the company is filling part of the gap.

Carrier admitted that he has had to turn down contracts because of the lack of space, representing missed opportunities of « tens of millions of dollars, not only for MELS, but also for the Quebec economy. »

« Montreal’s expertise is in high demand, » said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, who was present at the announcement.

She said she received great testimonials from « Netflix, Disney, HBO and company » during an economic mission to Los Angeles in 2019.

« What stands out is that they love Montreal because of its expertise, knowledge and beauty. We need more space, like MELS 4, » she said.

There is still not enough capacity in Quebec, acknowledged Minister of Finance, the Economy and Innovation Eric Girard.

« It is certain that the government is concerned about fairness and balance, so if other requests come in, we will study them with the same seriousness as we have studied this one, » he said.

Grandé Studios is the second-largest player in the industry. Last May, the company said it had expansion plans that should begin in 2022. Investissement Québec and Bell are minority shareholders in the company.

For its part, MELS will have 400,000 square feet of production space once MELS 4 is completed. The company employs 450 people in Quebec and offers a range of services including studio and equipment rentals, image and sound postproduction, visual effects and a virtual production platform.

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Anglais

Birdhouse Wingerie & Bar is the Latest to Hatch in West Island’s Bubbling Restaurant Scene

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Wings are the thing at the latest restaurant to make its mark on Montreal’s West Island: Birdhouse Wingerie & Bar.

At the buzzy new Dollard-Des Ormeaux eatery, the bird limbs come aplenty, with a menu listing eleven “wet & messy” wings, including smoked apple habanero, sriracha lime, and cherry cola BBQ; and four — cacio e pepe, ketchups chip, Nashville hot, and the garlicky, lemon pepper “vampire slayer” — dry rub flavours. They come 10 for $18 or 20 for $34, plus the option of ranch, parmesan, or blue cheese dipping sauce.

Tacos, nachos, poutines (one made with bone marrow, another with tater tots), smashed burgers, salads, and a classic buttermilk fried chicken dinner are just sampling of the other dishes that round out the offering. On the drinks side, there are cocktails, sangrias, and spiked milkshakes in popular chocolate bar flavours: After Eight, Skor, Bounty, or Reeses.

Opened on July 5, Birdhouse is among a recent influx of restaurants to grace the island’s western end, including birria taco slinger Tacos Don Rigo and barbecue joint Smoke Box — a double whammy in the same Pierrefonds area strip mall. That comes in addition to plans for Fairview Pointe Claire’s incoming “District Gourmand” (slated to usher in Tommy Café), and, of course, a number of the area’s longer-standing stalwarts — from southern belle Bistro Nolah to old-school casse-croûte Smoked Meat Pete — that have helped bolster the West Island’s culinary credentials.

The brand-new Brunswick Boulevard restaurant is the brainchild of Montreal entrepreneur Lorne Schwartz, restaurateur George Massouras (of Madisons and Arahova Souvlaki), and among the other partners involved, Brahm Mauer, son of the founder of beloved buffalo hot wings expert Wings ‘n’ Things. Mauer has tried his hand at reviving the original Wings ‘n’ Things recipe — the restaurant originally opened in 1986 — over the years, including with a Royalmount Avenue location in 2012, then as a roaming summertime food truck and NDG pop-up. That same truck has now been made over with a Birdhouse-branded livery to be deployed for private events.

A likely draw to many, Birdhouse is reprising the “famous flavours, untouched” of the once-upon-a-time NDG staple, represented on its menu as “The Legendary WNT Buffalo” chicken wing.

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