Low oil prices could last up to 18 months: Premier Kenney
CALGARY -- Premier Jason Kenney believes oil prices could continue to hover very low late into next year.
“Our best intelligence is that we will be dealing with a low price environment for probably 12 to 18 months," he said. "I hope that’s wrong, I hope the global economy recovers."
He adds that Canada is in a much better position than the U.S. during this crisis.
“I think there’s light at the end of the tunnel for Canada and Alberta in all of this because our oilsands in particular are much more capital efficient than U.S. shale," he said.
Wednesday marked a stark contrast for several big energy companies in Alberta compared to a year ago as most recorded major financial losses.
Husky Energy says it took a $1.7 billion plunge in the first quarter of 2020, compared to $328 million in profit during the same time frame last year.
The company says with so much oil supply and nowhere to put it, losses were inevitable.
“It was clear from what we were seeing on the product demand side in North America that we were going to see supply and demand collide in a very messy way this quarter," said Rob Peabody, CEO of Husky Energy on a conference call.
Husky says it saw prices go down and immediately cut production by about 80,000 barrels per day.
“Our strategy is to keep as many barrels away from the train wreck as possible to minimize negative cash margins,” said Peabody.
Cenovus Energy, another major player in Calgary, says in the first three months it recorded a $1.8 billion shortfall as the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia plummeted oil prices this year.
“I do expect, I don’t in anyway shape or form view this situation we’re in, to be a permanent or to become the new normal,” said CEO Alex Pourbaix on a conference call with analysts and investors.
Pourbaix says it's a big loss but expects global demand for energy to return.
“I expect we’re going to see that production come back on in the province largely, if not entirely,” said Pourbaix.
The company temporarily scrapped its crude by rail program earlier this year to help save some cash.
“What are the market egress just getting out of Alberta and getting to our markets,” Pourbaix said.
“Production is coming off in Alberta, differentials are narrowing and there’s really not a call on rail right now.”
One expert with the University of Calgary School for Public Policy believes COVID-19 had an impact and things could get even worse.
“Part of the quarter was before COVID happened, so the second quarter might even be worse than the first in some sense,” said Richard Masson.
“It is very, very desperate times for the next number of months for sure.”
On Tuesday, Calfrac Well Services Ltd. says it cut 70 per cent of its North American staff with demand for oil at historic lows and prices continuing to crumble.