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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
ConocoPhillips laying off gas staff

Low price leads to 15% production shut in

By Dan Healing, Calgary Herald November 22, 2010



CALGARY - ConocoPhillips Canada confirmed Monday it is laying off western Canadian staff after shutting in 28,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of natural gas production due to poor commodity prices.

Spokesman Rob Evans said the shut-ins, which started in the fall, have cut about 15 per cent of after royalty production from its Western Canada gas group but he wouldn't say how many jobs will go.

"I can confirm that we did inform our western Canadian gas employees that there will be layoffs this week," he said.

"That went out this morning. Out of respect for the employees we're not providing any more detail until we can get more information to them."

ConocoPhillips has about 2,000 employees in Canada and about half of them are in the gas group in Alberta and British Columbia. They are expected to find out today whether they still have jobs.

The Canadian headquarters are in Calgary. Evans said the cuts will affect both office and field employees.

Spot natural gas prices in New York were at about $4.27 US per million British thermal units Monday afternoon, down from $6 in early January but just 20 cents or so lower than a year ago at the same time.

Last fall, Calgary-based Progress Energy Resources Corp. shut in 15 per cent of production due to low gas prices but president and chief executive Michael Culbert said the company isn't at that stage this fall.

"We've moved forward with our program and will look for nice, cold winter weather to persist," he said.

Cold weather increases demand for the heating fuel and is likely to strengthen prices.

Perpetual Energy Inc., then known as Paramount Energy Trust, also shut in production last fall but president and CEO Sue Riddell Rose said there's less strategic reason to do it now.

"The forward market for natural gas is not presenting an opportunity to sell your gas three months or six months from now at higher prices," she said. "Whereas a year ago, you could see higher prices in the forward market ... you could even manage price around that by hedging, etc."

She added the company is adjusting its capital spending programs to target oil and natural gas liquids-rich plays.

Bill Gwozd of Ziff Energy Group said because gas well production declines over time, it makes more sense to bring wells on stream when prices are good.

However, many companies can't afford to wait and must produce and sell the gas to have the cash flow it takes to survive.

In March of 2009, ConocoPhillips laid off 190 people in its Canadian division, as part of a reduction of about 1,300 people worldwide.

Earlier this year, Chinese refining giant Sinopec bought ConocoPhillips' nine per cent stake in Syncrude Canada for $4.65 billion US.

[email protected]



Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/ConocoPhillips+laying+staff/3867780/story.html#ixzz165cHK8Bs
 

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Alberta to lead nation's recovery


Resource-rich economy key to growth

By Dan Healing, Calgary Herald December 28, 2010


Alberta's resource-fuelled economy will put it among the growth leaders as Canada's recovery sags slightly in 2011, says the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

In its economic outlook for 2011, published Monday, the chamber says that after a strong rebound from the recession, Canada's economy has recently lost a bit of steam, expanding at an annual rate of just 2.3 per cent in the second quarter of 2010 and a meagre one per cent in the third quarter.

It's expected to finish the year at 2.9 per cent growth.

"The Canadian economy is chugging along but not at full steam," said president Perrin Beatty in a news release.

"A number of factors are expected to constrain growth below 2.5 per cent in 2011."

In 2012, the economy is forecast to grow by about 2.7 per cent, reflecting somewhat stronger domestic fundamentals and better growth prospects in the United States.

The report says Alberta, B.C., Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador will lead the way in 2010 as firm commodity prices and resource sector investments such as mining, drilling and exploration are anticipated to push real gross domestic product growth above the national average.

Todd Hirsch, senior economist with ATB Financial in Calgary, said Alberta's strength is its growing output of oil from enhanced conventional plays and the oilsands -- oil has recently been trading at two-year highs above $90 US per barrel and is up 15 per cent this year.

But its weakness is that it is still heavily invested in natural gas, the New York price of which has declined 28 per cent this year and dipped Monday below $4 US per million British thermal units before recovering to close at $4.11.

"We're more exposed to natural gas than the other three provinces are, and gas prices are the weakest link," he said. "It is the one commodity price that is conspicuously low."

Two weeks ago, Craig Wright, chief economist for RBC Economics, predicted Alberta will post 4.3 per cent growth in 2011, up from 3.4 per cent this year. He thought Alberta would be second only to Saskatchewan's 5.3 per cent in 2011.

Hirsch said it's possible that Saskatchewan could have higher growth because of its wider variety of agricultural products, plus potash, uranium and oil resources, but that has to be seen in context. The province's economy is only a fifth as big as Alberta's.

"The strong oil prices are the No. 1 reason why Alberta was lifted out of recession from last year into 2010, and why our economy is still in not bad shape at all," he said.

In November, BMO Capital Markets predicted Saskatchewan's real GDP growth rate will be 3.8 per cent in 2011, followed by Alberta at 3.4 per cent.

At the national level, RBC forecasts economic growth of 3.1 per cent in 2010, 3.2 per cent in 2011 and 3.1 per cent in 2012.

Scotiabank sees Alberta economic growth next year of 3.5 per cent, while the Canadian average will be 2.5 per cent.

TD is projecting GDP growth of 2.5 per cent in 2011, down from 2.9 per cent this year.

Following the Christmas spending blowout, the chamber predicts more prudent spending by Canadian households, which stacked up debt during the recession and recovery phase. A softer employment picture and tepid wage gains will also add to consumer caution, it said.

Canada's heated housing market is expected to cool in early 2011 and stabilize as the year goes on.

Business investment, particularly in machinery and equipment, is the bright spot in the outlook and will be a major driver of economic growth in 2011-12.

"With strong headwinds buffeting the economy and competitive pressures remaining fierce, it is encouraging to see the increased push by Canadian companies to invest in productivity enhancing goods," said Beatty in the release.

Imports of equipment reached a 13-year high in October, and a number of factors are expected to support increased capital investment, including the strong Canadian dollar, the continuation of low borrowing costs, high corporate cash balances and the elimination of tariffs on a range of machinery.

"We believe Canada's relatively strong fundamentals -- an enviable fiscal position, a strong banking system, widening interest rate differentials and favourable commodity prices -- will save the loonie from excessive downside pressures. These forces should hold the Canadian dollar near and slightly above parity in 2011 and 2012," says Beatty.

The chamber of commerce expects the Bank of Canada to stay on the sidelines until the summer of 2011, and predicts the overnight target rate will reach two per cent by year-end 2011 and three per cent by year-end 2012. It also cautioned that these are uncertain times for the global economy.

[email protected]



Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/Alberta+lead+nation+recovery/4031578/story.html#ixzz19TXOiT6K
 

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Oil industry gets almost $3B in subsidies: Report
By Michel Munger, QMI Agency

December 27, 2010


MONTREAL – Canadian governments spent almost $3 billion subsidizing the oil industry in 2008, according to a recent report by a Winnipeg-based research institute.

The International Institute for Sustainable Development is also predicting the subsidies will more than double as a share of government expenditures in 2020, along with oil production.

The policy research institute found federal and provincial governments provided $2.84 billion to support oil production in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland that year.

A breakdown of the numbers showed Ottawa injected $1.38 billion in funds while Alberta gave $1.05 billion; Saskatchewan, $327 billion and Newfoundland, $83 million.

The researchers found 63 separate subsidy programs across Canada, mostly meant to increase exploration and development through a mix of tax breaks and royalty reductions.

The report identified where oil producers receive a financial benefit that isn’t available to other industries in Canada and used the World Trade Organization’s definition of subsidy to determine which programs to highlight.

But the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers defends the injection of government cash into the sector.

“A subsidy implies special treatment for an industry,” said Janet Annesley, a spokeswoman with the Calgary-based lobby group.

“In fact, the programs available to our industry are similar as those in other sectors in Canada and worldwide. “

She also noted that tax breaks made tough-to-extract oilsands products more competitive on the international market and that the funds allow the industry to launch profitable endeavours that sends money to government coffers down the road.

“Newfoundland is now a rich province, thanks largely to oil and gas royalties,” she said. “Same for Saskatchewan.”

But in the 2020 forecast, the research institute doesn’t see much benefit for taxpayers in the various federal and provincial subsidy programs.

It calculates the subsidies will boost provincial economies by between 0.1% and 0.16% in the next decade while increasing oil production by 5% and oil exports by 13.6%.

It’s good news for the oil industry but not for taxpayers – the research institute indicates the money won’t flow back to government coffers despite more corporate taxes and royalty payments.

According to the report, more production also means more greenhouse gas emissions.

Annesley says governments shouldn’t tackle environmental issues by cutting funding to the industry.

“If you want to regulate the social and environmental impact, do so,” she said. “But don’t do it through economic policies. Let the industry compete on an equal footing.”
 

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Epcor puts up $470M for Arizona utility

American Water Works subsidiaries to anchor Edmonton company in U.S. Southwest

BY BILL MAH, EDMONTONJOURNAL.COM JANUARY 24, 2011



The deal follows last year’s announced purchase of another water utility in the U.S. Southwest, its first American water asset.

It’s part of a plan to grow Epcor’s remaining water and transmission-line business, after power generation was spun off to form Capital Power Corp. in 2009. The utility said late last year it is selling $200 million worth of its shares in Capital.

“We’re redeploying the funds that we have from the sell-down of Capital Power, and we are focusing on growing Epcor’s regulated assets in water and in power distribution,” said Epcor president and CEO Don Lowry

Epcor said its Epcor Water (USA) Inc. unit agreed to acquire New Jersey-based American Water Works Co.’s two wholly owned U.S. subsidiaries, Arizona American Water and New Mexico American Water.

Arizona American Water is a regulated utility that provides water service to about 106,000 metered water customers, and waste water services to 51,000 customers, Epcor said. About 90 per cent of its customers are located in the Phoenix area.

New Mexico American Water provides water and waste water services to the city of Clovis, in eastern New Mexico, and in the greater Edgewood area near Albuquerque. It serves more than 17,000 customers.

Monday’s announcement follows Epcor’s $29-million purchase in Arizona of Chaparral, a subsidiary of American States Water Co. — a deal due to be completed early this year. That utility serves 13,000 customers in the town of Fountain Hills, Arizona.

The company also unsuccessfully bid for a water and waste-water system in Pima County southeast of Tucson.

Lowry said Epcor has scoured North America over the last two to three years and found the U.S. Southwest offered assets that are available for sale, regulated and offer high-quality employees and infrastructure.

“You can’t buy these assets in Canada. They never come up for sale. They tend to be owned by governments,” Lowry said.

“The attraction to a regulated asset is that it brings with it discipline, predictability and stability in terms of the amount of capital one would invest as well as the returns would one expect on that as compared to commodities such as copper and oil.”

Epcor can bring back to Alberta technologies and policies developed to deal with water scarcity, he said.

Despite the current economic downturn, the long-term growth prospects of the U.S. Southwest region are promising, he added.

The transaction is subject to approvals by the Arizona Corp. Commission and New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, which may take 12 months, Lowry said.

The latest acquisitions are expected to start contributing to earnings next year.

“If we close within the first quarter of 2012, then obviously we’d be looking to 2012 as being the stub year when we can expect some sort of support from our investment in that going toward the dividends here,” Lowry said.

Under terms of the deal, Epcor USA will assume about $10 million of long-term debt. Last year’s Chaparral acquisition included the assumption of a $6-million debt.

Lowry said the company has no concerns the debt assumptions will put it outside its current debt-to-equity ratios.

The acquisition will be funded from a combination of cash from Capital Power sale funds, Epcor’s own cash flow and debt. The company cannot issue equity.

TD Securities is advising Epcor USA on this transaction.

Arizona American Water employs about 200 people, while New Mexico American Water has 25 staff. Once the transaction closes, Epcor expects to operate the newly acquired utilities under the Epcor umbrella.

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and waste water utility company. The firm has more than 7,000 employees, and provides water and waste water treatment services to more than 15 million people.

American Water had a long-term debt of $5.4 billion as of Sept. 30 and the capital market values it at about $4.5 billion.

“With this transaction, we do not anticipate the need for an equity offering in 2011,” American Water’s CEO Jeff Sterba, said in a statement.

“The decision to sell the units was based on a strategic business review that the company is currently doing,” said American Water spokeswoman Maureen Duffy.

With files from Reuters

[email protected]



Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/busi...zona+utility/4156051/story.html#ixzz1C1H6hru6
 

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Regina sets January record for average selling price of homes


LEADER-POST STAFF FEBRUARY 2, 2011


REGINA — A January record for average selling prices of homes through the Multiple Listing Service system was set last month in the Regina area.

Data released by the Association of Regina Realtors Wednesday indicated the average selling price of used homes in the Regina and district area was $260,133 in January, which was up eight per cent compared to January of last year.

That price increase, combined with a 17 per cent increase in the number of sales made in January, pushed the dollar volume sales to a record high for the month of January.

A total of $55.9 million in sales were recorded in January, which was up 27 per cent over the previous record high number set in January of last year.

"Despite the cold weather in January, people were looking for and buying homes,'' commented Gord Archibald, the executive officer with the realtors' association.

The 215 sales in January was above the 183 sales recorded in January of last year and the second highest recorded in January in the past 10 years.

A total of 404 new listings were placed on the market in January, which was up from 345 in January of last year.

That increase in listings is encouraging, Archibald said.

"This (increase) will add to the inventory of listings, provide more choice to buyers and help moderate any upward pressure on prices,'' Archibald said.

"Providing the economy performs well we are anticipating another good year for the market in 2011,'' Archibald added in a news release.

If demand for houses remains strong later this year, it will also be important that there be a decent supply of homes on the market in order to prevent excessive price increases, Archibald said.

In addition to being up compared with 12 months ago, house sales were also up in January in a one month comparison with December, Archibald said.

But that one month increase is not surprising because December is not usually a particularly good month for sales, Archibald said.

© Copyright (c) The Regina Leader-Post


Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/business/...+price+homes/4213652/story.html#ixzz1CsdKuLDT
 

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Manitoba pumped about oil industry
By: Steve Lambert
Winnipeg Free Press

February 4, 2011


MANITOBA is the poor cousin among the Prairie provinces when it comes to oil, but its small industry is growing rapidly, thanks to high world prices, relatively easy-to-access reserves and government incentives.

Statistics released by the Manitoba government show a sharp rise in exploration and production. There were 3,300 wells in the province last year that produced a total of 29,000 barrels a day -- that compares with 11,020 barrels per day produced in 2004.

There were also record numbers of wells being licensed and drilled -- 632 and 516 respectively, nearly double the 2009 numbers.

The numbers pale in comparison with Saskatchewan and Alberta. Alberta alone produces some two million barrels a day. But Manitoba is encouraged its small slice of the oil industry, concentrated in the rural southwest corner of the province, is growing. "It means employment in parts of Manitoba where industry hasn't been before," Dave Chomiak, minister of innovation, energy and mining, said Thursday.

"The companies have told me, and the stats show, that they're not only drilling more this year, they're drilling more next year and their plans call for significant continued drilling."

Manitoba's oil industry was almost non-existent a decade ago, but high world prices and discoveries of light sweet crude have spurred development.

"The largest driver of this is the commodity price of oil," said Travis Davies, spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. "People are attracted to a conventional play where you can get at this high quality oil at a rate that is very favourable to commodity price."

The province has also put up a series of incentives to attract more development. New wells are given holidays on royalties and taxes. Deep wells are given even longer royalty-free periods. Other benefits are offered to wells converted to water-injection.
 

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Ottawa announces $960K grant for Regina's Global Transportation Hub


By WILL CHABUN, Leader-Post March 18, 2011


REGINA — The agency overseeing the Global Transportation Hub on Regina's western edge has received a $960,000 federal grant to help market the project.

It was announced Friday by Andrew Scheer, Conservative MP for Regina-Qu'Appelle, who said the GTH fits well with the federal government's goal of more trade with the burgeoning Asia-Pacific region.

He said the grant opens the door to "up to $300 million" in new investments and as many as 500 jobs.

The ambitious project is built around relocation of the Canadian Pacific Railway's downtown freight yards.

GTH's board chairman Wayne Elhard said, adding the GTH has a "pretty well-defined" marketing strategy, "but you still can't do it simply on the basis of phone calls and personal contact — you do need a website, you do need all of the modern technologies available that will make the success of your marketing strategy a reality."

Additional provincial government funding brought the total committed Friday to the GTH to $1.2 million.

As well, it will be used to figure out how the GTH can work "green technology" into its future.

Competitors include Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton, plus Minot and Kansas City's much-touted "smart port."

Some seaports are also touting their facilities, but that's not necessarily bad for Regina because some — Vancouver, for example — can't expand "and might see facilities like ours as a good complement to their own project ... send it out to Saskatchewan, where it gets distributed either to warehousing, to other distribution companies or put it on a truck and move it wherever."

In a wide-ranging interview, Elhard said:

— He expects the CPR to begin work in its new freight yard this year with completion "no later than the end of 2012."

This "will be a tremendous boost to the project, both for efficiency's sake" and "for those companies that are sorta sitting in the weeds waiting to see if this is going to be a reality."

— The GTH is "ready to move forward with about five other companies that have expressed a very clear interest in locating here."

He wouldn't give their names "for competitive reasons", but added they'll be announced "as time requires and allows."

— Finally, the speed with which the GTH project is moving means 2011 will see accelerated work on the interchange at Pinkie Road and the Trans-Canada highway, on Pinkie Road itself and on a truck route from Dewdney Avenue in west Regina north to Highway 11.

[email protected]



Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/Ottawa+an...ansportation/4467599/story.html#ixzz1HBmxGY8L
 

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Manitoba Sees Oil Boom

Manitoba Sees Oil Boom


Field's capacity greater than predicted: Chomiak



By: Geoff Kirbyson

Posted: 03/19/2011 1:00 AM

TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN ARCHIVES Enlarge Image
A pump-jack churns relentlessly west of Virden, Man. The area has seen more than 2,000 new wells drilled in the last five years.


There's (black) gold in them thar fields.
The hunt for oil and gas in Manitoba will reach a fevered pitch this year with a record $1 billion expected to be spent, the vast majority on drilling new wells, in the southwest corner of the province.
Texas tea time in Manitoba


-- 30,000 barrels of oil are produced in the province every day. By comparison, Saskatchewan churns out 80,000 barrels daily while Alberta pumps out two million barrels a day.
-- Tundra Oil & Gas, the largest player in the province's southwest, plans to drill 200 wells this year, up from 180 in 2010.
-- Historically, between 50 and 100 wells were drilled annually. This year, it will be well in excess of 500.
-- $62 million was paid out in royalties to oil-rich landowners in the province last year and another $15 million was handed over in exchange for putting pumps on private land.
Giving back
While much of the investment in the southwest part of the province doesn't have an appreciable impact on the quality of life of people in the region, Virden Mayor Jeff McConnell said one firm, Calgary-based Trinidad Drilling, showed its appreciation to Virden's 3,000 residents recently by donating $200,000 to the town's recreational facility.
"They acknowledged that they're earning money in our community and they turned around and are giving it back," he said.


"We've got a mini-boom going on," said Dave Chomiak, minister of innovation, energy and mines. "If you look at a picture from out there, you'd figure you're in Alberta because there are miles and miles of oil pumps."
Last year, more than $800 million was spent drilling 516 wells and producing 11 million barrels of oil. Thus far in 2011, 155 wells have already been drilled, 38 per cent more than the 112 that were drilled in the first 10 weeks of 2010. Each well requires between $1.2 million and $1.5 million of investment. Over the last five years, the oil industry has spent $2.5 billion and drilled more than 2,000 wells.
"They're producing 30,000 barrels a day," Chomiak said. "We've doubled our production in the past 10 years. We have enough reserves to continue this for at least the next five years. That's a very conservative estimate."
The driving force behind the flurry of activity is rising oil prices, which make the latest in expensive drilling technology more economical than it was just a couple of years ago. Historically, oil exploration depended on traditional vertical wells, but more recently, horizontal drilling -- where water, sand or carbon dioxide is injected into a reservoir, pushing the oil to the vertical wells -- has increased productivity significantly.
"It's a renaissance," said Dan MacLean, president and CEO of Winnipeg-based Tundra Oil & Gas, the largest player in the Manitoba oilfields.
Before horizontal drilling was introduced, he said oil companies could expect to recover about eight to 10 per cent of the oil in a reservoir. Now the recovery is expected to be double or triple that amount.
"We want to try to get more of that oil out of the ground. You make the higher investment and you end up with a higher productivity well," he said.
MacLean said with all of the drilling activity, total production in the area will jump in the next few years and it's hiring 20 to 25 people a year to help handle the load. Tundra has about 185 employees.
Manitoba produces a light oil, which requires little refining compared to the heavier, thicker oil found in northern Alberta. It is typically converted to gasoline and diesel.
To be sure, neither Virden nor Waskada, where the bulk of drilling is taking place, will ever be confused with Fort McMurray, Alta. But the Bakken oilfield, which covers Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Montana and North Dakota, was singled out in a recent U.S. geological survey as having the potential to produce more than 500 billion barrels of oil.
"The capacity is way beyond what had ever been anticipated in the 1950s and '60s (when Manitoba's oil and gas industry was in its infancy)," Chomiak said.
No economic boom is without its challenges, however. For example, Waskada has a work camp where 150 people live and eat while they work in the oilfields because there simply aren't enough hotel rooms or bed and breakfasts in the area to handle the demand. Jeff McConnell, mayor of Virden, said temporary housing is being set up in previously closed buildings to create a youth-hostel-type of environment for workers there.
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Source: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/manitoba-sees-oil-boom-118288664.html
 

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A Manitoba room boom
Hotels plan biggest expansion in more than a decade
By: Murray McNeill

Posted: 03/22/2011 1:00 AM | Comments: 1
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DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

The Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, nearing completion on Ellice Avenue, is one of several new hotel projects.
Manitoba's hotel industry is going through its biggest growth spurt in more than a decade, with at least eight new hotels, one hotel expansion and 730 new rooms slated to come on stream in 2011.

The projects range from a 30-room expansion of the Days Inn hotel in Winkler to construction of a 126-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Winnipeg.

Delegates attending the Manitoba Hotel Association's three-day annual convention in Winnipeg were told Monday the industry is adding nearly half as many rooms this year as in the previous 10 years combined, when 1,500 new rooms were added to boost the total inventory to more than 15,000 rooms.

And those are just the confirmed projects for this year. There is also a new Best Western Plus hotel scheduled to open next year in Brandon, and several projects that are under discussion or in planning in Winnipeg. They include a 191-room Canad Inns hotel on the Health Sciences Centre campus, Lakeview Properties' 100-room Grand Winnipeg Airport Hotel, a full-service hotel to be built next to the McPhillips Station Casino, a 60-room boutique hotel on Waterfront Drive and another boutique hotel that's rumoured to be part of a commercial development planned for the former Mitchell Copp/A & B Sound properties in downtown Winnipeg.

"Probably, in my 11 years, this is as rapid an injection of new-room investment as I have seen," MHA president and CEO Jim Baker said in an interview.

Industry officials said the two biggest drivers behind the growth spurt are an expanding local economy and a number of smaller operators who are bolstering their presence in the local market.

"A lot of the expansion involves people who have had success with one or two properties in the last 10 years... and are saying, 'If we're already running one or two properties, why not three?' " Baker said.

Examples he gave were Winkler businessman Bob Schinkel and his son, Jason, who have a successful hotel there and are building a new 70-room Motel 6 near Headingley, and Winnipeg businessman Mike Sapozhnik, who owns the Quality Inn on Pembina Highway and the Dakota Hotel on Dakota Street in Winnipeg and is building the new 126-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott on Ellice Avenue near Empress Street.

Beth Walters, a director with PKF Consulting Inc. in Vancouver, said the expanding local economy has a lot to do with the hotel industry's expansion.

Walters said the province's mining, oil and gas and manufacturing sectors are all in growth mode, and the local tourism industry is ramping up its advertising and marketing.

"There are a lot of good things going on," she said, and all this increased activity leads to more overnight stays by business and leisure travellers. That, in turn, encouragers investors to build more hotel rooms.

Baker said he sometimes wonders how many more rooms the market can take before oversupply becomes an issue.

"That is always a concern: Where is the business going to come from?" he said.

But local occupancy rates and room rates have been holding steady or growing for much of the past decade, he said, despite the addition of 1,500 rooms.

"There is obviously an increase in demand. But ask me where it's coming from -- I don't know and I don't care, as long as it keeps coming."

Cindy Schoenauer, a senior consultant with PKF Consulting, said the number of overnight stays by business travellers increased 2.4 per cent last year in Manitoba and is forecast to grow by the same amount in 2011. The number of overnight stays by leisure travellers rose 2.2 per cent last year and is expected to grow by 2.6 per cent this year.

Schoenauer said Manitoba's average hotel occupancy rate last year was 65.2 per cent, up from 63.9 per cent in 2009, and the average daily room rate was $111.68, up from $107.

For Winnipeg hotel operators, revenue per available room jumped 10 per cent to $79 last year and is forecast to increase to $80 this year.

[email protected]




New places to stay all over province

The Manitoba hotel industry is adding another 730 rooms in 2011. Here are the projects that have recently been completed or will be completed this year:



No. of rooms City or town

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott 126 Winnipeg

Best Western Hotel 105 Headingley

MainStay Suites 100 Winnipeg

Motel 6 89 Brandon

Best Western Plus Hotel 80 Thompson

Motel 6 70 Headingley

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel 70 Thompson

Comfort Inn & Suites 60 Virden

Days Inn expansion 30 Winkler



-- Source: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/business/a-manitoba-room-boom-118416394.html
 

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MANITOBA AND ILLINOIS TO SIGN HISTORIC AGREEMENT

A Manitoba Govt News release

Manitoba News Release
............................................................
March 26, 2011

MANITOBA AND ILLINOIS
TO SIGN HISTORIC AGREEMENT

CHICAGO - Premier Greg Selinger and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) today to foster co-operation in key areas including trade and inland port development, expansion of the innovation economy, clean energy trade, water protection and crime prevention.

"Illinois and Manitoba share a common history as transportation hubs and centres for commodity trade and retail distribution throughout North America," said Selinger. "This agreement marks an important milestone in strengthening the already deep and enduring ties between our jurisdictions by ensuring we remain continental leaders in these areas, while also positioning ourselves to fully realize exciting new opportunities in the global economy."

In 2010, Manitoba-Illinois trade totalled more than $2.1 billion, making Illinois Manitoba's second largest U.S. trading partner and number one source of imports among American states.

"This important agreement solidifies our commitment to working together to ensure both Illinois and Manitoba continue to grow and succeed in the global marketplace," said Quinn. "Global partners are critical to our efforts to boost our economies and create jobs."

The MOU formalizes the intentions of the Province of Manitoba and State of Illinois to work together on:

- expanding trade, tourism, transportation and the development of inland ports;

- fostering growth of the mid-continent innovation and knowledge economy with a focus on life sciences and biotechnology;

- exchanging knowledge and best practices in water stewardship, river management and research;

- examining options for clean energy trade and services, and;

- sharing best practices in crime prevention with a focus on youth.
 

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Alberta projecting $3.1 billion deficit


Finance minister raises possibility of restoring health-care premiums to raise revenue


By Keith Gerein, edmontonjournal.com November 21, 2011 3:28 PM


EDMONTON - The province faces a difficult task to meet Premier Alison Redford’s promise of a balanced budget by 2013-14, Finance Minister Ron Liepert admitted Monday as the government downgraded its financial projections for the current year.

With the province facing an estimated $3.1-billion deficit this year, largely due to declining resource and investment income, Liepert suggested his department is looking at a variety of ways to improve the books — perhaps even by restoring health-care premiums.

“With all that is going on with the global (uncertainty), it’s going to be a challenge over the next couple of years to get the budget balanced,” Liepert said. “There are some tough choices ahead.”

The projected $3.1-billion deficit, announced Monday in the province’s second-quarter update to its 2011-12 budget, is slightly better than the original budget forecast of $3.4 billion but a sharp decline from the $1.3-billion deficit predicted after the first quarter.

At that time, then finance minister Lloyd Snelgrove said the economic outlook was improving so much that the government might be able to balance its budget by the end of 2011.

But the rosy picture of the spring reversed considerably in the summer, as oil prices dropped and investment markets weakened, putting a strain on provincial revenue.

Liepert noted that fiscal updates are snapshots of a particular moment in time. While some critics argued the province was being too “optimistic” after the first quarter, he said it was important not to get too “pessimistic” at the second-quarter numbers, since world markets have started to recover in recent weeks.

“It’s been a very up and down tear. It’s been a rough year,” Treasury Board president Doug Horner said. “Yet despite global uncertainty, an extraordinary year for forest fires, floods and other crises, the projected deficit is still 10 per cent lower than it was at budget time.”

The idea of restoring some sort of health-care premium came up during a series of invitation-only roundtables Liepert and Horner held around the province earlier this month....

Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Updated+Alberta+projecting+billion+deficit/5744628/story.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
K+S to build $3.25B solution potash mine near Moose Jaw


By Carter Haydu, Times-Herald November 29, 2011


MOOSE JAW — The long-awaited announcement of a solution potash mine north of Moose Jaw in the Bethune area — the first new potash mine in the province in over 40 years — was made at news conference in Moose Jaw Tuesday.

The K+S Aktiengesellschaft supervisory board announced its approval of the German company's plan to proceed with the Legacy Project, which will include construction of a $3.25-billion solution potash mine. The mine is expected to being production in 2015, with a total capacity of 2.86 million tonnes of potash expected by 2032.

"This is a good day. It's a good day," said Mayor Glenn Hagel during the South Central Enterprise Region (SCER) and K+S Potash Canada luncheon and mining supply chain tradeshow just hours after the K+S announcement.

While he was confident a project would go forward, Hagel told the Times-Herald Tuesday's announcement still comes as a relief and he is very pleased as Moose Jaw is set to benefit greatly from the project.

"There's nothing hypothetical. It's real."

The new potash mine to open about 50 kilometres north of the city and K+S Potash Canada vice-president and project manager Mike Ferguson told the audience Moose Jaw would be considered the primary community for the project......


Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/business/...e+near+Moose/5783620/story.html#ixzz1fAefK06g
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Alberta Premier Alison Redford tells B.C. to open province to investors




By Peter O'Neil, edmontonjournal.com December 15, 2011


OTTAWA - Alberta Premier Alison Redford says the B.C. government has to be aware of the signal it sends to global investors when it decides whether to endorse the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline project.

Redford said the benefits for B.C. and Canada as a whole are evident in a new University of Calgary study showing $132 billion in new wealth for the Canadian economy from 2016-2030 if North American pipeline capacity is sufficiently expanded to match the growth in oilsands production with demand in the U.S. and Asia.

Redford also said she respects B.C. Premier Christy Clark’s refusal to endorse Enbridge Inc.’s $5.5-billion pipeline pending a National Energy Board-Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency decision at the end of 2013. The proposed pipeline would run from Bruderheim, near Edmonton, to Kitimat on B.C.’s pristine northern coast.

Redford, in an interview with The Vancouver Sun/Calgary Herald/Edmonton Journal, said Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith’s criticism of her for failing to win Clark’s support is “simplistic and naive.”

But Redford said B.C.’s ultimate support for Northern Gateway is an important component of her proposed national energy strategy aimed at sending a signal to the world that Canada will allow its resource economy to “thrive” while still properly managing the environment.

She said she disagrees with the notion that the B.C. government could aggressively pursue resource development in areas like liquefied natural gas, and mineral development, while opting out of the Northern Gateway due to public fears of a catastrophic pipeline or tanker spill.

“I know that’s the perspective that some people in British Columbia will take,” she said in an interview.

“My perspective is that that’s not the way you grow an economy. It’s not a matter of saying, ‘we’re going to pick this and choose that.’ Because at the end of the day the question that must be asked, is, ‘what is the signal that that is sending to potential investors?’ ”

She said B.C. could benefit from significant investment “if there is a signal sent that British Columbia is prepared to develop their resources.”

While Redford will face the voters this spring, B.C.’s election is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2013, months before the regulatory panel decides if the project should proceed.

The University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy issued an analysis Thursday concluding that with expanded pipeline access to U.S. and Asian markets Canada’s gross domestic product would jump $132 billion in 2010 dollars between 2016 and 2030, generating $27 billion in federal, provincial and municipal taxes and 649,000 person-years of employment.

But the study also shows that the overwhelming economic benefit of pipeline expansion to B.C. goes to Alberta.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
K+S to build first new potash mine in Sask. in 40 years



By Bruce Johnstone, Leader-Post June 19, 2012 9:02 PM


REGINA — The company that’s building the first new potash mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years is the same company that helped build the last new potash mine in the province in the 1970s, before it was taken over by the then-NDP government to become Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan’s Lanigan mine.

But Nobert Steiner, CEO of K+S Group of Kassel, Germany, which is building the $3.25-billion solution potash mine near Bethune, 80 km northwest of Regina, says there are no hard feelings about the forced sale of the former Alwinsal mine to the Blakeney government for $76.5 million in 1977.

“Even more than a generation later, you can hardly believe that such an act could happen in a country belonging to the western world,’’ Steiner told participants at a sod-turning ceremony at the Legacy project site Tuesday. “However, after so many years, we are not looking back in anger anymore.’’

In fact, Steiner said K+S, which first came to Saskatchewan in the 1960s and started producing potash in 1968, was welcomed back to the province by none other than Premier Brad Wall. (Steiner said the K in K+S stands for Kali or potash in German, while the S stands for Salz or salt.)

After K+S acquired Potash One, the Vancouver-based junior mining company that developed the Legacy Project, for $434 million in March 2011, Europe’s largest potash company and the world’s fifth-largest potash producer, wasted no time in ramping up activity at the Legacy site. Then in fall of 2011, K+S announced that it was proceeding to build a solution potash mine at the Legacy project site. “It will be the first new greenfield mine in Saskatchewan in 40 years,’’ Steiner said.

“Over the next years, K+S will be spending $3.25 billion to bring this project to life. The Legacy project will create more than six million hours of direct employment in construction and another million hours through indirect employment. On average, there will be approximately 650 workers on this site throughout the four-year construction phases, peaking at more than 1,500 workers in 2013 and 2014.’’

When in production at the end of 2015, K+S will need to hire 300 highly skilled full-time employees to operate and maintain the mine, which will initially produce one million tonnes of potassium chloride a year, increasing to 2.86 million tonnes by 2023....


Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/business/...e+Sask+years/6808976/story.html#ixzz1yJ3QtKoJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Fujitsu Canada to build data centre in Regina



By Bruce Johnstone, Leader-Post November 28, 2012






REGINA -- Fujitsu Canada is building a Tier III data centre in Regina that will be the first in Canada for Fujitsu, the first of its kind in Saskatchewan and among only a handful of Tier III data centres in Western Canada, the Montreal-based information technology (IT) company announced Tuesday.

The Fujitsu Saskatchewan Data Centre will feature up to 35,000 square feet of space, bringing needed capacity to existing Fujitsu customers in the Saskatchewan market and offer IT infrastructure services to customers across Canada and outside the country, the company said in a press release.

Marinella Ermacora, senior vice-president of solutions for Fujitsu Canada, in an interview from Montreal, said Tier III data centres (which are ranked on a scale of one to four by an international institute) have multiple power sources and redundant components to ensure nearly 100 per cent service availability during power failures and other disruptions.

"It has redundant capacity components ... so if something happens with that component, you could still be operational,'' Er-macora said. "Plus there is dual power, so if something happens to one (power source) there is another one. In addition to that, there are 12 hours of on-site fuel storage. So if the two power sources fail, you've got 12 hours to get recovery of electricity.''

Ermacora said the first phase of the data centre will be 5,000 square feet, but with additional business could be expanded by another 30,000 square feet. The cost of the project is not being released, but represents a "significant investment'' in the province, she said.


Read more: http://www.leaderpost.com/technolog...entre+Regina/7619258/story.html#ixzz2DawXAJaO
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Calgary’s Bow tower a shining light in national office market scene


1.9 million square feet of space added in 2012


By Mario Toneguzzi, Calgary Herald January 21, 2013


CALGARY — Nearly 80 per cent of all the Canadian downtown office space absorption in 2012 was recorded in the first quarter when The Bow tower, and its 1.9 million square feet, was delivered to the Calgary market, according to a report released Monday by CBRE Limited.

The report said overall downtown office absorption fell from 5.7 million square feet in 2011 to 2.4 million square feet in 2012, while suburban office absorption only fell 312,000 square feet to 1.9 million square feet in 2012.

“The leasing activity that did occur in downtown office markets was not always widespread, as total downtown office absorption was buoyed by a significant amount of new supply in Calgary,” said the report.

Since the first quarter, downtown markets have settled into a holding pattern that is expected to continue until new supply is delivered over the next three years across the country, added CBRE.

“With a construction cycle underway and additional towers likely to be announced, downtown markets will stay in the spotlight. But make no mistake, suburban office space remains desirable and has a viable future – especially where public transportation is available,” said John O’Bryan, chairman of CBRE Limited.


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/busine...market+scene/7850494/story.html#ixzz2IgAbb7Sj


Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/busine...market+scene/7850494/story.html#ixzz2IgABXoQU
 

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Saskatchewan Banker Turned Oil Man Shows Way for Canada
By Greg Quinn - Apr 15, 2013 2:37 PM CT
Kylan Dales gave up a banking career to work out of a mobile office and plow his pickup truck through snow in the oil fields of Saskatchewan.
The 30-year-old’s starting salary as a field operator for PetroBakken Energy Ltd. (PBN) matched what he made as a retail marketing consultant at Servus Credit Union. Dales’s career shift reflects a “rotation” of demand that Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney says the economy needs -- toward business investment and exports and away from consumer spending.


Kylan Dales stands for a photograph at a PetroBakken Energy Ltd. oil facility in Heward, Saskatchewan, Canada, on March 26, 2013. Photographer: Greg Quinn/Bloomberg

While most of Canada faces sagging growth and slowing labor markets, Saskatchewan is benefiting from corporate investment aimed at tapping global demand for natural resources. Saskatoon- based Potash Corp. (POT) of Saskatchewan Inc., the world’s largest fertilizer producer by market capitalization, has expanded capacity. Cameco Corp. (CCO), based in the same city and Canada’s biggest uranium producer, is building its Cigar Lake mine atop the world’s largest undeveloped high-grade uranium deposit.
“There is more going on in this province now than I have ever seen,” said Gavin Semple, 67, chairman of farm-equipment maker Brandt Industries Ltd. in Regina, the provincial capital. “Whether it’s population growth, investment, almost any criteria that you want to use to measure, this is a high point,” said Semple, who’s worked in the province for more than 40 years.
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Job Boom Predicted For Winnipeg

Manitoba is headed for a period of steady economic growth, according to a report issued Wednesday by Bank of Montreal.

In Winnipeg alone, the bank expects to see 12,000 new jobs created over the next three years. That would pull the jobless rate in the province's largest city down to five per cent, among the lowest in Canada.

The bank estimates Manitoba's economy will grow by two per cent this year, down from 2.7 per cent last year, but still better than the national average.

It says Manitoba's manufacturing sector is on the mend after falling seven per cent during the 2009 recession.

BMO says Manitoba's mining and energy sectors are also seeing strong momentum, though they are a relatively small part of the province's economy.


Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2013/07/17/mb-steady-economy-jobs-created-manitoba.html
 
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