Calgary Herald by Dan Healing. With output of 1,200 barrels of oil equivalent per day and 5,500 boe/d behind pipe, Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. is considering joint venture deals on its light oil and gas assets as well as its oilsands, says its CEO. On a conference call to discuss year-end results Thurs-day, president and chief executive Sveinung Svarte said the company is committed to using partnerships to develop its assets wherever they are.
Wall Street Journal. April 1 is a date that every politician and business executive in America should circle on the calendar. That’s when Japan cuts its corporate tax rate to 36.8% from 39.5%. The United States will then hold the title of highest corporate tax rate, with average combined federal and state profit levies of 39.2%. Yes, that’s higher than Sweden. Higher than Russia. And China, Mexico, Denmark and even France. Doesn’t it make you want to break out in a chant: U-S-A, U-S-A? Tokyo’s move is striking because its political class has long behaved as if tax rates don’t matter…. (Comment: Major news in the last month: North Dakota is rapidly moving to replace Alaska as the #2 oil producing state. Japan has moved back to let Alaska’s national government win the prize for highest corporate taxes. Perhaps we have not put adequate thought into the anti-competitive position Alaska achieves after noting the high Federal tax rate in addition to the state’s high, unpredictable and complex tax burden, our high logistical rates, or challenging climate, our remote and hostile geography (however beautiful), our high labor rates and separation of our major producing area from tidewater shipping and connection to energy and transportation grids. We’ve been very proud of our oil and gas over the years, but not modest enough to appreciate the obstacles private investors must overcome to monetize them. -dh)
ADN by Becky Bohrer. John Minge (NGP Photo), president of BP Exploration Alaska, told The Associated Press "great strides" have been made toward alignment by BP, Conoco Phillips and Exxon Mobil Corp. "We have more alignment today than certainly we had eight months ago, because we’re all working together," he said, adding later: "We’re actually working together with an aligned view of how Alaska gas can compete in the world marketplace." Alignment, to Minge, means being on the same page, interested in the same project: in this case, a liquefied natural gas line that would allow for overseas exports.
ADN/AP. In a presentation for the Senate Finance Committee, Gerald Kepes says existing mature fields remain profitable for companies, and the state extracts maximum "rent" from a declining production base. However, he says, this system inhibits development of new projects and resources that might help stem or reverse the trend of declining production. Among other things, he says progressivity can have a detrimental effect on break-even prices for high-cost projects at current oil prices.
Bloomberg by Gene Laverty. Canadian natural gas rose amid signs that producers are drilling less and shutting some wells to ease a glut of the fuel. Alberta gas for April delivery gained 3 percent. The U.S. gas rig count dropped to 670 last week, a 32-month low, according to data compiled by Baker Hughes Inc (BAKEGAS). Encana Corp. and Talisman Energy Inc., two of Canada’s largest gas producers, said they will shut some gas production and shift exploration efforts to oil and natural-gas liquids.