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Energy firms put on the spot

Posted by mhudema on June 16, 2008

Symposium lures investors and protesters
Jon Harding
Calgary Herald

Oil and gas companies swimming in cash. Protesters handing out bottles of Athabasca River water.

Both await 350 of the top institutional investors in the Canadian oilpatch as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) investment symposium begins Monday in Calgary.

The annual CAPP event opens with a different backdrop to a year ago, when drilling activity in Western Canada was in a rut and capital markets were dry as dust, particularly for scores of Canada’s junior and intermediate explorers.

Oil prices are fluttering towards $140 US a barrel and natural gas prices are up roughly 70 per cent since January — an almost immeasurable difference, although one that investors in equities have still not taken completely to heart. Some Canadian oil and gas stocks are up but the group as a whole has lagged behind growth in surging oil and natural gas.

Meanwhile, the world’s focus on Alberta’s oilsands has recently intensified amid global supply constraints and growing concern about the massive play’s environmental footprint.

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