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Approval Of Keystone Pipeline Only Part Of The Solution For Canada's Energy Sector: CIBC

Growing U.S. production, shift to Asian markets and increased competition for investment pose challenges for Canadian industry

TORONTO, April 3, 2013 /CNW/ - While the approval of the Keystone pipeline is important, it alone is not going the fix the challenges facing Canada's oil and gas sector, finds a new report from CIBC World Markets.

"Keystone will improve access stateside and put a cap on adverse price differentials for Western Canadian producers," says Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC. "But recent developments in the global oil industry—from Venezuela to Iraq, from North Dakota to Mexico, from California to China—suggest that Keystone is just one of several important pieces of the puzzle for Canada's energy sector.

"Three key trends—rising shale oil prospects stateside, the shift in consumption growth to Asia, and a growing list of oil producing countries open to foreign participation—all pose challenges if Canada is to maximize the value of its resource base."

The report notes that shale oil has gone from a negligible share of U.S. production five years ago, to almost a third today. At $40-60 a barrel, the full-cycle costs of U.S. shale oil are well below that of a conventional oil sands mining operation, but above most Middle East production. This oil is also now competing for the same channels used to transport Canadian crude to market.

"Growth in U.S. shale output, coupled with a much softer trajectory for medium term demand growth stateside, put America's net import requirements on a collision course with Canadian plans to ramp up its output by a further two million barrels a day over the balance of this decade," adds Mr. Shenfeld.

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