Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Alberta Royalty "Adjustments".

If you haven't already heard, Alberta wants to raise the royalties oil and gas producers are paying in the Canadian province. The theoretical fly in the ointment for the government is that several producers, among them the largest producers from oil sands, Suncor and Syncrude, have contracts that extend until 2015 or so that stipulate their royalties. [I believe Canadian Natural Resources also has a deal.] But as the energy minister of Alberta makes clear in this video, while there won't be unilateral adjustments to these contracts by the government, they are going to figure out a way to get their money one way or the other.

The clear message of this and the various other adjustments being made around the world: If you choose to invest in oil and gas producers, spread your money around. And note that as royalties rise, development hurdles usually get higher, some projects become potentially uneconomic, timelines extend, etc. This is thus bearish for some affected producers, but may be bullish for others elsewhere, as well as for oil prices in general.

Bloomberg Video: Knight of Alberta.