Update 3-statoil Plans More Canada Exploration After Big Find

26, 2013 at 1:02 PM MONTREAL, Sept. 26 (UPI) — Canada’s tax agency sent a Montreal mob boss a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars at a time when he owed several times the amount in back taxes. The payment was made to the late Nicolo Rizzuto in 2007 by the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported, citing an investigation by Radio-Canada, the French-language network. Rizzuto was in prison at the time, and Jean-Pierre Paquette, a retired CRA auditor, said when he learned of the check he went to Rizzuto’s home and got it back from the mobster’s daughter. The check for $381,737.46 Canadian was marked tax refund at a time when Rizzuto owed $1.5 million in back taxes. Historically, the Canadian dollar has been worth slightly less than the U.S. dollar. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been investigating the Montreal office of the CRA since 2008, the CBC said. Paquette, who retired in 2009, said the check to Rizzuto raises more questions about corruption in the office and about how the check managed to get past controls on refunds. “That name there was all over the headlines after the arrests. I mean, look, we’re not talking about Joe Blow here,” Paquette told Radio-Canada.

Canada PM Remains Optimistic About Keystone Approval

September 26, 2013, 2:27 p.m. ET Canada PM Remains Optimistic About Keystone Approval Text By Paul Vieira OTTAWA–Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday he’s optimistic the White House will ultimately approve TransCanada Corp.’s (TRP) planned Keystone XL project even though its future has been thrown in doubt amid political pressure to block the pipeline. At an event in New York, broadcast in Canada, Mr. Harper said he’s been in “very” regular contact with President Barack Obama regarding the project, which would ship oil from the Alberta oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. He added he’s unwilling to take a “no” decision as an answer, and is prepared to push until the project is approved. “The logic behind this project is simply overwhelmingly,” Mr. Harper told an audience at an event hosted by the Canadian American Business Council, adding building the pipeline extension will enhance North American energy security and displace U.S. imports of oil from less-stable regimes where environmental standards might not be as robust. “I remain an optimist that, notwithstanding politics, something that is so clearly in everybody’s interest … that it has to be approved.” Mr. Harper said U.S. politics has cast doubt on the project’s future. “Ultimately, over time, bad politics make bad policy,” he said.

John’s, Newfoundland, is near two previous Statoil discoveries. Statoil said it expects to return to the field in 2015 with more wells as it has already identified more potential for oil. In a venture with Canadian partner Husky Energy Inc , state-controlled Statoil said it had found between 300 million and 600 million barrels of recoverable oil about 500 kilometres (300 miles) off the coast of the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. “This is the biggest Statoil-operated oil discovery outside Norway, so it’s a pretty big day for us,” Statoil exploration chief Tim Dodson said on Thursday. There are currently three major oil projects off the Newfoundland coast: Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose. All are located in the Jeanne d’Arc Basin, 350km (200 miles) southeast of St John’s. In total, they produced around 197,000 barrels per day last year, and a fourth development, Hebron, is scheduled to start operating in 2017. While the latest Statoil find is a significant discovery for offshore Canada, it pales in comparison with output from the country’s oil sands, in Alberta, where production is forecast to hit 5.2 million barrels a day by 2030. Statoil, once a domestic focused explorer, has expanded rapidly over the past decade and recently made big discoveries in Brazil, Tanzania, the North Sea and the Norwegian Arctic. The Bay du Nord discovery is in addition to the nearby Mizzen find, which could contain up to 200 million barrels of recoverable oil, and the Harpoon discovery, which still needs to be evaluated. Analysts said the latest discovery could add between 1 and 3 crowns to the Statoil share price, which would raise the company’s market value by between $530 million and $1.59 billion. “This is an area with relatively favorable tax conditions and although there is deep water, I think this might be worth about 4 dollars per barrel and in excess of 2 Norwegian crowns per Statoil share,” said Anne Gjoeen, an oil sector analyst at Handelsbanken.