International: Canadian Outlook ///

A record-setting year for oil prices was not enough to offset a precipitous drop in activity in 2007, and the outlook for 2008 remains uncertain. At the outset of 2007, there was wariness about the future throughout the Canadian oilpatch that now seems prophetic. And as if the seemingly incongruous combination of booming oil markets and slumping natural gas prices was not enough, industry faced a skyrocketing Canadian dollar and political uncertainty, with mounting calls for the federal government to consider a carbon tax. And in Alberta, the provincial government announced reforms to its royalty structure late in the year. It is well known that oil prices topped the US$100 mark in late 2007, but slumping natural gas prices have been more of a story in Canada, particularly with the strength of the Canadian dollar as compared to the US greenback. But recent cold weather across North America has boosted continental natural gas markets...

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