Canadian producers see markets stabilizing, offering hope for a rebound

Kevin Orland April 29, 2020

CALGARY (Bloomberg) - While global oil prices remain near multi-decade lows, the heads of two major Canadian crude producers see reasons for hope that the market will rebound in the months ahead.

Cenovus Energy Inc. Chief Executive Officer Alex Pourbaix said he’s seeing demand for refined products in China start to return to pre-pandemic levels. He expects a similar scenario may play out in North America as U.S. states and Canadian provinces begin to relax distancing measures in the months ahead.

North American demand will “start increasing here in the next month or so, and I would expect to see that significantly increasing as we move into the summer,” Pourbaix said on the company’s first-quarter conference call. “Refineries will return to full production -- or more or less full production -- over that time period.”

Alberta crude oil inventories already have stabilized at around 32 million to 33 million barrels, with no material builds week on week, Keith Chiasson, the company’s executive vice president for downstream, said on the call.

Husky Energy Inc. CEO Rob Peabody said that after initial concerns about the company’s ability to store excess gasoline production, he sees the energy complex in the U.S. Midwest coming back into balance after the “train wreck” of reduced demand from measures to combat the virus.

“On the refined products side, we’re seeing some glimmers of hope,” Peabody said on Husky’s first-quarter conference call. “It looks like we’ve got things pretty much in balance with moves the refiners have made.”

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