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Oil producer Cenovus on Wednesday reported a 40-per-cent decline in profit in the latest quarter, falling to $396 million from $655 million a year earlier.
Things were even worse for Calgary-based natural gas producer Encana, which recorded a whopping quarterly $1.48 billion loss. It had recorded a profit of $383 million in the same period a year earlier.
But beneath the surface is a rapidly-changing global energy industry. With the U.S. rapidly developing its shale oil and gas deposits, Asia increasingly looking to renewable energy, and the controversy over the environmental impact of the oil sands showing no signs abating, Canada’s energy exporters could find themselves in a seemingly unthinkable situation: Lots of oil, and few markets to sell it.
All this is happening just as Canada’s dependence on energy exports has been reaching new heights. As the Globe and Mail reported, oil and gas sales, as well investment in oil sands infrastructure, accounted for one-third of Canada’s economic growth in 2010 and 2011.