Mar. 2, 2018

Alberta Bitumen

  • Alberta announced that it will commit $1 billion to partial upgrading investments in the province, including $800 million in loan guarantees and $200 million in direct grants.
  • Partial upgrading requires little or no additional diluent and effectively increases pipeline capacity by as much as 30%.
    • Oil sands companies purchased $13.3 billion worth of diluent in 2016, much of it imported.

Alberta economic update

  • GDP estimated to have grown 4.5% in 2017; 2.8% in 2018.
  • Conventional investment in oil increased almost 60%.
  • Total oil production peaked at record 3.5 million bpd in December.
    • 300,000 bpd of crude is forecast to come online as oil sands projects continue to ramp up.
    • This is expected to help real exports grow by more than 5% in 2018 vs estimated 6% in 2017.
  • Total real manufacturing exports in 2017 were up more than 7% in 2017; estimated 3.8% in 2018.
  • Alberta population estimated to grow 1.4% in 2018 vs 1.2% in 2017.
  • Real consumption rose 3.1% in 2017.
  • Housing starts in 2017 up 20% to 29,500; including 1,625 in Wood Buffalo.


  • China proposed removal of presidency term limits, with lawmakers voting in the next 2 weeks.
  • For the first time since 2010, China’s working age population fell below 1 billion to 998.3 million in 2017 vs 1.0026 billion in 2016.
    • Population 65 years and older rose 11.4% vs 10.8% in 2016.
  • China Regulators will scrutinize banks and online payment accounts of businesses suspected of facilitating trades in offshore cryptocurrencies.


  • President Trump will institute tariffs of 25% on imports on steel and 10% on aluminum, against the objection of his own advisors and Republicans.
    • Canada is the largest exporter of steel and aluminum to the US
    • It is unclear whether Canada and Mexico would be subject to tariffs
  • Manitoba plans to unveil personal income tax breaks in the budget next month.
  • Farmers and grain companies are urging the government to pass Bill C-49, giving commodity shippers the rights to levy financial penalties against rail companies that do not meet their obligations. (Source: Globe and Mail)
  • Loblaw and GO Transit have partnered up to pilot grocery-pickup at 5 GO stations.
  • 70-85% of America’s richest 2% of population were raised in the lower economic class.
  • President Putin in his state-of-the-nation speech said that Russia now has a series of new high-technology nuclear weapons that can overcome any defenses.
  • Credit Suisse and ING executed first ever interbank blockchain transaction worth €25 million.
  • Some of the stolen Coincheck cryptocurrency has been traced to a currency exchange in Canada.
  • BOE Governor Mark carney is calling for regulation to end cryptocurrency anarchy.