Feb. 26, 2021

ALBERTA BUDGET

  • Alberta’s expected revenue is $42.7 billion; expenses (total budget) $55 billion.
  • Health care spending represents 53% ($23 billion) of revenue forecast.
  • WTI oil price forecast for budget $46/bbl for 2021-22 and $56.50/bbl for 2022-2023.
  • Finance Minister Travis Toews focused on 4 key points:
    • No tax increases
    • Improve the health of Albertans (including reducing wait times for surgery)
    • Reduce red tape
    • Look for incentives to support new investment in oil and gas, including an office to promote environmental, social and governance measures.
      • As well, diversify the provincial economy

COVID-19 UPDATE

  • Health Canada approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for use
    • Efficacy is estimated at 62.1%
    • 2 doses required with 4 to 12 weeks between doses
  • Reviews of both Johnson & Johnson and Novovax vaccines are continuing.
  • More than 225 million doses of vaccine have been administered worldwide.
    • There are 7.8 billion people in the world
  • 2/3 of New York City’s arts and culture jobs are gone.
    • Used to generate $7.4 billion in wages and $70 billion in economic activity
  • Philippines will allow nurses to take jobs in Britain and Germany in exchange for vaccines.

TIDBITS

  • ‘Relectrify’, an Australian Technology developer, is selling power-packs using expired Nissan ‘Leaf’ car batteries that can store renewable power for 7-10 years.
  • ‘Plug Power’ is building the continent’s largest green hydrogen plant in New York State.
    • Expected to produce 45 metric tons of liquid hydrogen per day using electrolyzers to strip the hydrogen from water
    • The electricity will come from hydropower, making the manufacturing process greenhouse gas-free
  • Saudi Arabia is building a 100% renewable energy ecosystem for a 10,230 sq mile mega-region, including ‘THE LINE’, linking the Red Sea coast to the interior for solar-by-day and wind-by-night.
  • Exxon revised their worldwide reserves to 15.2 billion barrels or 11 years (2020) vs 22.44 billion barrels or 15 years (2019).
    • Canadian oil sands reserves were revised down by 98% in 2020.
  • US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is increasing scrutiny of how well companies disclose risks that climate changes impact their business. This could mean new rules or updates to 2010 guidance.
  • Costco increased its US minimum wage to $16/hour.