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Unproven Competitiveness of Upstream Assets Would Hamper Rumoured Petronas Sale: Analyst



CALGARY • The Malaysian company rumoured to be seeking buyers for its Pacific NorthWest LNG project could struggle to offload its upstream natural gas assets due to the still-unproven competitiveness its operations, one analyst says.

Rumours have been circulating that Petroliam Nasional Berhad, or Petronas, is looking for a way out of its massive investment in Canada’s nascent LNG space following a Reuters report that cited anonymous sources. As the Financial Post went to press, Petronas had not verified those claims, and was expected to release a statement addressing the matter. The B.C. Ministry of Natural Gas Development said in a statement it had contacted the company and was “reassured” the claims were untrue.

However, speculation around a potential deal puts focus on the company’s upstream assets, which could be central to a sale. Those assets still need to be proven to be competitive with other producers in the region, a snag that could dampen interest from buyers, according to data compiled by RS Energy Group analyst Brook Papau.

Petronas came to Canada in 2012 following its purchase of a substantial swath of natural gas assets in the Montney formation of northeast British Columbia. Since then, companies operating in the region have invested heavily to improve the efficiency of their wells, as low natural gas prices have pressured producers to slash costs.

Meanwhile, Petronas has focused its upstream expenditures on determining the size of its reservoir — rather than on boosting efficiency or growing production — in order to prove to potential buyers that the company has a sufficient resource base to fulfill long-term supply contracts. As a result, the efficiency of its wells has fallen behind that of its peers.

“They’re not going sell this asset, I wouldn’t think, using 2012 capital efficiencies of these wells,” Papua said.

Operators in the region have drastically improved the economics of their wells in that short four-year window. Advantage Oil & Gas Ltd., another Montney producer, brought its per-well costs from between $6 million and $6.5 million in 2012 down to around $4.5 million in 2016, Papau said. Other operators have managed similar cuts as costs for materials and labour drop.

Montney producers have lowered costs while also wringing more production from each well, typically by extending the length of wells and using larger volumes of sand, water and chemicals during fracking. Encana Corp., another regional player, has nearly doubled the volume of fracking materials it uses per well, and has extended the lengths of wells themselves.

“We haven’t seen the same improvement in Petronas’s type curve as we’ve seen in almost every other operator in the basin,” Papau said.

He believes potential buyers could ultimately bring the efficiency of those wells in line with other operators in the region, saying only that the economics are currently unknown.

Anonymous sources in the Reuters story cited worsening market conditions for LNG as reason for Petronas’s interest in a sale. On Tuesday federal authorities granted final approval to build the Pacific NorthWest facility, which was first put forward by a consortium of companies led by Petronas in 2012.

It is also unclear what the value of such a deal would be. The project’s $36-billion price tag comes from an assumed value after construction, and includes $6.7 billion in new pipelines to transport gas to the facility, $12.5 billion to develop the gas and $11.4 billion for the project itself.

Petronas bought its upstream assets from Calgary-based Progress Energy Canada Ltd. in 2012. It is among the largest natural gas assets held by a single company in North America, Papua said.

“We think there’s a massive amount of resource,” he said. “What we don’t know is what those economics look like under a modern completion using current well costs.”

Highly expensive proposals to build LNG export terminals along Canada’s West Coast have been brought into question as near-term demand for LNG in Asian markets wanes. However, some analysts argue that falling costs due to lower oil prices and a stagnant global economy could improve the economics of such projects in the long term.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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