The good times are rolling for the Canadian energy sector in 2006: PricewaterhouseCoopers



    TORONTO, June 21 /CNW/ - Good times continued for Canadian energy
companies in 2006 with an increase in gross revenues, cash flows from
operations and total assets as compared to 2005. According to the 2007
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canadian Energy Survey average gross revenues for
the top 100 exploration and production (E&P) companies in Canada in 2006 were
$1.4 billion - an increase of 7% from 2005.
    "2006 was once again a strong year for the industry," says Angelo
Toselli, PwC Partner and Energy and Utilities Practice Leader. "All sectors
are still enjoying solid results - a trend we don't see changing anytime
soon."
    According to PwC, average total assets for the top 100 companies
increased by 21% from $1.93 billion in 2005 to $2.34 billion in 2006. Average
cash flow from operations increased 9% to $436 million in 2006, up from
$400 million in 2005.
    Valuation parameters for Canadian oil and gas transactions continued
their positive trend, reaching new record highs in 2006. The median
acquisition price for 2006 was $20.13/boe compared to $15.83 in 2005 - an
increase of 27%, fuelled primarily by oil prices.
    This year's survey included a total of 32 income trusts in 2006 compared
to 36 in 2005 as a result of merger and acquisition activity in 2006. Total
market capitalization of the trusts increased by 4% from $69.9 billion in 2005
to $73.0 billion in 2006. The S&P/TSX Energy index did not match the broader
S&P/TSX index, posting a net gain of only 3% in the year, while the S&P/TSX
Energy Trust index posted a loss of 4%.
    Toselli notes, "The big story for 2006 was the surprise announcement on
October 31 by the Canadian federal government to change legislation to impose
a new tax on income trusts, effectively ending their perceived favourable tax
treatment. This announcement resulted in a significant loss in market value of
the energy trust sector."
    The PwC survey also notes that it is anticipated that the federal
government will soon announce short-term targets for reductions in greenhouse
gas emissions and air pollutants from key industrial sectors. It is expected
that a significant portion of the burden will rest on the shoulders of the
energy industry.


    Specific sector results are as follows:

    Crude oil & natural gas:

    Canadian crude prices continued to increase in 2006. The average par
price for light sweet oil posted at Edmonton by the four Canadian refiners in
2006 of US$72.77/bbl was 6% higher than the 2005 average price of
US $68.72/bbl. Prices peaked in July 2006 with an average monthly price of
US $85.62/bbl.
    As predicted in last year's survey, natural gas prices did not follow the
same trend as crude oil prices in 2006. Instead, lower winter heating demand,
growth of onshore natural gas production and above average storage supplies
led to a decrease in prices as compared to 2005.
    "Given the projected growth in Asia and continued and escalating
geo-political unrest in certain OPEC nations, commodity prices are expected to
remain high for 2007. However, certain industry analysts and government
agencies do expect oil prices to moderate," says Cal Jacober, PwC Partner with
the Canadian Energy and Utilities Practice. "Natural gas prices are also
expected to be marginally higher for 2007 as a result of increased demand."

    Oil & gas services:

    2006 was again a strong year for the industry with a record 22,127 wells
drilled in Western Canada. The industry saw continued strong demand for
services for a third year in a row in 2006, however, based on the reduction of
activity in Q4 2006 and the weak 2007 first quarter drilling results (down 21%
from Q1 2006) this trend is not expected to continue in 2007.

    Oil sands:

    The oil sands juggernaut continued to roll in 2006, with entries by
several new participants. Throughout the year applications, hearings,
approvals, and public announcements took place and construction progressed, or
was initiated, on several existing and new projects. The geographic footprint
of oil sands activity spread both west of existing areas and then further east
into Saskatchewan.
    The sale of oil sands development leases in the province hit a record
high of approximately $2 billion, nearly five times higher than the previous
year. Daily oil production for the year was 1.1 million barrels, close to a
third of Canada's 2006 overall liquids output.

    Electricity:

    Within the past year, key policy and regulatory issues were focused
primarily on concerns related to the supply and demand of electricity. While
Ontario and New Brunswick moved forward on a range of new generation and
nuclear refurbishment activities in order to meet potential supply gaps,
Newfoundland and Québec considered and initiated new generation capacity and
transmission projects respectively in order to meet the demand of other
jurisdictions. Overall, advancements on the generation front were strongly in
favour of cleaner and renewable sources of electricity.

    Survey methodology:

    The annual PwC survey provides a summary of performance within numerous
sectors of Canada's energy industry including: crude oil, natural gas, oil and
gas services, oil sands and electricity. The survey also summarizes financial
and operating information of the top 100 Canadian public oil and gas companies
and 32 oil and gas income trusts, as presented in their respective annual
reports for the fiscal years ended in 2006.

    For more information please contact Carolyn Forest,
carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com, 416-814-5730 or visit www.pwc.com/ca/energy.

    PricewaterhouseCoopers (www.pwc.com) provides industry-focused assurance,
tax and advisory services to build public trust and enhance value for its
clients and their stakeholders. More than 140,000 people in 149 countries
across our network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop
fresh perspectives and practical advice. Now celebrating 100 years of
excellence in Canada, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (www.pwc.com/ca) and its
related entities have more than 4,700 partners and staff in offices across the
country.

    "PricewaterhouseCoopers" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario
limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the
PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member firms of the network,
each of which is a separate and independent legal entity.





For further information:

For further information: Carolyn Forest, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP,
(416) 814-5730, carolyn.forest@ca.pwc.com; Peter Zvanitajs,
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, (416) 941-8383 x 13408,
peter.zvanitjas@ca.pwc.com

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