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Crude curtailment boosts Albertan producers' profits

Higher prices more than offset Western Canada restrictions on production

Canadian independents Cenovus Energy and Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) have won big since Alberta's crude curtailment programme began in January, with both posting strong second quarter profits. Executives from the two firms were among the loudest voices lobbying the Alberta government to adopt a crude curtailment programme last autumn, after Western Canadian oil prices fell through the floor. Western Canadian Select dropped from a peak above $55 in May to a trough below $13 in November—due to a lack of route-to-market capacity from the region. CNRL wanted higher crude prices so it would have the cashflow to continue purchasing oil sands assets, available at bargain-basement pr

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