Friday, August 10, 2007

Hebron talks on?

This from the CP wire service:

Formal talks to develop Hebron offshore oil project back on, N.L. gov't says

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. (CP) - The Newfoundland and Labrador government says formal negotiations to develop the stalled Hebron offshore oil project have resumed.

A spokeswoman for Premier Danny Williams says formal discussions to proceed with the multibillion-dollar oilfield are back on, but declined to elaborate further.

Two months ago, Williams announced that exploratory talks between the provincial government and Hebron's partners, including Petro-Canada (TSX:PCA), were ongoing, marking a significant change in tone for the premier.

Negotiations broke down last year after Williams insisted on a 4.9 per cent equity stake in the proposed offshore oilfield.

Chevron Canada Ltd., the operator of the Hebron offshore oil platform, disbanded its project team in April 2006 after the province and an oil consortium couldn't reach an agreement on financial terms and benefits.

Experts have estimated that Hebron could produce more revenue for the province than all of its three other current offshore projects combined.
According to some reports, he even dashed out of the Premier's conference to go negotiate directly. And with the election just two months away, juts in the nick of time, I'd say.

But in time for what? Another negotiation collapse followed by an election centered around another jihad against "big oil" and seeking a popular mandate to negotiate? Or will there be a deal completed in the heat of a pre-election urgency so government can point to a concrete and significant economic achievement?

Stay tuned.

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