OTTAWA Aug 24, 2007 (Dow Jones)
Alberta's revenues from selling exploration rights have slumped more than 60% so far this year, knocked by low natural gas prices, rising oil sands development costs and weak equity markets, the Globe and Mail reported Friday.
The province's receipts from its twice-monthly land sales are C$969 million for the year-to-date, down from C$2.55 billion for the same period last year, the report said.
In 2006, the Alberta Treasury collected a record C$3.43 billion from the sale of exploration rights for oil, natural gas and oil sands, topping the previous year's C$2.26 billion.
The pace set so far this year suggests the 2007 total will be around C$1.4 billion, still the third highest for the province, according to the Globe.
Natural gas prices have slid down a third since the beginning of June, while crude oil prices rapidly backed off the all-time record posted earlier this month, shedding about 10% off their value.
Meanwhile, the recent turmoil in global equity markets has made it trickier for smaller exploration companies to raise funds.
Copyright (c) 2007 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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