Business briefs – July 9

Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) plans to outsource less work to other firms on future oilsands expansions to boost efficiency and cut costs, a company executive told an investment conference Wednesday.

Oilsands firm looks to cut costs, boost efficiency

CALGARY — Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (TSX:CNQ) plans to outsource less work to other firms on future oilsands expansions to boost efficiency and cut costs, a company executive told an investment conference Wednesday.

“We are going to attempt to build this out by taking more project control ourselves in-house, rather than farming it out,” vice-chairman John Langille said at the TD Newcrest Canadian Unconventional Oil Forum.

The first phase of Canadian Natural’s Horizon oilsands project began producing synthetic crude oil in February. That 110,000-barrel-a-day project ended up costing $9.7 billion, up from its original budget of $6.8 billion.

“In our company, we are not happy about that at all.,” Langille said.

CRTC issues fines for do-not-call violations

OTTAWA — The CRTC says it has dealt out its first round of fines to telemarketers for violating the do-not-call registry, pegging two unnamed companies.

The regulator said Wednessday that both firms have 30 days to pay fines or contest the charges before a regulatory panel. As long as they don’t dispute the fines, then they will remain anonymous under the regulator’s general policy.

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Beijing firm joins Magna in bidding for Opel

FRANKFURT — Negotiations for the sale of General Motors Corp.’s Opel to Canadian auto parts maker Magna International Inc. (TSX:MG.A) are progressing, a GM Europe spokeswoman said Wednesday, while confirming the company has also received a bid from China’s Beijing Automotive Industry Corp.

Maggie He, a spokeswoman for GM China in Shanghai, told The Associated Press that the Chinese automaker had made a bid for Adam Opel GmbH, confirming weeks of speculation. No details about the Chinese bid were released and phone calls to the company were not answered.

OPEC revises outlook for crude oil prices

VIENNA — In what can be seen as a good news, bad news story for Canada, the OPEC oil cartel is predicting it will take another four years for crude oil use to recover to 2008 levels because of the global recession.

Wednesday’s forecast was one of several profiled by the 12-member Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries in its oil supply and demand outlook to 2030.

It reflected the deep crimp in the world’s appetite for oil because of falling international industrial production.

While reduced demand for crude might seem like good news for consumers facing sticker shock at the gas pump, it likely doesn’t auger well for Canada’s petroleum industry, a major driver of the economy, especially in Western Canada.

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