New Brunswick Elections: PC Minority Government

As of now, the Progressive Conservatives, lead by Blaine Higgs, were ahead with 22 elected representatives. New Brunswick Liberals followed with 21 seats. Majority is 25 of the 49 seats of the Assembly. Results are not official yet as some ridings were won by less than 10 votes.

Bryan Gallant, the leader of the NB Liberals, didn’t concede victory to the conservatives in his speech tonight. He wanted to speak with the Lieutenant Governor and other parties to try to form a government, even though the Liberals didn’t have the most seats.

On the contrary, Higgs said it was his own responsibility to convene a minority government.

The highest number wins.

Blaine Higgs, Leader of the Progressive Conservatives of New Brunswick.

Higgs was referring to his higher number of seats, despite losing the popular vote. The NB Liberals are claiming a moral victory as they hold a 6% lead in the popular vote.

The probable outcome is for Higgs to form a minority government. This, despite not a majority government, is a bullish breakthrough for Corridor.

Disclosure: I am long CDH. Not for republication on Seeking Alpha.

Corridor Resources: The Detailed Story

I still believe Corridor Resources is a cheap way to bet on the results of the New Brunswick elections tomorrow. However, no clear winner is emerging, despite waiting a month for a clearer picture on today’s elections. This option is cheap for a reason.

Nonetheless, the story of the company is interesting to know whether you want to speculate on the outcome of today’s elections or not. Indeed, Corridor represent an interesting opportunity and will be subject of an article no matter the election results today.

This is a recap of the history of Corridor, its New Brunswick operations, the fracking moratorium and finally the special market for natural gas in the Northeast.

History

Corridor is a micro company operating out of the Canadian Province of Nova Scotia. Corridor has a history of stranded assets. The company has had three assets in its recent past:

  • The Anticosti Island shale prospect in Quebec;
  • The Old Harry offshore prospect in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, and finally;
  • Shale gas acreage in New Brunswick.

The Anticosti Island prospect benefited from strong support from the government at first, despite a indefinite moratorium on fracking for the rest of the Province of Quebec. This favorable environment all came crashing down after the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Premier Couillard vehemently condemned the project when attending the conference. This was in December 2015.

The project then became a political nightmare. Still, preparatory work and exploratory drilling followed its course. The government stopped the operator just before the first fracking took place. The government announced a plan to abandon the project, following the compensation of the partners involved in the exploration of the island.

The Old Harry offshore structure was on Corridor’s radar for quite some time now. A drilling lease was first issued in 2011. The lease was expanded recently to 2021 for the drilling to drill a new exploratory well. Unfortunately, Corridor had to abandon exploratory work in there following disappointing results from the CSEM. There isn’t a future in the medium-term for the Old Harry prospect.

New Brunswick shale gas

The last asset on its book is the New Brunswick shale gas asset. Corridor currently earns all of its revenues through its natural gas operations, despite the asset being under a fracking moratorium since 2014.

Oil Gas Rights New Brunswick

Source: Potential Economic, Health and Environmental Impacts of Shale Gas Development, Volume 2

The New Brunswick Liberals imposed a moratorium on all fracking done in the province in 2014, after failing to meet their own set of conditions.

Moratorium

The NB Liberals first instituted the fracking moratorium just after the election, in December 18, 2014. Then, it was announced in early 2016 the moratorium would be extended indefinitely, until five key conditions, spelled out after the environmental evaluation, are met:

  • A social license in place;
  • Clear and credible information about the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on our health, environment and water, allowing us to develop country-leading regulatory regime with sufficient enforcement capabilities;
  • A plan that mitigates the impacts on our public infrastructure and that addresses issues such as waste water disposal;
  • A process in place to respect our obligations under the duty to consult with First Nations;
  • A mechanism in place to ensure that benefits are maximized for New Brunswickers, including the development of a proper royalty structure.

Source: New Brunswick Governement

Some interest groups are pushing to permit fracking again in New Brunswick. It could very well be a gold mine for the province: Natural gas prices are very high in the Maritimes and in the Northeastern US. Those markets are interlinked by the Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline.

Market

Maritimes And Northeast Pipeline

Source: Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline

The use of natural gas increased significantly in New Brunswick from 1999 to 2013, mainly because of the arrival of natural gas from Nova Scotia’s Sable Offshore Energy Project (SOEP) in 2000.

New Brunswick’s economy is now heavily linked to natural gas and will be for many years to come. Should prices remain competitive, natural gas demand is expected to keep growing, namely because of electricity production, and for industrial and commercial uses.

The local market is very inefficient because of a lack of takeaway capacity in the Northeastern US, coupled with growing demand, especially in the winter months, and shrinking supply. There isn’t enough natural gas to heat American homes and produce electricity at the same time. This leads to a substantial premium compared to Henry Hub prices.

AGT Pricing

Source: Corridor Resources, May 15, 2018

This huge mispricing in the market is, of course, a money making machine for Corridor. Operating netback was C$11/Mcf in Q1 2018, or an astonishing C$65/boe. The operating netback was substantially lower in Q1 2017, at C$34/boe.

The premium pricing in the winter is expected to persist in the long-term, or better for Corridor, increase. Indeed, offshore natural gas production is expected to decline substantially. SOEP decommissioning has begun in late 2017. Deep Panuke is having problem of its own, namely water leakage. Encana, the owner and operator, has already filed an application to start the early abandonment of the offshore field. Encana anticipates conducting decommissioning activities during the 2019-2021 timeframe.

Transportation costs from key US shale plays to New Brunswick is estimated at C$3.67 per MMBtu, excluding local delivery costs and the price of the commodity itself. As such, not only will the price Corridor receives will trade at a premium compared to Algonquin Citygates, but it will also pay less for shipping given the proximity of the McCully field to the demand centers in New Brunswick.

A pipeline project connecting Marcellus gas to the Northeast US and the Canadian Maritimes is currently landlocked in Massachusetts. Both senators from Massachusetts are vocally opposed to the project and called into question the FERC ruling on the necessity of the pipeline. Unless the Maritimes can source additional natural gas from the Marcellus, ironically being shale gas, the province will pay an even bigger premium for its gas.

In all, the substantial pricing advantage is expected to continue, no matter the election results.

Disclosure: I am long CDH. Not for republication on Seeking Alpha.

Portfolio Update: Escaping Volatility

I was out of Gear Energy, as you know, and MEG Energy. My timing was, for once, good. I took profits.

On the other hand my timing on Granite Oil wasn’t good.

GXO StockCharts.com August 19

Source: StockCharts.com

I sold Granite at a rock bottom price. It was frustrating as the stock was at C$3 per share a month ago. The stock continued falling last week. Granite could be an interesting buy in the future. For now it simply didn’t make sense to keep the stock.

I still think MEG is an interesting play on Canadian heavy oil, despite having sold half of my position. The stock showed some strength at the end of last week. There is a future for MEG shareholders, especially with an activist investor such as Highfields Capital.

I started to rebuild my position in Gear after the fall last week.

I also bought Corridor Resources. The New Brunswick election in September is coming in a month and it’s currently projected to be much more closer than what’s reflected in Corridor’s share price. All hope is not lost for shale gas in New Brunswick. Stay tuned for an updated article on Corridor.

I also bought more Raging River. My portfolio is also overweight Raging River. For the sake of good timings, this stock is one of them. Stock is at a 6-year low and I am off only by about 10%. Not so bad.

Disclosure: I am long CDH, GXE, MEG, RRX. Not for republication on Seeking Alpha.

Corridor Resources: CSEM Survey Almost Underway

Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA and its wholly owned subsidiary Electromagnetic Geoservices Canada Inc. (together, “EMGS”) have initiated preparations for carrying out a pre-funded multi-client survey west of Newfoundland, Canada. The survey represents a minimum level of revenues to EMGS of approx. USD 2.5 million.

The survey is expected to be executed in the fourth quarter of 2017.

EMGS Press Release, October 17, 2017

Corridor hired EMGS, from Norway, to do the study. The work amounts to C$3.3M, as disclosed previously by Corridor.

The study is almost underway. The vessel Atlantic Guardian is sailing to the Old Harry site. The vessel crossed the Atlantic earlier in October. It was moored of St-John’s until last week when it sailed to the Gulf of St-Lawrence. It is now off the coast of Nova Scotia, near Cape North.

Atlantic Guardian Location November 11

Source: MarineTraffic.com

There were many studies realized throughout the years in the Western Newfoundland and Labrador Region (Petro-Canada, Mobil Oil, Marathon Petroleum, Talisman Energy, BHP Petroleum, etc). Petro-Canada wasn’t far from the underground structure in 1981.

Petro-Canada Survey 1981 November 11

Source: C-NLOPB

Corridor has done a very similar study in 1998.

Corridor Resources Survey 1998 November 11

Source: C-NLOPB

The focus was on the Western structure of Old Harry, in Quebec’s territory. This time, Corridor will focus on the Eastern structure.

Corridor has now C$47M in working capital, or C$0.53 per share. I am still holding a reduced position in Corridor since Value Digger’s article on August 3.

Disclosure: I am long CDH. Not for republication on Seeking Alpha.

Corridor Resources: The Numbers

Here is what happened since we know that Hydrocarbons Anticosti LP is negotiating with the government.

CDH StockCharts.com April 12

Source: StockCharts.com

Corridor’s stock went from C$0.42 to close at C$0.45/share at 5.5X average volume for total upside of C$2.7M.

PEA StockCharts.com April 12

Source: StockCharts.com

Petrolia’s stock went from C$0.14 to close at C$0.18/share at 7.0X average volume for total upside of C$4.3M.

These gains have evaporated since.

Disclosure: I am long CDH. Not for republication on Seeking Alpha.

Portfolio Update: Aggressive Moves To Start 2017

Here are my trades to start the year:

  • I added to my position in Amaya. Indeed, bad names will stop appearing in bad actor clause negotiations now that both David Baazov and Daniel Sebag are gone. Plus Amaya’s operations are coming out as very strong.
  • I bought back shares in Corridor Resources, as you know. It’s now or never for Corridor to move west and grab assets on the cheap before oil heads substantially higher. I need to go long before reading about the acquisition in a press release.
  • I added to my position in MEG Energy after the company announced a major refinancing plan.
  • I added to my position in Painted Pony Petroleum. The company is still undervalued despite being up 60% since I bought it nine months ago.

I also went long lithium by buying all the junior exploration companies operating in Quebec: Critical Elements, Nemaska Lithium and Natan Resources. I’ll let you know shortly how I narrowed it down to those three companies.

Disclosure: I am long AYA, CDH, CRE, MEG, NMX, NRL, PPY. Not for republication on Seeking Alpha.

Corridor Resources: Unloved, Unknown, With 2 Golden Options

  • Corridor’s natural gas business in New Brunswick will be profitable, despite the moratorium.
  • The company has a pristine balance sheet, with no debt and over $23M in cash.
  • It has a quick ratio of over 29, which indicates absolutely no financial pressure in the short term.
  • The market is completely ignoring the tremendous Old Harry and Anticosti Island prospects.

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