MONTREAL – Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. hasn’t given up hope of selling cannabis as some Western Canadian provinces turn to the private sector for over-the-counter sales, the convenience store operator’s CEO said Tuesday.Brian Hannasch said the large convenience store chain, which operates as Circle K outside Quebec, has a proven track record of selling age-restricted products like cigarettes and beer.“We welcome the opportunity to work with one of the provinces here in Canada to demonstrate we can be a good partner in the space,” he said during a conference call about its second-quarter results.“And we are open to other formats that in the near term meet the concerns of these regulators.”While most provinces plan to sell marijuana in government-owned stores, Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba are looking at partnering with the private sector.Hannasch told analysts that he anticipates more markets around the world opening to cannabis sales.His comments came in response to an analyst’s questions after he discussed Couche-Tard’s strong quarterly results.The Quebec-based retailer’s earnings surged 35 per cent to a record US$435.3 million in its latest quarter as the CST Brands acquisition more than offset the negative impact of hurricanes in the U.S. south.The company, which reports in U.S. dollars, said it earned 76 cents per diluted share in the second quarter of its fiscal year, up from 57 cents or $321.5 million a year earlier.He said the strong performance was realized despite challenges from hurricane Harvey in Texas and hurricane Irma in the southeast United States.“At one point we had over 1,300 of our stores closed during the storms, including every store at one time in our Florida market,” he said.No employees were injured but the company took a $4.8-million financial hit from the loss of sales, incremental expenses to replace inventories and cleaning up costs.Excluding one-time charges, Couche-Tard (TSX:ATD.B) earned $458 million or 80 cents per share for the three months ended Oct. 15. That compared to $328 million or 58 cents per share in the prior year.Analysts expected Couche-Tard would report 71 cents per share in adjusted profits, according to analyst Derek Dley of Canaccord Genuity.“This was notably impressive as the company was unfavourably impacted by numerous store closures related to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma during the quarter,” he wrote in a report.Revenues were $12.1 billion, up 44 per cent from $8.44 billion in the second quarter of fiscal 2017.Hannasch said the company took a hit that likely equalled more than one per cent of sales because of distribution problems in Quebec following the acquisitions of Esso and Ultramar.“We underestimated the impact of adding both these networks to our Quebec distribution centre and we had significant supply disruptions.”Hannasch said the U.S. industry faces challenges as shoppers, particularly low-income consumers, reduce the number of automobile trips that spawn convenience store sales.“Despite an eight-year bull run in the stock market, real wage growth in much of our geographies have been fairly anaemic,” he said.In Canada, Couche-Tard faces minimum wage increases in Ontario and Alberta that is forcing it to become more efficient and reduce costs, in part, through the use of new technology, said chief financial officer Claude Tessier.Couche-Tard’s shares hit a 52-week high of C$66.53 in early Tuesday trading but closed up just 49 cents to C$64.75.
CALGARY – Two years after a blue-ribbon panel called on the Alberta government to encourage partial upgrading of bitumen from the oilsands to enhance value and free up more pipeline room for exports, the idea remains years away from commercialization.In its royalty review report in January 2016, the panel led by ATB Financial CEO Dave Mowat pointed out that if heavy, sticky bitumen were partly upgraded, there would be less need to add light petroleum to dilute it so it will flow in a pipeline — meaning as much as 30 per cent more bitumen could be stuffed into existing pipelines.It would also boost profits because companies wouldn’t have to buy diluent, which is generally priced in line with New York-traded West Texas Intermediate oil, the report said.Diluted bitumen as represented by Western Canadian Select crude currently sells for considerably less per barrel than WTI, a discount that has doubled in recent months from typical levels due in part to pipeline capacity constraints. The wider differential means Alberta producers are missing out on hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.Last week, privately owned Fractal Systems Inc. announced that its Enhanced JetShear partial upgrading and acid reduction technology had proved — during a year of testing — its ability to improve bitumen quality, increase bitumen volumes shipped in pipelines and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.“We’re now ready for commercial deployment and we’re hoping we’re hitting the market at just the right time,” said Fractal chairman Joe Gasca.“An engineering study is now underway with our oilsands partner for a large-scale Enhanced JetShear facility. We should know more about the timing of an investment decision later this year.”The company is partnering with oilsands producer Cenovus Energy Inc., aided by a $3.7-million federal grant approved in 2015 from Sustainable Development Technology Canada.Cenovus is investigating several partial upgrading technologies for potential future investment, according to CEO Alex Pourbaix.“We’re seeing some positive indications but I think we’re still in what I would call the R and D stage,” he said. “It isn’t something we’re going to be rolling out on a commercial basis in the short term.”Fractal said it has processed more than 225,000 barrels of diluted bitumen trucked to a 1,000-barrel-per-day pilot plant from steam-driven oilsands operations in northern Alberta. The facility succeeded in reducing the need for diluent by up to 53 per cent while improving oil quality through the reduction of olefins and acidity, the company said.Fractal president Ed Veith said a 50,000-barrel-per-day Enhanced JetShear facility at an oilsands project is estimated to cost about $275 million to build. It would result in savings from lower transportation and diluent costs of about $7.50 per barrel, based on 2017 average prices.However, proving partial upgrading technology works is one thing, while putting it into practice is another, said Kent Fellows, research associate at the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.“We’re probably looking at measuring in years, definitely not in weeks or months,” he said. “There is a lot of risk still in this, which has the potential to kill it in the nest before it gets out.”Fellows said producers looking to invest must ensure positive results from small pilot plants will be duplicated on a larger scale. They also need to make sure their customers will be willing to pay to use the resulting crude in their refineries. And the projects have to be able to pass regulatory hurdles.Alberta’s carbon tax creates another potential problem, Fellows added.Raw bitumen shipped to the U.S. Gulf Coast is processed in Texas, which has no carbon tax, he said. If it’s partly upgraded in Alberta, the producer will have to pay Alberta’s carbon tax on any emissions from the process — even if, as technology developers promise, the overall greenhouse gas emissions wind up being slightly lower.Fractal has been in touch with the Alberta government about the carbon tax issue, Gasca said, but it’s unclear whether anything can be done to address it.A School of Public Policy report funded by Alberta Innovates, the province’s applied research arm, suggested a year ago that a 100,000-barrel-per-day partial upgrading facility could add $10 to $15 of value to each barrel of bitumen.It listed 10 pre-commercial technologies that have been tested or proposed for deployment in Alberta.Alberta Innovates has hired an engineering firm to produce a report to be delivered by the end of February that will evaluate pre-commercial partial upgrading technologies.About 60 per cent of Alberta’s oilsands production is shipped in its raw form. The rest is typically upgraded into synthetic crude oil, a light product that flows easily in a pipeline and usually fetches near-WTI prices.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.Companies mentioned in this story: (TSX:CVE, TSX:SU)
Companies mentioned in this article: (TSX:TRP) The Canadian Press CALGARY — The National Energy Board is scheduling hearings over the next three months to consider a jurisdictional challenge of the approval of a pipeline needed to supply natural gas to the recently sanctioned $40-billion LNG Canada project.The hearings are to determine only if approvals given by the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission for the Coastal GasLink Pipeline are sufficient — if not, the NEB says the proponent will have to make a formal NEB application and undergo another separate process to win federal approval.The NEB actions are in response to a challenge by B.C. resident Mike Sawyer who argues that because TransCanada Corp. will operate the proposed pipeline and the connected Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. system together, they form a single pipeline which crosses the Alberta-B.C. boundary and therefore must be regulated by the federal government.The NEB says on its website it will accept additional written evidence from the builder late this month, take written evidence from interveners in January and gather information requests and responses from parties in January and February before holding final oral arguments in March.The 670-kilometre, 48-inch diameter natural gas pipeline would bring natural gas from prolific wells in northeastern B.C. to the proposed liquefied natural gas export facility near Kitimat on the West Coast.LNG Canada announced in October its partners — Royal Dutch Shell, Mitsubishi Corp., Petronas, PetroChina Co. and Korean Gas Corp. — had made a final investment decision to proceed with the project after delaying it in 2016 due to poor global prices for LNG.TransCanada’s contract to build the $6.2-billion pipeline was conditional on partner project approval.
WEMBLEY, A.B. – Beaverlodge RCMP are asking for the public’s assistance in locating 16 year old Madison Dugray. Madison was last seen on January 23, 2019 in Wembley.Madison is described as:– Indigenous female– 5’6″, 160 lbs.– Brown hair, brown eyes– Wearing a red sweater and jeans The investigation is ongoing and there is a general concern for her well-being. If you have information on the whereabouts of Madison Dugray please call the Beaverlodge RCMP at 780-354-2955 or call your local police. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.
The Calgary-based companies step in after a well is drilled to prepare it for production, performing operations including hydraulic fracturing, where liquids, sand and chemicals are injected under pressure to break up tight underground formations and free trapped oil and gas.Calfrac reported a net loss of $42 million, up from a loss of $15 million a year earlier, as its job count and pricing levels declined in both Canada and the United States.Trican’s net loss improved to $29 million from $35 million as it continued to sell equipment and cut costs, including implementing an unspecified number of job cuts during the second quarter.Both companies said they expect stronger business conditions in the second half of 2019. Companies in this article: (TSX:CFW, TSX:TCW) CALGARY — Two of Canada’s biggest oil and gas well-fracking companies are posting double-digit percentage revenue declines as energy exploration spending slowed in the quarter ended June 30.Calfrac Well Services Ltd., which has operations in Canada, the U.S., Russia and Argentina, reported revenue of $430 million, a 21 per cent fall from $545 million in the same period of 2018.Trican Well Service Ltd., which is focused on the Canadian market, reported revenue of $110 million, a 36 per cent decline compared with $172 million in second quarter 2018.
If you thought Kentucky’s chances looked good over in the men’s tournament, it’s time to bet your house on the University of Connecticut’s women’s basketball team. The nine-time national champions return to the NCAA tournament this year looking for their second three-peat in school history, and our first-ever go at March Madness predictions for the women’s tournament gives the Huskies a really, really good chance of doing just that.Next to Connecticut, things look bleak even for the other No. 1 seeds in the tournament: Maryland has only a 2 percent chance of winning it all, while steering clear of the Albany region gives South Carolina and Notre Dame a 10 percent and 9 percent chance, respectively, of dethroning Connecticut.We’re thrilled to be forecasting the women’s NCAA tournament and look forward to seeing how our model performs given what little data we have to work with. Below, we break down the strengths and weaknesses of each region.AlbanyAlbany has rightfully been labeled the “regional destination of doom” because of the Huskies, who are so dominant this year that their opponents’ odds seem laughable: St. Francis College, their first-round matchup, has about a 1 in 7,000 chance of beating them. Our model all but guarantees that UConn will make an appearance in the Elite Eight — a 98 percent chance — and the likelihood of the team heading to the Final Four isn’t much lower, at 96 percent. With these odds, UConn seems to be a surefire winner, barring something like a teamwide food poisoning epidemic or a player strike against Geno.UConn is led by junior Breanna Stewart, who scored double figures in all but three of the team’s games this season and senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who is the school’s all-time career leader in 3-point field goals, with 341.But the near-perfect Huskies are just that: near perfect. They lost once this season, to Stanford (a No. 4 seed) 88-86 in overtime back in November, and finished the season with a 32-1 record.And even though we give No. 2 seed Kentucky just a 1 percent chance of making it out on top of the Albany region, remember that the Wildcats were eliminated from the tournament by UConn in two of the past three years and may have a thirst for vengeance.Oklahoma CityLast year’s runner-up, Notre Dame, is the No. 1 seed over in the Oklahoma City region, coming off a fresh ACC championship and looking for its fifth consecutive appearance in the Final Four (we think the team has a 58 percent chance). The Irish are led by standout shooting guard and ACC Player of the Year Jewell Loyd, who averaged 20.5 points, 3.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game, and ACC Freshman of the Year Brianna Turner, a forward who averaged 13.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.Notre Dame will have to get past strong teams like No. 2 seed Baylor and No. 4 seed Stanford, two programs that are used to Final Four appearances, and some dark-horse contenders in Minnesota and Oklahoma. The Golden Gophers have stellar sophomore center Amanda Zahui B., who averaged 18.6 points and 12.4 rebounds per game, with an incredible 39-point game thrown in there, too. We give her team a less than 1 percent chance of getting past the Irish, but maybe not if she has anything to say about it.SpokaneThe No.1 seed in the Spokane region is Maryland, which swept through its Big 10 season and tournament undefeated and has only two losses on the season. The team has one of the most potent offenses in the country, but a pedestrian defense. And the Terrapins have a tough road ahead. Our model rates them as the weakest No. 1 seed by far, with only a 37 percent chance of winning their region. While they hope to win the program’s second national championship, after beating Duke in a thrilling overtime game in 2006, we give them only a 2 percent chance of winning this year (not helped by likely facing UConn in the Final Four).But first they must get out of the region. And Maryland might face No. 2 seed Tennessee. The Lady Vols, who haven’t made a Final Four appearance since 2008, have a 33 percent chance of making it out of the Spokane region this year, the most likely No. 2 seed to advance.Even before that, Maryland’s second-round opponent might be the only undefeated team in the tournament: No. 8 seed Princeton, which is 30-0. Some projected the Tigers to get a No. 5 seed, but the committee obviously saw their Ivy League schedule as unimpressive. Still, scrappy Princeton has the third-toughest defense in the country, and our model has it as the fifth most likely team to win the region and the 17th most likely team in the entire bracket to win the championship.Also in the Terrapins way: Oregon State, with its 3-point happy offense, is the most likely No. 3 seed to advance to the Final Four by our model’s estimates. And Duke is also impressive, with a scoring margin of nearly 12 points per game.For an upset sleeper, don’t count out No. 6 seed George Washington, which despite losing to Maryland by 10 points in November has the 15th-highest scoring margin in the country — albeit achieved by tearing through the relatively weak Atlantic 10 conference.GreensboroTo the extent that UConn faces a threat, it comes from the Greensboro region, where South Carolina is the No. 1 seed. By our model, South Carolina has the second-highest probability of winning it all, at 10 percent. If the Gamecocks do face the Huskies, it won’t be the first time — UConn throttled South Carolina by 25 points last month, one of the Gamecocks’ two losses on the season. But the Gamecocks have a stout defense, ranked eighth nationally. Their interior defense is especially impressive, as they block 6.5 shots per game, and overall, the team holds opponents to fewer than 53 points per game.To get to the Final Four, South Carolina must fight through several obstacles. It might encounter No. 5 seed Ohio State in the Sweet 16 and thus have to contain freshman superstar Kelsey Mitchell, who leads the nation in scoring, at 25.0 points per game. North Carolina, the No. 4 seed, knocked off the Gamecocks in the regional semifinals last year and is the third most likely team to get out of the region — ahead of No. 3 seed Arizona State.But most of all, South Carolina must get past No. 2 seed Florida State, which boasts the eighth-highest scoring margin in the country. Our model gives FSU a 17 percent chance of winning the region.Regardless, the main story lines to watch this year are whether mighty UConn can fulfill statistical destiny and storm through the tournament like the dominant program our model expects it to be and whether Princeton takes its insulting seed as motivation and sustains its unbeaten, dream season.Check out FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictions.CORRECTION (March 19, 12:00 p.m.): Because of an error in data reported by ESPN, an earlier version of this article gave incorrect team scoring margins for Duke, George Washington and Florida State. We’ve updated those figures with the correct data.
Former OSU quarterback Cardale Jones chats with Cleveland Indians’ outfielder Michael Brantley and pitcher Josh Tomlin before the start of the Buckeyes game against Nebraska on Nov. 5. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo Editor The Ohio State Buckeyes took on the Nebraska Cornhuskers in a Big 10 match-up on Nov. 5. The Buckeyes came away with a 62-3 win.
Binghamton junior forward Alex Varkatzas (9) slides into OSU senior midfielder Kyle Culbertson (3) for the ball during an August 30. match at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. OSU lost 0-1. Photo Credit: Muyao Shen / Assist. Photo EditorThe Ohio State men’s soccer team is prepared to open Big Ten play in the third game of its four-game road trip at Toyota Park, home of the Chicago Fire.The Buckeyes are scheduled to face the Northwestern Wildcats on Friday in Bridgeview, Illinois, at 8 p.m.OSU (1-3-0) is coming off a two-game weekend road trip in which it suffered losses against No.17 University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Navy.The Buckeyes outplayed their opponent in the first half of the game against UMBC, but the Retrievers fought back in the second half.OSU fought hard to try and sustain the momentum it had going to get a victory, but UMBC proved to be the better team at the end of the game with a 1-0 victory over the Scarlet and Gray.“Against UMBC, we definitely should have won,” junior defender and co-captain Tyler Kidwell said. “I thought we had some chances and they had a few chances, but they put them away and that kind of was the difference.”The Buckeyes looked as if the first loss of the weekend had affected them mentally going into Sunday’s match against Navy. The Buckeyes struggled to compete with the Midshipmen, as they were shutout, 3-0.“I think maybe we were down from the tough loss Friday, and from the get-go, Navy gave a great effort and were all over us,” Buckeyes senior midfielder and co-captain Zach Mason said.Kidwell said that despite the two losses, the team will continue to work hard to get a win.“We have an extremely talented team, probably one of the most talented teams since I’ve been here,” Kidwell said. “We’ve just got to keep going and grinding it out.”Mason also said that the team is confident and will be fine as long as the players and coaches stick to everything they know.“We have all the pieces to win games and we have the philosophy so I think that as long as we stick to what we know and execute our game plans, we’ll be fine,” Mason said. “It’s a confident bunch, it’s just a bit of a hardship, but we’ll bounce back.”CLASS actMason was announced as a candidate for the 2015 Senior CLASS Award on Thursday. To be eligible for the award, a student athlete must show achievements in the following four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition.“It is truly an honor to be nominated for the Senior CLASS award,” Mason said in an online release from OSU. “I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a student athlete at Ohio State and extremely humbled to be considered for such a great honor.”A committee will select the top ten finalists from a list of 30 candidates in October. Those finalists will then be placed on a ballot for a nationwide vote. One male and one female will be selected for the award and those winners will be announced at the 2015 NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Cup championships in December.Last season, former OSU goalkeeper Alex Ivanov won the award, joining linebacker James Laurinaitis in 2008 as the two Buckeyes to win for their respective sports.Looking aheadFollowing Friday’s action, the OSU men’s soccer team is scheduled to travel to Akron, Ohio, to face the Akron Zips on Sept. 16.
David De Gea made a horrendous mistake ahead of Portugal’s second goal of the game but Fernando Hierro didn’t want to criticize him as the whole team lose and win together.The new coach of the national team added that he was happy that his team never stopped fighting even though the circumstances weren’t good at times but they showed a great character and managed to fight back.Hierro spoke about his side’s performance and De Gea’s error as he said, according to Daily Star:“He’s one of us, we do not leave anyone behind.”Quiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.“We have put ourselves two times ahead and what Cristiano has done is to be expected.”“We have taken an important step, we have overcome adversity, the team has fought.”“We have not stopped believing and that is the important thing with all the circumstances.”“Diego was very good, he trains well and the team has been good in general.”
Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic suggests that England should have respected his side more ahead of their World Cup semi-final in Moscow.Before Croatia eliminated England from the tournament, there were speculations from supporters that Croatia were among the easiest teams England can defeat and it would be an easy walk for England to the final since they face Croatia at such late stage of the competition.Dalic accepted that English press gave his side extra motivation with the speculative reports about them.“There is always some extra motivation and we always respect our opponents,” he told reporters via Sportsmole.Crouch: Liverpool could beat Man United to Jadon Sancho Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Peter Crouch wouldn’t be surprised to see Jadon Sancho end up at Liverpool one day instead of his long-term pursuers Manchester United.“Maybe the English team should have respected us more, especially when you consider where our players play their football, but this is football and sport.“Maybe there was an element of extra motivation because of [comments in the English media], but there was also motivation to play in the final and make our fans and the country happy.”Croatia will now face France in the final of the World Cup on Sunday.