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“At the margin, it is concerning, though realistically we are not sure it is that influential,” Robert J. Fitzmartyn, managing director and head of energy institutional research at Stifel FirstEnergy, told the Financial Post.
At the margin, it is concerning, though realistically we are not sure it is that influential
Robert J. Fitzmartyn
He said he and other analysts at his firm believe the courts will be more influential than the policies of elected officials when it comes to determining whether oil and gas projects go ahead.
“The reality is the courts are the gating point,” Fitzmartyn said. “It is clear that (opponents of) fossil fuels have focused on this aspect and resources are deployed to disrupt the process of project approvals.”
Analysts and economists suggest equity markets have largely digested this landscape and were betting on a Biden victory that would shift the environmental agenda forward even before he chose Harris, who attended high school in Montreal.
“The energy platform is unlikely to change simply due to her addition to the ticket, because it was already calling for some significant changes from where the U.S. has stood under Trump,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC Capital Markets in Toronto.
He added that U.S. vice presidents have rarely exercised the power to truly sway policy, with the notable exception of Dick Cheney’s “heavy hand in foreign policy” during the administration of George W. Bush.
“Had Biden wanted to use the VP pick to signal a more aggressive swing to the left, he would have opted for someone like Elizabeth Warren,” Shenfeld said.
McCrea, the Raymond James analyst, said investors are likely to take this year’s U.S. presidential election in stride.
“Investors in oil and gas have become accustomed to environmental regulatory headwinds and believe companies are already adapting for the future,” he said. “As such, although Harris will likely help push environmental changes, it’s hard to see if it will be any faster than what has been discussed already.”
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