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Progress on the Progress deal?

Petronas decides to extend negotiating deadline, while a pair of partnerships was announced by TransCanada and TransAlta. Also, the latest results from our stock picking contest

Oct 29, 2012

by Max Fawcett

All major markets in the U.S. are closed today in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. As a result, trading is light on the indices that haven’t shuttered their doors. But there’s still some action in Toronto today, including news about – what else – the proposed takeover of Progress Energy by Petronas. According to a Canadian Press story, Petronas has agreed to extend its deadline for the deal by one month, and is willing to extend it further if need be. As the Calgary Herald’s Stephen Ewart wrote last week, maybe the deal will get consummated after all.

TransAlta (TSE:TA) announced its earnings last week, and included in its relatively upbeat report was news of an agreement with Berkshire Hathaway-owned MidAmerican Energy to build natural gas-fueled generation in Alberta. “The agreement encompasses all new natural gas-fuelled generation opportunities considered by either TransAlta or MidAmerican in Canada,” the Calgary Herald reported, “including TransAlta’s proposed Sundance 7 project, an up to 800-megawatt project based in Alberta which, under current plans, would be completed by 2016 or 2017. All development and construction or acquisition of approved projects will be funded on a 50-50 basis and TransAlta will be responsible for construction management, operation and maintenance of projects that proceed.” That’s potentially good news for TransAlta shareholders, who have seen the value of their holdings punished over the last year.

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And while TransCanada (TSE:TRP) continues to wait on U.S. approval for the northern leg of its Keystone XL pipeline, it isn’t sitting on its hands. It announced a 50-50 partnership with Phoenix Energy to build a pipeline called the Grand Rapids project that will connect oil sands assets in the Athabasca region with other pipelines that will carry it south to the U.S. Who could benefit? In addition to TransCanada and Phoenix Energy, Athabasca Energy (TSE:ATH) could stand to profit from the increased capacity in their back yard.

Finally, with three weeks in the books, here’s the updated leader board for our stock picking contest – complete with a new leader!

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