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Canada Report: Chevron 'confident' of drilling safety

Chevron Canada, facing strict scrutiny, is "confident" of the safety of its deepwater oil well being drilled off the northeast coast of Newfoundland.

As the Canadian government reviews offshore drilling in view of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Chevron officials have given assurances of the safety of the project that began a month ago.

Mark MacLeod, Chevron Atlantic Canada manager, made the comment to a Senate committee reviewing the safety of deepwater wells.

Chevron's Lona O-55 exploration well is in the Orphan Basin about 258 miles northeast of St. John's, Newfoundland.

The company has reviewed its drilling practices after the BP oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and caused what U.S. President Barack Obama said is America's worst environmental disaster.

Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum is overseeing Chevron's drilling operations, equipment testing and oil-spill readiness.

The well will be 8,530 feet beneath the surface, more than twice as deep as the ruptured BP rig.

Man gets a year for stealing $5M ticket

A former store owner who stole a tax-free $5.75-million lottery ticket from a customer has been sentenced to a year in jail.

Hafiz Malik, 63, of Toronto admitted the stealing the winning Lotto 6-49 ticket held by Lorraine Teicht and three of her school board co-workers.

Malik, who told Teicht the ticket won only $10 when she checked it at his store in 2004, cashed it in himself seven months later.

When one of the ticket partners discovered their regular numbers had won, they accused Teicht of stealing the winnings and hired a private investigator.

Teicht, who died in April, and the others have received their winnings with interest from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp.

The fraud resulted in changes in how retailers operate and the installation of scanners so customers can check their own tickets.

News in brief

• Canada's four federal parties are moving quickly with pardon reforms over concerns convicted "schoolgirl killer" Karla Homolka will try to clear her name. It is thought Homolka will apply for a pardon next month after serving a prison term in the sex-slayings in the early 1990s of her sister Tammy and teenagers Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy with then-husband Paul Bernardo, who remains in prison. A bill is expected to be passed Thursday so someone such as Homolka "would not fit the criteria" for a pardon.

• Quebecor Media is seeking approval to create an English-language news network to begin next year that would be "similar in tone" with Fox News. It would compete with CBC Newsworld and CTV News Channel. There are reports the venture would be headed by Kory Teneycke, former communications director for Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Facts and figures

Higher oil prices and encouraging economic data helped push Canada's dollar higher Friday to 97.94 cents U.S. The U.S. greenback returns $1.0210 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 0.5 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.5 percent.

Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,974 points and the TSX Venture Exchange 1,487 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 2, 5, 9, 20, 25 and 32; bonus 30. (June 12) 3, 11, 14, 20, 41 and 47; bonus 9. Lotto Max: (June 11) 2, 7, 12, 25, 29, 32 and 35; bonus 26.

Regional briefs

• Business is booming for Integrity Absorbent Products of Sarnia, Ontario, for booms to help in the cleanup of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The company is supplying 1,500 booms that together will stretch about four miles to sop up oil and thick sludge spewing from the ruptured well. Company owner Henry Mehta said he was told U.S. suppliers aren't able to fill all the demand.

• An Ontario man and his wife were killed and 20 Canadians injured when a tourist bus crashed in Switzerland. David Johnston, 70, and Joan, 67, of the Prescott area and who spent their winters in Florida, died in the crash. It was reported the accident happened when the bus driver tried to avoid hitting a motorcyclist on a mountainous road.

• Similar to a scene from Jurassic Park, 40 robotic, rubber-skinned dinosaurs have been airlifted to a new educational facility near Edmonton. The dinos swayed beneath a helicopter taking them to the Jurassic Forest and Learning Center. They will help tell the story of Alberta's history from 65-million years ago, said general manager Greg Suess.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com.

Canada Report: Chevron 'confident' of drilling safety 06/19/10 [Last modified: Saturday, June 19, 2010 7:05pm]

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