Canadian oil executives could be pressured by recent firings

Recent movement within the top echelons of Canada's oil executives could signal a change in attitudes among the country's shareholders, according to The Financial Post.

Two Canadian oil companies, Nexen Inc. and Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd., recently made headlines by firing their chief executive officers, the first time such action has been taken since 2001.

The move came as oil prices have lingered above $100 per barrel for extended periods, but neither executive looked to make any substantial moves in the market. Concern over their conservative behavior became evident after the two were let go, as each company saw major stock gains, at one point reaching as much as 9 percent.

That response from the market could be cause for concern for an oil executive at an under-performing company, such as Encana Corp. or Talisman Energy.

"These were CEOs of oil companies in a $100 dollar oil environment with relatively weak share prices that were dismissed, and the stocks reacted quite positively," Michael Dunn, an analyst at FirstEnergy Capital, told the Post. "That will not go unnoticed in the industry."

Bloomberg reports that Nexen could now be open to a takeover, given a 35 percent premium on current share prices.

Analyses of Canadian oil companies can be found at PennEnergy's Research area.

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