Statoil freezes oil sands project in Canada

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Statoil photo: Shutterstock
11:52 CEST+02:00
Norwegian oil company Statoil announced the postponement of an oil sands project in Canada due to rising costs and limited pipeline transport capacity.

The Corner project, located in the province of Alberta in western Canada, is being postponed for a minimum of three years, the company said in a statement late Thursday.

The production capacity of the project is 40,000 barrels per day and its delay does not affect the neighbouring Leismer project, which can produce up to 20,000 barrels per day, according to Statoil.

"Costs for labour and materials have continued to rise in recent years and are working against the economics of new projects," Statoil Canada country manager Ståle Tungesvik said.

The decision highlighted the difficulties experienced by oil companies to transport fossil fuels from the most remote areas of Alberta to the markets due to limited pipeline capacities.

In June, the Canadian government greenlighted the construction of a new pipeline to the Pacific coast, which should be operational by 2017.

The construction of another pipeline, the controversial Keystone XL, which is expected to connect west Canada with the Gulf of Mexico, faces fierce opposition from environmentalists and part of the US political establishment.

Statoil also announced Friday a gas discovery in the Pingvin prospect in the Norwegian waters of the Barents Sea.

Pingvin is located 65 km (40 miles) north west of Johan Castberg, a large oil discovery which is still waiting for an investment decision.

It is estimated to contain between 30 and 120 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalent, which is considered a non-commercial volume at this stage but could become profitable if additional finds are made in the region.

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