Canada looks for Indian investment in oil sands

January 13th, 2009 - 10:58 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 13 (IANS) The global economic downturn has affected the development of oil sands in Canada, according to a Canadian minister who said the country was looking for Indian investment in the energy sector.Canada has one of the highest reserves of crude in the world and most of the oil sands, which are in the western Canadian province of Alberta, have a proven reserve of 173 billion barrels - the highest after Saudi Arabia.

Alberta Deputy Premier Ron Stevens, who was in Delhi to attend Petrotech 2009, said the global downturn in the economy had affected exploration and production projects world wide, with the Canadian oil sands not an exception.

“In the summer of 2008, we had about $170 billion of new projects allotted. A number of them are on hold,” he said.

Stevens referred to the 2008 summer months, when oil prices had reached a peak of $147 in June, thereby making extraction of heavy crude from the oil sands commercially attractive.

Stevens is in New Delhi with over eight companies in his province, peddling the knowledge and technology garnered from working with heavy crude.

“I will be speaking to national oil companies and private players here to look at interests there. Indian companies have shown interest for a long time, so they are well-informed,” he said.

He added that Indian companies can purchase leases or become shareholders.

India’s state-run oil upstream major Oil and Natural Gas Corporation had shown interest earlier last year in the Canadian oil sands, but with the prices going south, they may not enter the market right now. International oil prices fell below $39 per barrel Monday.

Stevens said one of the world’s largest investments in carbon capture and storage has been done in the oil sands at $2 billion. “We are offering that technology to the Indian market too,” he said.

Canada is now the top oil exporter to the US, with the oil sands crude itself accounting for about 13 percent of US crude imports.

“We are currently producing 1.35 million barrels per day, which we hope to increase to 2.5 to 3 million barrels in 2013,” he said.

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