PetroChina, the world's second largest oil company, is buying a 60% majority stake in Athabasca Oil Sands Corp (AOSC) to develop two tar sands projects. The $1.9 billion deal will provide Chinese capital for Athabasca which controls about 1.3 million acres of oil sands properties containing as many as five billion barrels of reserves in Alberta.
"Sveinung Svarte, chief executive of Athabasca, said the company would likely ship its initial output to U.S. refiners, but would consider other export routes if they open up."In 2005 the state-owned PetroChina signed a memorandum with Enbridge to take up to half the space on its proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta to the port of Kitimat in BC.
Enbridge is applying to build the pipeline this year, so presumably PetroChina will eventually be able to ship its newly acquired share of Alberta oilsands straight home to China.
Athabasca does not foresee any "issues" from Investment Canada.
"Such a takeover would be subject to a new provision recently incorporated into the Investment Canada Act, under which the federal government could block a deal from a foreign firm if it was deemed to pose a threat to national security. But Ottawa will likely wave through the deal.
Geopolitics Central economist Vince Lauerman : "Given the environmental factor down in the states, it only makes sense to diversify our customers, especially to customers that are somewhat less concerned about the environment in general and greenhouse gas emissions in particular."
The Chinese takeover is good news for Alberta, said Alberta Energy spokesman Tim Markle."
August 2009 : Washington approves oil sands pipelinereverts back to this :
"The Obama administration yesterday approved [an Enbridge]pipeline to carry oil-sands fuel from Canada into the US, saying its action was designed to send "a positive economic signal in a difficult economic period"
June 2008 : Obama's fight against 'dirty oil' could hurt oil sands
"Barack Obama on Tuesday vowed he would break America's addiction to "dirty, dwindling, and dangerously expensive" oil if he is elected U.S. president -- and one of his first targets might well be Canada's oil sands."