Thursday, September 27, 2012

Connacher gets approval for Great Divide expansion

Conacher assets, including Great Divide.
Connacher has received ERCB approval for its Great Divide expansion project. The plan for the SAGD project is to add 24,000 bbl/d to the current production capacity of 10,000 bbl/d.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Indian companies place $5 billion bid on Conoco assets. Or maybe not.

An update on this article in July, a bunch of sources are reporting that an Indian consortium has finally placed a bid on some of ConocoPhillips' assets, including Surmont, but excluding its JVs with Cenovus, Christina Lake and Foster Creek. The Indian companies in the consortium are Oil India, India Oil (just to be confusing) and Oil and Natural Gas Company Overseas (ONGC Videsh). There is disagreement over the price they offered, however, with people saying they don't think it's worth $5 billion and ONGC apparently denying it yesterday, with their chairman saying "I can categorically say that we have not made a bid yet for the $5 billion deal". That sounds pretty categorical.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Why more bitumen isn't upgraded in Alberta

A refinery in Strathcona, outside Edmonton.
From Wikipedia, so it's not even real stealing this time.

Alberta Oil Magazine has an interesting article about why it doesn't make much sense to build bitumen upgraders in Alberta, and why that's not necessarily a bad thing. To summarize, upgrading margins have been consistently thin because the light and heavy oil price differential is so small, and plants can be built on the US gulf coast for half as much, a figure I think is pretty staggering. Cost overruns are frequent and large, particularly when the industry tries to do many "mega-projects" at once because qualified labour gets rarer and more expensive.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Keystone being built, in Arkansas!

The Keystone XL proposed route. Arkansas is to the
right of Oklahoma.
Today I learned the Keystone XL pipeline is already being built! Unfortunately, it's in Arkansas. Welspun Tubular has made about 800 km of pipe for the line in Little Rock. If it can't clear the backlog it says it will start laying off workers.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

American vets to work in oil sands

I know what you're thinking because I was thinking the same; how many vets do they need up in Fort McMurray? Don't they mostly just scare animals away or drown them in tailings ponds?

Turns out they mean military veterans. No numbers are given, but it looks like an American veterans job-placement service called VetJobs has talked about placing people in Alberta industries with the help of the city of Edmonton and gotten a lot of interest from veterans in return. They claim many US veterans could help fill Alberta's labour shortage for skilled workers, or at least workers willing to learn to become skilled. In the words of Ted Daywalt, president of VetJobs, there is "no language barrier, it’s not like living in the arctic circle and there are similar Conservative values in Alberta". "It’s an ideal situation for veterans!!! *<:)" [ed: punctuation and party-hat emoticon my own] This is a clear demonstration that he understands we don't speak French or live in igloos (at least some of the year), and while he may be disappointed to learn of the area's lackluster bible thumping, maybe the veterans will be more amenable to some of the local institutions' "Conservative values".

Overall, it looks like the Atlantan is serious about sending some vets up to the Mac!

Osum gets approval for Taiga project near Cold Lake

Taiga cross section stolen from the Osum website.
Osum Oil Sands Corp. (my personal favourite oil sand company name) has received authorization from the ERCB to build its Taiga project 25km north of Cold Lake. The plan is for a 35,000 barrel per day SAGD project, the first 10,000 barrel per day phase of which will supposedly startup in 2013.

Osum is a private company with a bunch of deep pocketed partners, including Warburg Pincus, Blackstone Capital Partners, Camcor Partners Inc., Kern Partners, Goldman Sachs and the Singaporean and South Korean sovereign wealth funds. Perhaps its most attractive assets are the Grossmont carbonates it owns with Laracina, which contain a massive amount of bitumen but have yet to be effectively extracted. Taiga is clastic, not carbonates, and so is a much more conventional oil sands project, to the degree that any oil sand project can be conventional. Osum also has a pretty slick website that moves and bounces and stuff.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Kuwait Petroleum may invest $4 billion in oil sands

A map showing Athabasca's oil sands properties,
including Birch and Hangingstone.
Map from Athabasca's website.
It looks like Kuwait Petroleum, Kuwait's state owned oil company, is close to signing a deal with Athabasca Oil Corporation (formally Athabasca Oil Sands Corporation). The deal would be for a $4 billion joint venture on Athabasca's Hangingstone and Birch properties. The companies have apparently signed a letter of intent on the matter. 

This seems like a lot of money for properties with unproven production, especially since Athabasca itself seemed to think of them as second string properties after Dover and MacKay. That said, without knowing what percentage this $4 billion would buy it's hard to comment on how reasonable the deal is.