Conoco unloads Canadian oil sands acreage

Aug. 9, 2013 at 6:37 AM

HOUSTON, Aug. 9 (UPI) -- U.S. energy company ConocoPhillips announced it was selling a quarter of a million acres near the Athabasca oil sands region in Alberta, Canada.

Conoco said it sold its entire stake in the Clyden oil sands reserve area to its Canadian counterparts, Imperial Oil and ExxonMobil Canada, for approximately $720 million.

The company said it maintains more than 1million acres of land in the oil-rich Athabasca area of northeastern Alberta. The company sold 226,000 acres near the Athabasca oil sands region south of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Conoco said its assets in northeastern Alberta contain approximately 16 billion barrels of oil and related products.

Imperial takes on a 27.5 percent stake in the assets. Exxon takes the remaining 72.5 percent. Imperial said it would develop the site using steam-assisted gravity drainage. The process used to warm heavier crude oil types is controversial, though safety incidents are rare.

Don Wallette, executive vice president for corporate planning at Conocco, said the transaction is "a significant step toward rebalancing our world-class oil sands portfolio." The company said it expects to post a gain of $450 million from the project after taxes.

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