Total expands oil sand holdings

July 12, 2010 at 10:57 AM
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CALGARY, Alberta, July 12 (UPI) -- French energy company Total is looking to expand its holdings in oil sands through a $1 billion deal to tap into Alberta, Canada, recent transactions show.

Total is expanding its portfolio in Alberta's tar sands through a $1 billion bid for UTS Energy of Calgary, the Financial Times reports.

Alberta assets held by UTS Energy are estimated at more than 3 billion barrels of oil, the report adds.

The French energy company has invested in oil sands projects and plans to expand its work in unconventional resources as conventional reserves run dry.

The report said the planned bid for UTS Energy is a sign international energy companies are interested in oil sand projects despite pressure from lawmakers in the region.

Commercial deliveries of crude oil to the U.S. Midwest from the Keystone pipeline from Canadian tar sands started during the last week of June.

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that while tar sand pipelines could increase oil deliveries to U.S. markets substantially, the risk was too great.

Waxman complains that extraction methods from tar sands requires more energy and releases more harmful emissions than conventional deposits.

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