For anyone who came of age in the late 1970s or early ’80s, ConocoPhillips’ announced sale of most of its Canadian assets to Cenovus Energy would bring quick recall of Queen’s chart-topping hit from 1980: Another One Bites the Dust.
By selling its half interest in Christina Lake and Foster Creek to Calgary-based Cenovus in a deal valued at $17.7 billion, ConocoPhillips joins Royal Dutch Shell, Marathon Oil and Statoil in choosing to reduce or eliminate their exposure to the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and invest elsewhere.
ConocoPhillips will retain an interest in the Surmont play, which it owns with France’s Total S.A., but it’s only a matter of time before Total is added to the list of those leaving the oilsands.
Delegates who heard ConocoPhillips’ CEO Ryan Lance speak at the recent CERAWeek conference in Houston would have heard a somewhat different view of where the oilsands fit into the company’s portfolio. It sure didn’t sound like it was about to be sold off.
“We have a large position in the SAGD and we are seeing the same technology and innovation driving lower costs and creating opportunity,” he said. “The challenge I have put out to our Canadian team is how do you do that (reduce costs and create opportunity) in a two- or three-year cycle time frame.
“On the Canadian oilsands side, how do you build 20,000 to 50,000 barrel-a-day increments, and do that in a two- to three-year time frame and under a $50 cost of supply. They are seeing ways to get that done.”
Almost three weeks…
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