Statoil’s exit starkest sign Canada’s oilsands resource has lost its lustre
Not long ago, Norway’s Statoil ASA was going to build a $10 billion oilsands project in Alberta, put its reputation on the line to defend the deposits in its home country against a smear campaign led by Greenpeace, and even contemplated a massive upgrader near Edmonton.
It all came to a halt late Wednesday when Statoil sold out of the oilsands altogether at a loss, leaving it with no operated assets in Western Canada.
It’s the starkest sign yet that the oilsands have lost their lustre against other global opportunities, particularly tight oil. Sure, the oil price crash had a lot to do with it. But a decade of climate change policy uncertainty and anti-oilsands campaigns didn’t help.
Paul Fulton, president of Statoil’s Canadian affiliate, said the Norwegian state-controlled giant wanted to “optimize” its portfolio to focus on new core assets in places like Norway, the United States and Brazil.
The company also highlighted offshore Newfoundland as one of its “core activities globally.” Statoil discovered Bay du Nord in the Flemish Pass Basin in 2013 and is continuing to assess its commercial potential.