Described by Time Magazine as “Canada’s greatest buried energy treasure”, the Canadian oil sands encompass over 140,000 km2 (54054 mi2) underlying northern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Overall crude production from the oil sands is estimated to reach 3.88 million barrels per day by 2020, and 4.34 million barrels per day by 2025, which will meet an estimated 16 percent of North American oil demand. Over $91 billion has been invested in the oil sands in recent years and over $170 billion in oil sands-related projects are currently underway or proposed. Only about four percent of the initial established bitumen reserves have been extracted to date. The fourth wave of oil sands development is now underway. With the world demand for crude oil expected to exceed 105 million barrels a day by 2030, the Canadian oil sands give investors access to a massive resource base that is politically stable and has a long reserve life.
Oil sands developments are mega-projects with very significant regulatory, capital, commercial and environmental components such that it is imperative that investors seek legal advice from a firm with lengthy experience in the oil industry in general and the Canadian oil sands in particular. Having played an integral role in the development of the Canadian oil and gas industry for nearly 90 years, Bennett Jones LLP has compiled this backgrounder for potential investors in the oil sands.
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