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Shell Canada to Develop Milestone Project

Shell Canada Ltd. and its partners will develop Athabasca

Shell Canada Ltd. and its partners will develop Athabasca oilsands project in northern Alberta, Canada, despite a price tag that has ballooned to $12.8 billion.

The scope of the project is now fixed and that will help control costs, Shell chief executive Clive Mather said Wednesday.

"We have about 30 per cent of the engineering work already completed and about 30 per cent of major equipment has already been purchased," Mather told reporters Wednesday after Shell announced plans to proceed with a 100,000 barrel per day initial expansion of oilsands mining and upgrading capacity.

"This is a very long-term project," he said. "We're not talking about a five-year project which is the immediate target to get to full production, but a 40-to 50-year project. I really can't be distracted by day to day movements in the price. We've tested this project against a wide range of prices and it's robust."