Canadian oil not yet at risk from price drop-official
* $120 billion in oil sands projects on track-official
* Some projects require $80 a barrel price, others lower
* Canada producers wary of US recession that could hit oil
NEW YORK, Sept 6 (Reuters) - The recent fall in world oil prices has not been sharp enough to put oil sands output from Canada's Alberta Province at risk, the province's energy minister told reporters on Tuesday.
U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude prices have dropped by more than a quarter since hitting a 2-1/2 year high near $115 a barrel in May, and now trade near $85 CLc1. Current prices are close to the break-even range for some Canadian projects.
"Alberta has about $120 billion in projects that have been announced," said provincial Energy Minister Ron Liepert, at a news conference in New York.
"I haven't heard of anybody putting theirs on hold," he said.
Canada shipped around 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of oil to the United States last year, with more than half coming from oil sands areas.
New open pit mining projects in the oil sands can require WTI prices near $80 a barrel in order to be profitable. So-called in situ projects -- tapping deeper layers of geology with steam injection or other methods -- typically have lower break-even points in the $40 to $60 a barrel range, Liepert said.
"If you want to put $10 billion into a mine, you probably need an $80 (a barrel) return," he told reporters.
Most Alberta oil sands projects are in situ, he said. The Energy Ministry's long-term oil price projection is around $85 a barrel, a level that would allow all varieties of oil sands projects to proceed.
Canadian output has been hit heavily in periods of falling oil prices, including during the 1980s and late 1990s. Higher prices since 2003 have triggered major oil sands investment.
Producers are wary of the risk of a U.S. recession that could derail oil prices further, Liepert said.
Alberta has lobbied heavily for the U.S. government to grant TransCanada (TRP.TO) approval to build the Keystone XL pipeline, a $7 billion project to bring more than 500,000 more barrels a day of Canadian crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2013.
The line requires U.S. State Department approval and faces opposition from some environmental groups worried about oil sands' high carbon footprint and the risk of pipeline leaks. (Reporting by Joshua Schneyer; Editing by Andrea Evans)
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