Japex to go ahead with $1.4-bln Canada oil sands investment

TOKYO Fri Dec 14, 2012 4:15am EST

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TOKYO Dec 14 (Reuters) - Japan Petroleum Exploration (Japex) has decided to go ahead with a $1.4-billion expansion of its Hangingstone oil sands project in Canada and will initially triple output from the development, the company said.

Snapping up global energy assets in the wake of last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster, Japanese companies have been investors in Canada's oil sands, the world's third-largest reserves of crude after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

The final investment decision, twice delayed over Canadian government approval, means the company will increase output at the project to 20,000 barrels per day (bpd) from 6,000 to 7,000 bpd. A decision to increase production to 30,000 bpd will be taken later, the company said in a statement.

Japex will start construction immediately and expects to start producing the higher output in the first half of 2016.

The project is expected to cost about C$1.4 billion ($1.42 billion), the company said.

A Japex subsidiary owns a 75 percent stake in the project, while Canadian energy producer Nexen Inc has the rest.

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