* Joint venture deal awaiting clearance
* New Canadian rules no bar to deal
TORONTO Dec 11 Athabasca Oil Corp said
on Tuesday it is still looking to complete a joint venture deal
on some of its northern Alberta oil sands properties despite new
Canadian rules, as its as-yet-unnamed partner is seeking its own
approvals for the transaction.
Athabasca is looking for a partner to help develop its
Hangingstone and Birch oil sands properties. It said in
September that it had signed a letter of intent with a potential
investor, reported to be Kuwait's state-owned oil company,
Kuwait Petroleum Corp.
Now Athabasca is waiting for that partner to get the go
ahead from its own authorities.
"There's external parties that they need to deal with,
government agencies, and we're waiting for them to go through
their process on their end," Rick Koshman, Athabasca's vice
president of projects and thermal operations, told Reuters
following a presentation to an investment conference. "We still
feel them to be a potentially very good partner for us ... These
are big and complex deals, especially when you're involving
other governments involved with the process."
Koshman said new rules introduced in Canada last week
preventing state-owned oil companies from taking control of oil
sands projects are unlikely to derail Athabasca's talks, since
foreign buyers are still allowed to buy minority stakes in
"We are not looking for a change of control. We are looking
for joint ventures to 50 percent or less," he said.
Athabasca's Hangingstone property is its most advanced oil
sands holding, with first production expected by the end of
2014. Construction is scheduled to start at the end of 2012.
The company has said it has the potential to eventually
produce 80,000 barrels a day using steam-assisted gravity
drainage, where steam is injected into the ground to loosen the
tar-like crude so it can be pumped to the surface.
Birch could eventually support 155,000 barrels a day, though
the company has said it plans to submit a regulatory application
for a 12,000 barrel a day project later this year.
Athabasca shares fell 10 Canadian cents to C$9.90 on the
Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday.