* Six properties on offer, with est. 8 bln bbls in place
* Properties in Alberta, bids due Aug. 9
* Joins other offerings from Conoco, Shell
By Jeffrey Jones
CALGARY, Alberta, June 7 Koch Industries'
Canadian energy division has put interests in several
Alberta oil sands properties on the auction block, adding to a
growing list of opportunities for developing the massive
resource being shopped to potential bidders.
Koch Oil Sands Operating ULC is offering stakes in six
properties comprising 220,000 net acres, with total bitumen in
place estimated at more than 8 billion barrels, according to
Western Divestments, the financial adviser for the offering.
The recoverable resource potential is pegged at 2.9 billion
barrels, which could put the overall value of the assets in a
range between C$900 million and more than C$3 billion ($890
million and more than $2.9 billion), depending on the quality
and proximity to other holdings, FirstEnergy Capital Corp
analyst Michael Dunn said.
However, Koch did not specify what percentage it might offer
in the assets.
They include properties in the Cold Lake, Mackay, Firebag,
Muskwa, Namur and Pelican Lake regions of Alberta, the western
Canadian province whose oil sands resources represent the
world's third-largest crude deposit.
"Just to generalize, the leases would be worth the most to
those who are next door to them," Dunn said. Those operators
could be interested in adding to their own acreage, he said.
Western Divestments said the assets could eventually produce
more than 300,000 barrels a day.
Koch officials were not immediately available to comment on
U.S. billionaire Koch brothers, known for their support of
conservative causes, own the company and are longtime players in
Canada's energy sector.
In oil sands, Koch last made headlines in 2003 when it
decided against going ahead with a mining project called Fort
Hills after years of study and engineering work, balking at the
C$3.5 billion cost. That holding is now owned by Suncor Energy
Inc and Total SA.
The sale process comes as Canada's energy sector gears up
for massive investments in oil sands and in the pipelines that
would carry the supplies to markets in the United States,
Eastern Canada and the Pacific coast for shipment to Asia.
This week, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers,
the industry's main lobby group, said it now predicts oil sands
production will double to 3.1 million barrels a day by 2020.
U.S. democrats who oppose TransCanada Corp's $7.8
billion Keystone XL pipeline to Texas from Alberta have said the
Kochs, whose company also has U.S. refining operations, would be
big beneficiaries of the controversial project.
Koch's offering follows other oil sands properties onto the
market, including a multibillion-dollar package of assets owned
by ConocoPhillips, said to be of interest to India's Oil
and Natural Gas Corp, and a smaller holding from Royal
Dutch Shell called Orion.
Asian companies, especially those from China, have been
among the most enthusiastic foreign investors in oil sands
operations in recent years.
Koch's properties would be designed for steam-assisted
gravity drainage projects, where, instead of mining, the bitumen
is pumped to the surface with the aid of steam.
One of them, the Cold Lake property, has regulatory approval
for a 10,000 bpd steam-assisted project and a 1,200 bpd
demonstration phase, according to the sales material. It has
development potential of 55,000 bpd, it said.
Bids are due by Aug. 9, said Moya Little, president of
Western Divestments. Confidential data on the properties will be
available by the end of June, she said.