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Total to Acquire UTS Corporation and Its 20% Interest in Fort Hills Oil Sands Project for C$1.15B

Total E&P Canada Ltd., a Total subsidiary, has signed an agreement with UTS Energy Corporation (UTS) to acquire UTS Corporation with its main asset, a 20% interest in the Fort Hills oil sands mining project in Alberta, Canada.

Under the terms of the agreement, UTS will transfer its assets, other than its Fort Hills interest, to a newly formed company and Total E&P Canada will pay a cash amount of 3.08 Canadian dollars (CAD) per share to acquire UTS. Taking into account the cash held by UTS and acquired by Total (CAD 355 million, equivalent to CAD 0.73 per share) the cost of the acquisition for Total amounts to approximately CAD 1.15 billion (US$1.09 billion).

The Fort Hills project is operated by Canada’s Suncor Energy Inc. with a 60% interest, the remaining 20% held by Teck Resources Ltd. The most recent estimates put Fort Hills’ resources at around 3.4 billion barrels of bitumen, which will be recovered through open-pit mining. The project will be developed in two phases. The first phase of approximately 160,000 barrels per day has already obtained the necessary administrative approvals to launch the development in the near future with a target production start-up, as expected by Total, in 2015-2016.

The earn-in costs owed to UTS by its Fort Hills partners (approximately CAD 704 million) will be transferred to Total, which means that the net acquisition cost to Total for approximately 680 million barrels of resources is CAD 0.65 per barrel.

Parallel to this transaction, Total is considering divesting some of its interest in the Joslyn mine, while retaining its role as operator, with the objective of an approximately 50% stake.

Total is very pleased with this acquisition of a high-quality asset that will allow us to strengthen and reorganize our asset portfolio in the Canadian oil sands. With Suncor Energy Inc., we will benefit from the experience of a leading partner, whose expertise in the mining operation of oil sands is well recognized.

—Yves-Louis Darricarrère, President of Total Exploration and Production

Total operates the Joslyn project with a 75% interest. Production potential of this mining project is currently estimated at 200,000 barrels per day. Total also owns a 50% interest in the Surmont SAGD1 project. Phase 1 production began in 2007 and currently averages 20,000 barrels per day. Plateau production is expected to be 27,000 barrels per day. Phase 2 began recently, with production scheduled to start up in 2015, enabling Surmont’s total production to increase to around 110,000 barrels per day. Further development phases are under study. Total also has a 50% interest in the Northern Lights project following the 2008 acquisition of Canada’s Synenco Energy.

Comments

HarveyD

Some people assumed that tar sands operations are less risky that deep sea oil operations but this assumption may not hold true when all pollution factors are considered. Tailing ponds will eventually contain more oil and chemicals than the Gulf of Mexico major oil leaks and they will be around (and leaking) for centuries. The effects on the local (wide) area could be disastrous and worse than 100+ nuclear plants.

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