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Will BP Be The Next Big Player To Exit The Canadian Oil Sands?

Oil sands plant

Three Canadian oil sands projects could be losing their British Petroleum backing soon, according to anonymous sources that spoke to Reuters on Thursday.

The British oil and gas company is reducing its role in non-core sectors of its business. Its 50 percent stake in the Sunrise project near Fort McMurray, Alberta, holds the highest value. The town was “ground zero” for the large forest fires that shut down one million barrels of output in the North American country last year.

BP owns another 50 percent stake in the Pike field, which is operated by Devon Energy. The firm’s third project is the Terre de Grace oil sands pilot project.

One of BP’s spokesmen declined to comment at Reuters’ request, and other sources elected to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the coming sales. The people added that no final decisions regarding the three projects had been made, either.

One source said that selling off stakes in the projects would free up BP’s capital for investments in the attractive Permian Basin, which has seen production grow substantially since prices began their slow ascent at the end of last year.

Related: Giant Libyan Oilfield Reopens After 2 Year Outage

Since the U.S. rig count bottomed out in May 2016, the industry has added 367 oil rigs back into action through April 18--the Permian accounted for more than 200 of those. No other shale basin comes even remotely close to those gains.

The surge in interest in the Permian continues to push up land prices in the area. Companies are paying more than $60,000 per acre, double the average paid back in 2014, and even twice as high as some deals signed in 2016. High land prices are not scaring away companies; interest in the Permian continues to rise.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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