Voici un article qui montre l'intérêt pour cette source alternative de pétrole (chère, très chère, le cheap-oil est bel et bien derrière nous):
Le lien: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ ... TopStoriesCALGARY -- Teck Cominco Ltd. will be the first mining company to take a major role in the oil sands, paying $475-million for part of the Fort Hills project in a deal that also sets a new benchmark for asset prices in the booming region.
"We get just a huge level of expertise [from Teck]," said Brant Sangster, senior vice-president of oil sands at Petro-Canada, majority owner of Fort Hills. "We don't have to go out and try to find it in a world where that expertise is pretty sparse. And, don't forget, we're 100 kilometres north of Fort McMurray. [Teck] has built [mines] on the tops of mountains in Peru and in the northwest of Alaska."
Teck, which mines for zinc, copper and coal, announced yesterday it is joining the $5-billion Fort Hills project in two transactions to gain a 15-per-cent stake. It is receiving 5-per-cent stakes from Petrocan and minority partner UTS Energy Corp. for $250-million and a third 5-per-cent stake from UTS in the second deal worth $225-million.
Petrocan and UTS's strategy to bring in a mining partner was saluted by financial analysts as innovative and sensible. It could also start a new trend in the oil sands, an area where mining for tar-like bitumen has always been conducted in-house by oil companies themselves.
Teck's acumen in open-pit mining in harsh climates means Petrocan and UTS can realistically get Fort Hills producing 100,000 barrels a day starting in 2010, said Steven Paget, an analyst at FirstEnergy Capital Corp.
"Mining expertise is going to be key," Mr. Paget said.
Companies that might consider a mining partner include Total SA, which is buying Deer Creek Energy Ltd., Mr. Paget said.
The idea has arisen before. In 1998, Shell Canada Ltd. joined forces with miner BHP Billiton Ltd. of Australia to assess Muskeg River, an oils sands project near Fort McMurray that is now in production.
However, BHP gave up in early 1999, dropping out when the price of oil wasn't much higher than $10 (U.S.) a barrel.
But even if there are several more Teck-like deals, the prevailing strategy of energy companies developing their own mining expertise is unlikely to radically change. Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. has planned its giant $10.8-billion (Canadian) Horizon project for several years and is going ahead with its own mining operation.
Syncrude Canada Ltd. and Suncor Energy Inc., operators of the two biggest mining projects, also do their own shovelling.
"It's something we've done since day one," said Brad Bellows, a Suncor spokesman. "We consider ourselves to be the experts in oil sands mining."
Teck's $475-million move also sets a new standard for prices of oil sands assets, some of which just last year were available for pennies a barrel of bitumen in the ground. Prices were kept low by the general impression among investors and energy companies that high oil prices were unlikely to last and worries that mining projects were too expensive.
"The whole sector has been really quite undervalued, when you consider the current commodity price," said William Roach, president and chief executive officer of UTS Energy Corp. "This is just a recognition by the market that these assets are valuable. There's little exploration risk and it's a huge resource -- and it's right next door to the biggest market in the world."
The industry and investors are simply "getting more comfortable" with the oil sands, said William Lacey, another analyst at FirstEnergy Capital.
"Sure, prices have gone up a lot but they were ridiculously cheap before," Mr. Lacey said. "You were paying a nickel for a barrel in the ground. And it's still pretty cheap. When you're buying it for less than $2 a barrel, in a $60 [U.S.] oil environment, that's pretty intriguing."
Another sign of intense interest in the oil sands is the takeover of upstart Deer Creek Energy, which in early August accepted a $1.35-billion (Canadian) offer from France's Total. Deer Creek said late last week that it had received another offer -- the bidder was kept confidential -- and Total agreed to match it, pushing the price tag up almost 25 per cent to $1.67-billion.
The Teck deal was received warmly by investors. Class B stock of Teck rose $1.54 or 3.1 per cent to $50.71 on the Toronto Stock Exchange yesterday. UTS rose 36 cents or 8.7 per cent to $4.48. Petrocan stock fell 90 cents or 1.8 per cent to $48.81, pulled down by a slide in oil prices yesterday.
The escalating value of Fort Hills
In a little over a year, the price buyers have paid to be a part of the planned oil sands mining project at Fort Hills have soared nearly 20-fold. That increase is based on dollars paid per barrel of estimated recoverable bitumen, currently projected at 2.8 billion barrels.
DATE: July 9, 2004
THE DEAL:UTS Energy announces a deal to buy out Koch Industries'
78-per-cent stake in the project.
SHARE OF PROJECT IN BARRELS OF OIL:2.18 BILLION
PRICE PER BARREL:6¢
DATE:March 1, 2005
THE DEAL:Petro-Canada makes a deal with UTS to buy 60 per cent of Fort Hills. Petrocan becomes the operator of the project.
SHARE OF PROJECT IN BARRELS OF OIL:1.68 BILLION
PRICE PER BARREL:18¢
DATE:Sept. 6, 2005
THE DEAL:Teck Cominco buys a 15-per-cent stake in the project from UTS and Petrocan
SHARE OF PROJECT IN BARRELS OF OIL:420 BILLION
PRICE PER BARREL:$1.13