CALGARY—Shell is withdrawing its regulatory application for the proposed Pierre River Mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., to focus attention on its existing oil sands operations.
“The Pierre River Mine (PRM) remains a very long term opportunity for us but it’s not currently a priority,” said Lorraine Mitchelmore, Shell Canada president and executive vice-president of Heavy Oil. “Our current focus is on making our heavy oil business as economically and environmentally competitive as possible. We will continue to hold the leases and can reapply in the future when the time is right.”
Shell has existing regulatory approval and scope to potentially more than double its oil sands production from its current level of 255,000 bpd.
Given the preliminary nature of the Pierre River Mine project, employment impacts will be very limited.
The Pierre River Mine (PRM) application outlined a proposal for a new 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) heavy oil mine north of Fort McMurray.
Shell originally submitted a joint application for PRM and the Jackpine Mine Expansion (JPME), a 100,000 bpd expansion to the Jackpine Mine, to the federal regulator in 2007 on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP). The AOSP is a joint venture operated by Shell and owned among Shell Canada Energy (60 per cent), Chevron Canada Corp. (20 per cent) and Marathon Oil Sands LP (20 per cent). Shell separated the PRM and JPME applications in 2009.