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Shell Issues Formal Proposal to Expand the Athabasca Oil Sands Project

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2006-07-31 00:19:58     
Royal Dutch Shell plc

Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE: RDS.A, NYSE: RDS.B) today welcomed the below announcement by Shell Canada:

Shell issues formal proposal to expand the Athabasca Oil Sands Project

Shell Canada Limited announced that it has issued a formal proposal to proceed with Expansion 1 to the other Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP) joint venture owners. They have 90 days to respond.

"We have received our Board's support to take the next step on this important growth project," said Clive Mather, President and CEO, Shell Canada Limited. "Issuing this proposal to the other owners is a key milestone in our strategy to grow mining production from the Athabasca region to 550,000 barrels per day (bpd)." (330,000 bpd Shell share)

Shell Canada completed an extensive feasibility study followed by a rigorous cost estimate and assurance review process in support of this formal proposal. The heated markets for labour, materials and equipment have impacted all facets of this 100,000 bpd expansion project. Although the capital intensity of the project, estimated at between $275 and $350 per annual flowing barrel, has increased significantly from earlier estimates, Expansion 1 remains viable under a wide range of pricing scenarios.

Expansion 1 is a fully integrated expansion of the existing AOSP facilities, with both new oil sands mining operations on Lease 13 and associated additional bitumen upgrading at Scotford. It also includes construction of common infrastructure that will be sized to support future expansions. The previously announced solvent de-asphalting plant is not included in Expansion 1 because the technology is not yet ready for integration into the upgrading process. It is expected that the Expansion 1 expenditures will be similar between the mine and the upgrader.

Shell Canada intends to make a final investment decision for this project in the fourth quarter of 2006 pending regulatory approvals. First bitumen production is expected in late 2009 followed by upgrader production in late 2010.

The Muskeg River Mine is located about 75 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The Scotford Upgrader is located near Fort Saskatchewan, northeast of Edmonton. Together the facilities make up the existing Athabasca Oil Sands Project, a joint venture among Shell Canada Limited (60%), Chevron Canada Limited (20%) and Western Oil Sands L.P. (20%).

Shell Canada Disclaimer

This document contains "forward-looking statements" based upon management's assessment of the Company's future plans and operations. These forward-looking statements include references to anticipated growth and long-term profitability, future capital and other expenditures, the Company's plans for growth (including results of acquisitions), development, drilling, construction and expansion, resources and reserves estimates, future production of resources and reserves, project schedules and execution, and market conditions.

Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Although the Company believes that the expectations represented by such forward-looking statements are reasonable based on the information available to it on the date of this document, there can be no assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements involve numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by the Company. These assumptions, risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, demand for oil, gas and related products, disruptions in supply, fluctuations in oil and gas prices, industry operating conditions, operating costs, project startup, schedules and execution, market competition, operational reliability, labour availability, shortages of materials and equipment, the uncertainties involving the geology of oil and gas deposits and reserves estimates, including the assumption that the quantities estimated can be found and profitably produced in the future, general economic conditions, changes in law or government policy, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company.

The forward-looking statements contained in this document are made as of the date of this document and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update publicly or revise any of the forward-looking statements contained in this document, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law. The forward-looking statements contained in this document are expressly qualified by this cautionary note.

Royal Dutch Shell Disclaimer

This document contains forward-looking statements concerning the financial condition, results of operations and businesses of Royal Dutch Shell plc. All statements other than statements of historical fact are, or may be deemed to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are statements of future expectations that are based on management's current expectations and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning the potential exposure of Royal Dutch Shell to market risks and statements expressing management's expectations, beliefs, estimates, forecasts, projections and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as "anticipate", "believe", "could", "estimate", "expect", "intend", "may", "plan", "objectives", "outlook", "probably", "project", "will", "seek", "target", "risks", "goals", "should" and similar terms and phrases. There are a number of factors that could affect the future operations of Royal Dutch Shell and could cause those results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements included in this Report, including (without limitation): (a) price fluctuations in crude oil and natural gas; (b) changes in demand for the Group's products; (c) currency fluctuations; (d) drilling and production results; (e) reserve estimates; (f) loss of market and industry competition; (g) environmental and physical risks; (h) risks associated with the identification of suitable potential acquisition properties and targets, and successful negotiation and completion of such transactions; (i) the risk of doing business in developing countries and countries subject to international sanctions; (j) legislative, fiscal and regulatory developments including potential litigation and regulatory effects arising from recategorisation of reserves; (k) economic and financial market conditions in various countries and regions; (l) political risks, project delay or advancement, approvals and cost estimates; and (m) changes in trading conditions. All forward-looking statements contained in this document are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Each forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date of this document. Neither Royal Dutch Shell nor any of its subsidiaries undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement as a result of new information, future events or other information. In light of these risks, results could differ materially from those stated, implied or inferred from the forward-looking statements contained in this document.

Please refer to the Royal Dutch Shell plc's Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2005 for a description of certain important factors, risks and uncertainties that may affect the Company's businesses.

Specialized in: Shell - Proposal - Athabasca - Oil Sands
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