Athabasca Gets OK for MacKay River Oil Sands Projects

Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. announced Wednesday that MacKay Operating Corp. has received full regulatory approval from Alberta Energy Resources Conservation Board and Alberta Environment and Water for the MacKay River commercial oil sands projects.

"To obtain approval in just over 24 months is an achievement and Athabasca is very pleased with the regulatory process. The company filed the application on Dec. 10, 2009, and MacKay Opco received the final approval on Dec. 23, 2011," Sveinung Svarte, president and CEO said. "To achieve this major milestone, MacKay Opco's Regulatory and Stakeholder Affairs team effectively dealt with all stakeholders to resolve their concerns and get this commercial oil sands project endorsed by the regulators and the Alberta government."

The MacKay River Project is a 150,000 bpd steam-assisted gravity drainage projects with Phase 1 expected to produce 35,000 bbl/d of oil. Construction of the project will begin next month with start-up targeted for 2014.

MacKay Opco is a Calgary-based joint venture between Athabasca (40 percent) and Cretaceous Oilsands Holdings Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of PetroChina (60 percent). The company was formed to operate the jointly owned MacKay River oil sands leases.

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