With last year’s wildfires overcome, Canada’s oil sands industry is continuing its growth trend, while foreign producers have second thoughts and product transport infrastructure remains on the critical path

In its last annual review of the Canadian oil sands industry (December 2016, pp.42-45), E&MJ described how the sector’s participants had been handling the raft of challenges — commercial, political and environmental — that had impacted them over the previous 18 months. “Progress is being maintained and, from a rather predatory perspective, there has been a new round of consolidation within the participants,” it said.

The principal beneficiary of that consolidation bout was unquestionably Suncor, which increased its holding in the Syncrude joint venture — and by default its attributable bitumen production — through its acquisition of Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. and Murphy Oil’s stake in the joint venture.

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