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Koch seeks buyers for Canadian oil sands assets

A cup of heavy oil extracted from Alberta’s oil sands

Todd Korol/Reuters

Koch Industries Inc. ' Canadian energy division has put interests in several Alberta oil sands properties on the auction block, adding to a growing list of opportunities for developing the massive resource being shopped to potential bidders.

Koch Oil Sands Operating ULC is offering stakes in six properties comprising 220,000 net acres, with total bitumen in place estimated at more than eight billion barrels, according to Western Divestments, the financial adviser for the offering.

Bids are due by Aug. 9, said Moya Little, president of Western Divestments. Confidential data on the properties will be available by the end of June, she said.

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Western Divestments said the Koch assets could eventually produce more than 300,000 barrels a day.

The U.S. billionaire Koch brothers, known for their support of conservative causes, own the company. It last made headlines in Canada's oil sands sector in 2003 when it decided against going ahead with a mining project called Fort Hills after years of study and engineering work. That holding is now owned by Suncor Energy Inc. and Total SA.

The properties now on offer would be designed for steam-assisted gravity drainage projects, where instead of mining the bitumen is pumped to the surface with the aid of steam.

They include holdings in the Cold Lake, Mackay, Firebag, Muskwa, Namur and Pelican Lake regions of Alberta, the western Canadian province whose oil sands resources represent the world's third-largest crude deposit.

An official in Koch's Calgary office was not immediately available for comment.

The asset sale follows other oil sands properties on the market, including a multibillion-dollar offering from ConocoPhillips Co., said to be of interest to India's Oil and Natural Gas Corp., and a smaller holding from Royal Dutch Shell PLC called Orion.

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About the Author
Mergers and Acquisitions Reporter

Jeffrey Jones is a veteran journalist specializing in energy, finance and environment for The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business, based in Calgary. Before joining The Globe and Mail in 2013, he was a senior reporter for Reuters, writing news, features and analysis on energy deals, pipelines, politics and general  topics. More

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