Exxon unit seeks Canada approval for oil sands project

Exxon's (XOM) Imperial Oil (IMO) Canadian subsidiary has applied to local regulators for approval to develop a new 135K bbl/day oil sands project in Alberta.

IMO says a preliminary estimate puts the cost of the Aspen project at ~C$7B ($6.6B); pending approval, it plans to make a final decision on whether to move ahead as soon as 2017 and begin production as early as 2020.

The project would be XOM's first to use steam-assisted gravity drainage to access up to 1.1B barrels of oil embedded in sand underground.

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