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Shell’s retreat from Alberta signals divergent views on future of oil sands Add to ...

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Royal Dutch Shell PLC is selling the bulk of its oil sands business in a multibillion-dollar retreat from a sector it says no longer fits with its global growth ambitions.

The Anglo-Dutch giant, pressured by high debt, on Thursday said Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. would pay $8.5-billion (U.S.) in cash and shares for a controlling stake in the Athabasca oil sands project, a major bitumen mine and upgrading development with capacity of about 255,000 barrels a day. Shell is also jettisoning undeveloped oil sands leases and assets pumping around 15,000 barrels a day near Peace River, Alta.

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