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Canada May Boost Oil-Sands Production Fivefold, Official Claims

Canada, the world's ninth-biggest producer of petroleum products, may boost output of oil from sands fivefold as supplies from conventional wells decline, said George Anderson, deputy minister for natural resources.

Suncor Energy Inc. and other companies in Canada produce more than 1 million barrels of such oil daily and the target is to raise that to 2 million barrels by 2008, Anderson said at the World Energy Congress in Sydney. The country plans to increase output to 5 million barrels a day, he said, without providing a specific time frame.

``The oil-sands have a road map to a production level of 5 million barrels a day,'' Anderson said. ``Current projections are more like 2-to-3 million over the next 10 years.''

Calgary-based Suncor, the world's second-biggest miner of oil sands, and rivals including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch/Shell Group, are spending about C$30 billion ($23 billion) during the next decade on oil-sands expansions or projects, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has said.

Production of oil trapped in sand in northeastern Alberta will climb to 2.6 million barrels a day by 2015, compared with about one million last year, the association has said. Output from conventional oil wells will decline to about 25 percent of Canada's production, from more than 50 percent.

Oil-sands projects could make money at oil prices of between $15 and $16 a barrel, depending on the method used to extract the oil and gas prices, Anderson said.

Canada has received proposals to build as many as eight liquefied natural gas terminals, as demand for gas increases in North America. Proposals for terminals receiving gas from North Africa are more likely to be accepted, he said.

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