LONDON (AFP) – Anglo-Dutch energy group Royal Dutch Shell has announced a cash offer of 7.7 billion Canadian dollars (5.4 billion euros, 6.8 billion US dollars) for the minority shares in Shell Canada which it does not already own.
“Royal Dutch Shell today announced that it has approached the board of directors of Shell Canada Limited to indicate its intention to offer to acquire the minority interests in Shell Canada Limited,” the company said in an official release Monday.
Shell, which currently owns 78 percent of the Canadian unit, said it would pay 40 Canadian dollars per share in a move aimed at streamlining the group’s structure.
“We think the interests of the Shell Canada Limited minority shareholders are well served by accepting the cash offer we are proposing,” said Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Jeroen van der Veer in the statement.
“Our proposal should create the opportunity for the group to build further on a strong position in Canada, using the strengths that only a company of our global scale can bring.”
Shell Canada has secured a significant position in Canada’s oil sands sector and was increasing its production and upgrading capacity, the statement added.
Oil sands are deposits of bitumen, a heavy black viscous oil, that must be converted into an upgraded crude oil before it can be used by refineries to produce motor fuel.
Shell Canada also produces natural gas, oil and refined petroleum products, and is Canada’s biggest producer of sulphur.
“Canada is an important growth area for the group, and the group will be a major investor in Canada for many years to come,” the statement added.
Shell Canada owns 60 percent of the country’s Athabasca oil sands project, while US energy giant Chevron and Western Oil of Canada each hold 20 percent.
Athabasca currently produces 155,000 barrels of bitumen per day but is expected to increase to 550,000 barrels eventually. Reserves are estimated at around 6.0 billion barrels.
In June, Shell Canada bought BlackRock Ventures, an oil sands producer with operations located exclusively in Canada, for around 2.2 billion US dollars.