​Imperial slows development of Aspen project, cites Alberta production cuts

Imperial Oil CEO Rich Kruger speaks to reporters at the company's Calgary research facility in fall 2018. Image: Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

CALGARY — Imperial Oil Ltd. says it has slowed the development of its Aspen in situ oilsands project because of uncertainty due to the Alberta government's oil production curtailment program and other challenges.

The company says the slowdown will likely result in a delay of at least one year. First production from the project had been expected in 2022.

Imperial sanctioned the $2.6-billion project in November, before Alberta announced its production curtailment program which began Jan. 1.

The province mandated the production cuts in an effort to reduce the price discount on oil produced in Western Canada.

Imperial says it remains concerned about the unintended consequences of the provincial government's decision and believes the intervention sends a negative message to investors.

Aspen is expected to create 200 permanent jobs and produce 75,000 barrels of oil per day once it is completed.

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