August 21, 2006

Participant funding awarded for Kearl Lake, Muskeg River project reviews

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) has awarded a total of $100,000 to four applicants to support their participation in the joint environmental assessment review of the proposed Kearl Lake oil sands development project in northern Alberta. The recipients include: the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Industrial Relations Corporation; the Mikisew Cree First Nation; the Oil Sands Environmental Coalition (OSEC); and the MÈtis Nation of Alberta - Local 1935. The funds will help these groups prepare for, and participate in, the joint public hearings on the environmental effects of the project.

Imperial Oil Resources Ventures and ExxonMobil Canada Properties are proposing to construct and operate an oil sands mining and extraction facility consisting of four pits to be mined over the period 2010 to 2060. The Kearl Lake project is expected to produce 300,000 barrels (approximately 48,000 cubic metres) per calendar day of clean bitumen. The application seeks approval for a maximum production of approximately 345,000 barrels (55,000 cubic metres) per calendar day.

The Corporation, the Mikisew Cree and the OSEC have also received a total of $100,000 to help them participate in the Canada-Alberta joint panel review of the proposed Muskeg River mine expansion project, also in northern Alberta.

Albian Sands Energy, a joint venture company owned by Shell Canada, Chevron Canada and Western Oils Sands, is seeking approval to expand the existing Muskeg River mine to increase bitumen production capacity to an average nominal 270,000 barrels (approximately 43,000 cubic metres) per calendar day. Construction of the proposed expansion, if approved, would begin in 2007.

The proposed Kearl Lake and Muskeg River oil sands projects are both located approximately 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.

In each case, applications to the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) will serve as the basis for the joint panel review of the project. Joint review panels, made up of EUB members and a member appointed by the federal Environment Minister will begin their respective project reviews this fall.

The groups' involvement in both reviews is being supported through the participant funding program administered by the Agency. An independent funding review committee was established to examine all requests for funding, and its unanimous recommendations are contained in a report which, together with further information on the project, may be viewed on the Agency's Web site, www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

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