Shell announced today it is withdrawing its regulatory application for the proposed Pierre River Mine north of Fort McMurray, Alberta to focus attention on its existing oil sands operations.

“The Pierre River Mine (PRM) remains a very long term opportunity for us but it’s not currently a priority,” said Lorraine Mitchelmore, Shell Canada President and Executive Vice President of Heavy Oil.  “Our current focus is on making our heavy oil business as economically and environmentally competitive as possible. We will continue to hold the leases and can reapply in the future when the time is right.”

Shell has existing regulatory approval and scope to potentially more than double its oil sands production from its current level of 255,000 bpd.

Given the preliminary nature of the Pierre River Mine project, employment impacts will be very limited.

Notes to Editors

Pierre River Mine background:

  • The Pierre River Mine (PRM) application outlined a proposal for a new 200,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) heavy oil mine north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.
  • Shell originally submitted a joint application for PRM and the Jackpine Mine Expansion (JPME), a 100,000 bpd expansion to the Jackpine Mine, to the federal regulator in 2007 on behalf of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP). The AOSP is a joint venture operated by Shell and owned among Shell Canada Energy (60%), Chevron Canada Corporation (20%) and Marathon Oil Sands LP (20%).
  • Shell separated the PRM and JPME applications in 2009.
  • A regulatory hearing on JPME took place in 2012. The Joint Review Panel for JPME issued its Decision Report in July 2013, recommending it for approval. CEAA issued its Decision Statement in December 2013 deeming the project to be in the public’s interest.
  • In February 2014, Shell informed the joint-review panel for PRM that it would update the development timeline for PRM.


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Shell has been operating in Canada since 1911 and employs approximately 8,000 people across the country. A leading manufacturer, distributor and marketer of refined petroleum products, Shell produces natural gas, natural gas liquids and bitumen, and is Canada’s largest producer of sulphur. Shell is one of Canada’s oil sands developers and operates the Athabasca Oil Sands Project on behalf of the joint venture partners.

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