Alberta's McCuaig-Boyd Sees Glass Half-Full in Oil-Sands Deals

(Bloomberg) -- The $20 billion of oil-sands assets that Canadian producers bought from foreign companies in a recent spate of deals shows they’re doubling down on their operations and the region’s resources, Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd said.

While it’s “business as usual” for multinationals to shuffle their assets based on where they see the best investment opportunity, it’s encouraging that local operators -- like Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Cenovus Inc. and Athabasca Oil Corp. -- have been so willing to take on more oil-sands assets, McCuaig-Boyd said in an interview at Bloomberg’s headquarters in New York.

“I see it as more glass-half-full because we have Alberta companies showing support for what we’re doing,” said McCuaig-Boyd, who was in New York to speak at the Bloomberg New Energy Finance Future of Energy Summit.

The minister pointed out that many multinationals are keeping their conventional operations in the province. Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which has sold Canadian properties to Tourmaline Oil Corp. and Canadian Natural, still holds assets in the Montney and Duvernay shale plays.

“It’s not like they’ve truly left,” she said. “They’re just changing some of their business.”