Exxon Mobil Corp. is delaying a C$2.6 billion ($1.9 billion) oil-sands project in Canada by at least a year as the nation’s energy industry grapples with a shortage of pipeline space and government-mandated production cuts.
Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Oil Ltd., had originally planned to bring the 75,000-barrel-a-day Aspen project online in 2022, but is now slowing the pace of development at the site in northern Alberta. Any decision to resume normal activity will depend on future government actions and general market conditions, Imperial said Friday.
The delay is another blow to Canada’s oil-sands industry, which suffered from record low prices last year after a wave of new production overwhelmed the region’s pipeline capacity. That spurred the government of Alberta, where most oil-sands projects are located, to mandate production cuts to drain a glut of crude in storage and revive prices.
The move also reflects Exxon’s increased focus on projects off Guyana’s coast and in the Permian Basin in Texas. The company last week increased its target for Permian production to 1 million barrels a day by 2024 and expanded its estimate for the size of its Guyana discovery to 5.5 billion barrels.