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Alberta regulators extend completion date for suspended Shell cogeneration plant

Alberta regulators have extended by nearly four years Shell Canada Ltd.'s deadline for completing a large gas-fired plant it had already suspended when it halted work on a petroleum project in the province.

The Royal Dutch Shell plc affiliate took impairment charges totaling about $2 billion in the third quarter of 2015 when it gave up on its Carmon Creek project, an in situ oil production facility northeast of Peace River, Alberta, with a capacity of 80,000 barrels per day. Halting the project, Shell said at the time, "reflects current uncertainties, including the lack of infrastructure to move Canadian crude oil to global commodity markets."

The Carmon Creek project included a 690-MW cogeneration facility called the Carmon Creek Power Plant and a substation to supply power to the oilsands development, and was originally targeted for completion by Dec. 31, 2016.

In a brief decision issued on Dec. 15, the Alberta Utilities Commission approved extending the plant's completion date to Aug. 31, 2020, noting that it has partially been constructed and Shell is now looking to divest the asset. "Shell requested an extension to the construction completion date to allow for the completion of the divestment process and the construction of the project," the commission said. (Decision 22177-D01-2016)

Shell in October reached a deal to sell acreage in west-central Alberta and northeastern British Columbia to Tourmaline Corp. for about $1.04 billion, calling these areas "noncore." Shell retained larger holdings in the Duvernay liquids play in Alberta and the Montney gas play in northeastern Alberta.