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Alberta’s oilfields poised for more growth

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. -- Alberta's oilfields could become busier than ever, making Canada the world's fourth largest...

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. — Alberta’s oilfields could become busier than ever, making Canada the world’s fourth largest oil producer by 2012, if a new mega-project is approved.

And it looks like that project will get the green light, after regulators yesterday approved the $8.5 billion Horizon oilsands project proposed by Canadian Natural Resources.

If the project proceeds, Canada’s production will surge to 1.9 million barrels of oil per day in 2012, making it the fourth largest oil producer in the world after Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Venezuala.

Canadian Natural Resources will decide by the summer whether to proceed with the project, which would result in 235,000 barrels of production every day. Currently, Alberta’s oilfields are responsible for the production of one million barrels of oil per day.

“By 2010, it’s expected to reach 1.8 or 1.9 million barrels. That’s fourfold growth since 1996, which is incredible when you think these types of projects take three, four years just to build,” Steve Ewert, spokesman for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, tells local media.

The Horizon project would create up to 2,400 permanent jobs as well as 4,500 construction jobs during peak times.

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