AimCo seeks ways to narrow Canadian crude discount

Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:25pm EST
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* CEO says technology could trump pipeline expansion

* In talks on potential investments

* AimCo scored 10 percent return in 2012

By Jeffrey Jones

CALGARY, Alberta, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Pipeline expansions may not be the only way to narrow a deep discount on Canadian oil, and the head of Alberta's public sector pension fund has been approached with some technological ideas that could eventually yield solutions.

Leo de Bever, chief executive of Alberta Investment Management Corp, said on Thursday that shipping the western province's bitumen to faraway markets like the southern United States might not be the only or best way to get the highest value for the vast supplies.

Finding ways to use less energy to produce or ship tar-sands-derived crude might bring longer-term rewards, said de Bever, whose agency manages C$70 billion ($71 billion) in assets. AimCo has not traditionally invested in oil sands-producing companies.

"A number of people have approached us on the following kind of model: 'We've got these deposits, we've got this technology to exploit them - I'd like to use the deposits as collateral for the technology.' That would work for us," he said in a meeting with reporters.

"So there are a number of proposals that are at various stages of discussion where that's the case."   Continued...