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Canada's great IOC exodus

International oil companies are fleeing the oil sands for greener pastures elsewhere

After spending decades pumping billions of dollars into northern Alberta, the world's majors are quickly abandoning Canada's oil sands. In two blockbuster deals worth almost C$30bn ($22.37bn) that came within a week of each other, Shell and ConocoPhillips became the latest to downsize their bitumen positions. Total and Statoil exited last year. In doing so, it raises the question of whether one of the planet's largest oil deposits is as valuable as it once was in a new era of abundance brought on by cheaper supplies of tight oil. What used to be the epicentre of the world's last big gold rush evidently now looks—to foreign investors, anyway—too rich. Shell's retreat, in particular, was a

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