CALGARY — While some European and U.S. companies cut their exposure to the Canadian oilsands, China’s Big Three oil giants — CNOOC, PetroChina and Sinopec — seem content to let their bets ride even if the results haven’t been spectacular.In 2018, PetroChina produced an average of just 7,300 barrels per day of bitumen from its MacKay River thermal oilsands project, although it was designed to produce 35,000 bpd. In June, its output was about 8,700 bpd.The Beijing-based company paid $1.9 billion in 2009 for 60 per cent interests in the proposed MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects being developed by Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. (now just Athabasca Oil Corp.), then bought out the rest of MacKay for $680 million in 2012 and Dover for $1.2 billion in 2014.- Advertisement -“MacKay River is located in an area with complex geology, which creates challenges to heat up the reservoir to get the bitumen flowing,” said spokesman Davis Sheremata in an emailed statement.The company is drilling new wells and experimenting with various technologies to boost output, he said, adding a go-ahead for Dover has been put on hold until MacKay proves itself.Still, “PetroChina Canada is committed to Canada for the long-term, having maintained its investments through economically challenging times.”Advertisement CNOOC produced about 71,000 bpd from the oilsands in 2018, little changed from 66,800 bpd in 2014, shortly after it spent $15.1 billion to buy Calgary’s Nexen Energy and its diverse portfolio of domestic and international assets.“Our oilsands assets are an important part of our North American portfolio and we remain committed to our Canadian operations,” CNOOC spokesman Kyle Glennie wrote in a brief email.Meanwhile, Sinopec paid $4.65 billion to buy a nine per cent stake in the Syncrude oilsands mining consortium from ConocoPhillips in 2010 and its resulting production has been steady since, registering just over 27,000 bpd in 2018.The Chinese energy majors employ “patient capital” and it seems unlikely they will leave the oilsands anytime soon, said Jia Wang, deputy director of the China Institute at the University of Alberta.Advertisement “The assets they bought may not be the most profitable or may require more capital intensive development. … (but) these are large Chinese companies, they’re not likely to become bankrupt,” she said.“They have been through thick and thin, and different cycles of boom and bust. These (oilsands) operations in the grand scheme of these massive companies are not the largest chunk of their business so they can afford to have a presence here without incurring too much loss.” Companies in this story: (TSX:ATH)Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
Nvidia has today made two big announcements regarding its gaming handheld known as Project Shield. The first is that the console will now be officially known as simply Shield. The second is that a pre-order date and price has been set for the device.Shield looks like a gaming controller, but sports a 5-inch 720p touchscreen display, 16GB of on board storage, and runs a Tegra 4 SoC. Tegra 4 is currently classed as the fastest ARM processor in the world right now through its combination of an ARM Cortex A15 CPU and custom 72-core GeForce GPU. It’s basically going to easily handle any Android game you care to throw at it. The other big feature Shield has is the ability to stream games from a Windows PC, allowing you to play them away from your desk.Shield will be available to pre-order from Monday, May 20 and ships in June from GameStop, Micro Center, Newegg, and Canada Computers. As you’ve probably predicted, it isn’t cheap. Nvidia wants $349 for Shield, which is more than you’ll pay for a PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, 3DS, PS Vita, or iPod touch.Such comparisons may not matter if you genuinely see Shield as filling a gap in your gaming needs. Basically, if you are someone who plays a lot of Android games and would really like to play your Windows games while lying on a sofa, Shield is for you and may be worth the required investment. For everyone else, Shield is a pretty niche item, and an expensive one at that.