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Industry veteran John Broadhurst has confronted three decades of oil sands challenges

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Claudia Cattaneo | 13/06/14 | Last Updated: 13/06/14 6:57 PM ET

John Broadhurst knows how tough it gets when you put innovation on a schedule.

After a 32-year career in which he led Shell’s entry, development and expansion into the Alberta deposits, Mr. Broadhurst, 54, vice-president heavy oil, is retiring Monday and letting others solve the next oil sands challenges.

He was one of six Royal Dutch Shell PLC employees in 1996 assigned to figure out, after two unsuccessful attempts, whether an oil sands lease owned since the 1950s could be produced economically, in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.

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