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Fort McMurray Today (Canada): Neil Camarta leaving Shell’s top oilsands job

Fort McMurray Today (Canada): Neil Camarta leaving Shell’s top oilsands job

Posted Friday 8 July 2005

By JACQUIE MCFARLANE

Today staff and The Canadian Press

Fort McMurray Today — Shell Canada announced a shuffle at the top of its oilsands operations Wednesday, bringing in international oil executive Brian Straub to replace outgoing senior vice-president of oilsands Neil Camarta. And there could be some big shoes for Straub to fill when he officially takes over the role in October.

“Mr. Camarta has been a driving force behind Shell Canada’s oilsands business since its inception in 1996,” said Shell Canada spokeswoman Janet Annesley. “He can be credited with bringing our project to life, getting it build and getting it up and running and leading the company to the success it is today,” she said. “Neil is well liked and well respected internally and externally. From the mine to the upgrader, he will be missed.” Camarta is moving onto a new, yet to be announced position with Shell, Annesley said. Details are to be announced in the fall.

Straub brings a variety of experience with him to his new position. He grew up in Alberta and joined Shell Canada in 1977 with a petroleum engineering degree from the University of Wyoming. He has held various drilling and operating, technical and commercial management positions in Shell’s oil and natural gas businesses.

Straub has also worked with parent company Royal Dutch Shell’s global operations, including the last two years as technical director for the global oil giant’s Asia Pacific region.

“He’s quite familiar with the oil and gas business in Canada and has a strong technical background and knowledge in world markets,” Annesley said of Straub.

The change-over will take place after summer, with Straub to officially take over the position on Oct. 1. He is currently in Singapore working on a project there.

Shell’s oilsands operations include a 60 per cent interest in the Muskeg River Mine, located about 70 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, which produces 155,000 barrels of bitumen a day, with plans for a major expansion. The bitumen is piped to the Shell’s Scotford Upgrader near Fort Saskatchewan, where it is processed into crude oil.

Future plans for the mine include boosting production to 500,000 barrels per day. In 2004, Shell Canada and its partners in Albian Sands Energy received approval for a second project, the Jackpine Mine.

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