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One-on-one with Shell Oil president Marvin Odum

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The U.S. will always need our oil.

James Cowan

Marvin Odum’s job titles could fill several business cards. He is president of Shell Oil Co. in the United States, and sits on the executive committee of Royal Dutch Shell, its parent company. But for Canadians, his most important role is serving as the executive director of Shell Upstream Americas, where he supervises exploration and production across the Western Hemisphere. Falling within his portfolio are the company’s Canadian operations, including the Athabasca oilsands project and its growing interests in liquefied natural gas (LNG), including a proposed export terminal in Kitimat, B.C., with a rumoured price tag of more than $12 billion. The company is also at the forefront of efforts to change the oilsands’ poor environmental image, investing in the $1.35-billion Quest project, which captures carbon emissions from oilsands operations and buries them beneath the surface. While seen as a pilot project for the industry, it also took millions in provincial and federal government support to launch. In an interview with Canadian Business deputy editor James Cowan, Odum spoke about whether the Keystone XL pipeline will ever receive U.S. approval, why cap-and-trade is good for industry, and what it will take for Canada to become a world leader in LNG.

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