OPTI Canada Announces 2008 Capital Program



    TSX: OPC

    CALGARY, Dec. 4 /CNW/ - OPTI Canada Inc. (OPTI) announced today that our
Board of Directors has approved a $540 million capital program for 2008.
Consistent with previous guidance, expenditures of approximately $420 million
will be directed towards OPTI's share of budgeted project costs to complete
Phase 1 of the Long Lake integrated oil sands project (the Project), inclusive
of capitalized interest, capitalized operating costs and sustaining capital.
Our current total cost estimate of the Project continues to be $5.8 and
$6.1 billion, or between $2.90 billion and $3.05 billion net to us. The
balance of the capital program will be primarily directed towards up-front
engineering of Phases 2 and 3 and additional delineation and evaluation to
support future phases.
    All steam assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) well pads are now steaming at
Long Lake, and construction is complete on the OrCrude(TM) and hydrocracker
units as well as on all major plant utilities. Construction of the gasifier,
air separation unit and sulphur recovery unit is on-track to meet our goal of
first production of Premium Sweet Crude (PSC(TM)) from the OPTI-operated
Upgrader in mid-2008.
    "2008 will be a pivotal year as we progress towards completion of Phase 1
of the Long Lake Project and first production of PSC(TM), one of the highest
quality synthetic crudes to come from Canada's oil sands," said Sid Dykstra,
President and Chief Executive Officer of OPTI. "In addition, we plan to invest
in our future growth in 2008. This includes advancing Phase 2 engineering in
preparation for potential sanctioning towards the end of the year. We will
also further delineate our lands to support our phased development plan to
reach 180,000 barrels per day production net to OPTI."

    About OPTI

    OPTI Canada Inc. is a Calgary, Alberta-based company focused on
developing the fourth and next major integrated oil sands project in Canada,
the Long Lake Project, in a 50/50 joint venture with Nexen Inc. The first
phase of the Project consists of 72,000 barrels per day of SAGD (steam
assisted gravity drainage) oil production integrated with an OPTI-operated
upgrading facility, using OPTI's proprietary OrCrude(TM) process and
commercially available hydrocracking and gasification. Through gasification,
this configuration substantially reduces the exposure to and the need to
purchase natural gas. The Project is expected to produce 58,500 bbl/d of
products, primarily 39 degree API Premium Sweet Crude with low sulphur
content, making it a highly desirable refinery feedstock. OPTI's common shares
trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol OPC.
    Additional information regarding the Long Lake Project is available at
http://www.longlake.ca.

    Forward-Looking Statements

    Certain statements contained herein are forward-looking statements,
including statements relating to: OPTI's operations; budget plans; anticipated
financial performance; cost estimates; business prospects, expansion plans and
strategies; OPTI's plans and expectations concerning the use and performance
of the OrCrude(TM) process and other related technologies; the cost,
development and operation of the Long Lake Project and OPTI's relationship
with Nexen Inc. Forward-looking information typically contains statements with
words such as "intends", "anticipate," "estimate," "expect," "potential,"
"could," "plan" or similar words suggesting future outcomes. Readers are
cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking information because
it is possible that expectations, predictions, forecasts, projections and
other forms of forward-looking information will not be achieved by OPTI. By
its nature, forward-looking information involves numerous assumptions,
inherent risks and uncertainties. A change in any one of these factors could
cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in
the forward-looking information. Although OPTI believes that the expectations
reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, OPTI can give no
assurance that such expectations will prove to be correct. Forward-looking
statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections that
involve a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results
to differ materially from those anticipated by OPTI and described in the
forward-looking statements or information. The forward-looking statements are
based on a number of assumptions which may prove to be incorrect. In addition
to other assumptions identified herein, we have made assumptions regarding,
among other things: market costs and other variables affecting operating costs
of the Project; the ability of the Long Lake joint venture partners to obtain
equipment, services and supplies, including labour, in a timely and
cost-effective manner; the availability and costs of financing; oil prices and
market price for the PSC(TM) output of the OrCrude(TM) Upgrader; foreign
currency exchange rates and hedging risks; government regulations and royalty
regimes; the degree of risk that governmental approvals may be delayed or
withheld; other risks and uncertainties described elsewhere in this document
or in OPTI's other filings with Canadian securities authorities.
    Readers should be aware that the list of factors, risks and uncertainties
set forth above are not exhaustive. Readers should refer to OPTI's current
Annual Information Form, which is available at www.sedar.com, for a detailed
discussion of these factors, risks and uncertainties. The forward-looking
statements or information contained in this news release are made as of the
date hereof and OPTI undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any
forward-looking statements or information, whether as a result of new
information, future events or otherwise, unless so required by applicable laws
or regulatory policies.





For further information:

For further information: Alison Trollope, Investor Relations Manager,
(403) 218-4705; OPTI Canada Inc., Suite 2100, 555 - 4th Ave. S.W., Calgary,
Alberta, Canada, T2P 3E7

Organization Profile

OPTI CANADA INC.

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