Ivanhoe Energy initiates major restructuring in preparation for multiple, commercial HTL Heavy-Oil Projects

    Robert Friedland will become Executive Chairman & CEO of Ivanhoe Energy

    New regional subsidiaries for Latin America and the Middle East &
    North Africa will be led by David Martin and Leon Daniel as Chairmen and

    CALGARY, March 17 /CNW/ - Robert Friedland is assuming the leadership of
Ivanhoe Energy Inc. (TSX: IE, NASDAQ:   IVAN) and will serve as Executive
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to guide the company through a major
corporate and management restructuring in preparation for the implementation
of multiple, full-scale, commercial HTL(TM) heavy-oil projects in Canada and
    Mr. Friedland's appointment as Executive Chairman and Chief Executive
Officer is expected to become effective at the company's Annual General
Meeting on May 29, 2008. Robert Abboud, a former President and Chief Operating
Officer of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, will continue to serve as Ivanhoe
Energy's Co-Chairman.
    The restructuring is planned to enhance Ivanhoe Energy's pursuit of its
central mission to develop heavy-oil assets using its proprietary, HTL
(Heavy-to-Light) oil-upgrading technology.
    "The successful conclusion of the HTL testing phase and the growing
global focus on the utilization of heavy-oil reserves has resulted in numerous
opportunities for the commercial application of HTL in Canada, South America,
the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere," Mr. Friedland said. "These
significant opportunities require a corporate structure that will facilitate
the implementation of HTL projects and maximize returns for Ivanhoe Energy."
    As part of the reorganization, Ivanhoe Energy will establish a number of
geographically focused, self-funding entities. The parent company Ivanhoe
Energy Inc. will aggressively pursue HTL opportunities in the Athabasca Oil
Sands of Western Canada and will hold and manage the core HTL technology. Two
new subsidiaries will be established, one for Latin America and one for the
Middle East & North Africa, complementing Sunwing Energy Ltd., Ivanhoe
Energy's existing, wholly owned company for China. David Martin will lead the
subsidiary for Latin America as Chairman and CEO, and Leon Daniel will lead
the subsidiary for the Middle East & North Africa as Chairman and CEO. Ivanhoe
Energy Inc. initially will own 100% of each of these subsidiaries, although
the percentages would be expected to decline as they develop their respective
businesses and independently raise capital.
    This structure will allow the development and financing of multiple HTL
projects around the world, while minimizing dilution of Ivanhoe Energy's
existing shareholders. This is in response to very significant heavy-oil
opportunities Ivanhoe Energy has identified in Latin America, the Middle East
and North Africa. Ivanhoe Energy's senior management believes this approach
enhances Ivanhoe's ability to organize and focus its existing resources and to
build the dedicated teams required to execute these large projects. In
addition, the geographical alignment will facilitate financing from
region-specific strategic investors, some of which already have been
identified, and also will enhance flexibility in accessing global capital
    Mr. Friedland will focus his efforts on corporate restructuring, finance
and the closing of commercial transactions. Mr. Friedland, the founding
Chairman of Ivanhoe Energy, most recently has been serving as Deputy Chairman
of the parent company and Co-Chairman of its China-focused subsidiary, Sunwing
    In addition to the establishment of the new regional business units for
Latin America and the Middle East and North Africa, Ivanhoe Energy will
continue to build its HTL capabilities around two centres: Houston, Texas, and
Calgary, Alberta.
    Houston, a world centre of excellence for petroleum refining and
processing technologies, is Ivanhoe Energy's HTL technology base. Dr. Mike
Silverman, formerly VP Petrochemicals at KBR (formerly Kellogg Brown & Root)
and currently Ivanhoe Energy's Chief Technology Officer, will lead the HTL
technology group from Houston. Dr. Silverman's team will provide HTL support
and services to the upstream and project development groups within Ivanhoe
Energy, as well as within the regional subsidiary companies.
    Calgary is Ivanhoe Energy's base for Canadian oil sands project
development. Selected key technical heavy-oil experts are expected to relocate
to Calgary from Ivanhoe's office in Bakersfield, California, and additional
upstream heavy-oil experts in Calgary are being recruited.
    Further details on Ivanhoe Energy's senior management structure will be
announced in due course.
    Ivanhoe Energy's Board of Directors also is being restructured to more
closely align management experience with the goals of the various business
units. As part of this process, a number of directors will retire from the
Ivanhoe Energy Board to assume directorships in the subsidiary companies. The
number of directors on the Ivanhoe Energy Board is expected to be reduced from
12 to seven members.

    Four key components of the Ivanhoe Energy Group
    The restructuring will create four geographically focused entities:

                             Ivanhoe Energy Inc.
                                 TSX, NASDAQ


    -----------------          -----------------           -----------------
     Sunwing Energy,            Ivanhoe Energy,             Ivanhoe Energy,
        China                   Latin America                 Middle East
                                                             & North Africa
    -----------------          -----------------           -----------------

    1)  Ivanhoe Energy Inc. (TSX: IE; NASDAQ:   IVAN) will focus on Canada, the
        United States and other areas not addressed by its subsidiaries. The
        primary emphasis will be on HTL heavy-oil opportunities in the
        Athabasca Oil Sands. This company will incorporate the core HTL
        technology team and will hold the HTL intellectual property on behalf
        of the organization. Ivanhoe Energy will pursue joint ventures with
        heavy-oil asset owners and the outright acquisition of heavy-oil
        assets. Ivanhoe Energy also will include Ivanhoe's existing US
        conventional oil and gas activities.

    2)  Sunwing Energy Ltd., Ivanhoe's wholly-owned company with existing
        conventional operations in China, will focus on HTL heavy-oil
        opportunities as well as conventional oil and gas opportunities in
        China and Southeast Asia, including the significant heavy-oil
        deposits in Indonesia. Sunwing's management will continue to be led
        by Co-Chairmen Mr. Friedland and Patrick Chua, and President Gerry

    3)  Ivanhoe Energy Latin America will focus on HTL heavy-oil
        opportunities in Latin America. Management will be led by Mr. Martin
        as Chairman and CEO, and is expected to include selected Ivanhoe
        Energy personnel currently based in Bakersfield, California, who have
        extensive Latin American experience. Mr. Martin currently is
        Executive Co-Chairman of Ivanhoe Energy Inc. Mr. Martin and Mr.
        Daniel, who is Deputy Chairman of Ivanhoe Energy Inc. and is expected
        to be on the Board of Directors of this subsidiary, have more than 50
        years of combined experience in negotiating and executing major oil
        and gas projects in Latin America, primarily during their careers
        with Occidental Petroleum. This includes the 1.2-billion-barrel Cano
        Limon field in Colombia, with the associated 500-kilometre pipeline
        across the Andes, the 30,000-barrel per day Alturitas field in
        Venezuela, and various projects in Ecuador and Peru.

    4)  Ivanhoe Energy Middle East & North Africa (MENA) will focus on HTL
        opportunities in those regions. In addition, this company will
        incorporate Ivanhoe Energy's Gas-to-Liquids (GTL) technology team and
        GTL intellectual property, and will continue to advance the GTL
        project in Egypt. Management will be led by Mr. Daniel as Chairman
        and CEO and is expected to include existing Ivanhoe personnel based
        in London, England. Mr. Daniel currently is Deputy Chairman of
        Ivanhoe Energy. Mr. Daniel and Mr. Martin, who is expected to be on
        the Board of Directors of this company, have more than 50 years of
        combined experience in negotiating and executing oil and gas projects
        in the Middle East and North Africa, primarily while with Occidental
        Petroleum. This includes the 100,000-barrel per day Idd El Shargi
        North dome in Qatar, the giant 2.4-billion-barrel Intisar and Augila
        Nafoora fields in Libya, and the 200,000-barrel per day Masila field
        in Yemen.

        Strategic discussions for Ivanhoe Energy Middle East & North Africa
        have been initiated with investors based in the United Arab Emirates
        and other Middle Eastern countries, and potential projects have been
        identified across the region, including in Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Oman,
        Kuwait, Bahrain and Syria.

    HTL technology rights
    Ivanhoe Energy's patents and other intellectual property related to HTL
heavy-oil upgrading, and the core HTL technology team led by Dr. Silverman,
will remain with Ivanhoe Energy Inc. Agreements will be established between
Ivanhoe Energy and the subsidiary companies for site licenses for HTL projects
identified outside Canada and the US, and for HTL technology support.

    Restructuring schedule
    A new Board of Directors for Ivanhoe Energy will be elected at the Annual
General Meeting on May 29. It is expected that Mr. Friedland will assume
responsibilities as Executive Chairman and CEO immediately following the
meeting. The new entities for Latin America and the Middle East & North Africa
will be established in coming weeks, together with the necessary inter-company
agreements covering technology and inter-company finances.

    Conference call

    Ivanhoe Energy will host a conference call today, Monday , March 17, for
investors and analysts at 4:30 p.m. EST (1:30 p.m. PST) to discuss 2007 fourth
quarter and year-end results and provide an update on operations. The
conference call may be accessed by dialing toll-free 1-866-540-8136 in Canada
and the United States, or 1-416-340-8010 in the Toronto area and
internationally. A simultaneous webcast of the conference call will be
provided through www.ivanhoeenergy.com. The call will be archived for later
playback by dialing 1-416-695-5800 and entering the pass code 3252629 followed
by the number sign, or via www.ivanhoeenergy.com. The archived playback will
be available until April 18, 2008.

    Ivanhoe Energy is an independent international heavy-oil development and
production company focused on pursuing long-term growth in its reserves and
production using advanced technologies, including its proprietary heavy-oil
upgrading process (HTL). Core operations are in the United States and China,
with business development opportunities worldwide.

    FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: This document includes forward-looking
statements, including forward-looking statements within the meaning of the
Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements
include, but are not limited to, statements concerning the potential benefits
of Ivanhoe Energy's heavy oil upgrading technology, the potential for
commercialization and future application of the heavy oil upgrading technology
and other technologies, statements relating to the continued advancement of
Ivanhoe Energy's projects, the potential for successful exploration and
development drilling, dependence on new product development and associated
costs, statements relating to anticipated capital expenditures, the necessity
to seek additional funding, statements relating to increases in production and
other statements which are not historical facts. When used in this document,
the words such as "could," "plan," "estimate," "expect," "intend," "may,"
"potential," "should," and similar expressions relating to matters that are
not historical facts are forward-looking statements. Although Ivanhoe Energy
believes that its expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements
are reasonable, such statements involve risks and uncertainties and no
assurance can be given that actual results will be consistent with these
forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results
to differ from these forward-looking statements include the potential that the
company's projects will experience technological and mechanical problems, new
product development will not proceed as planned, the HTL technology to upgrade
bitumen and heavy oil may not be commercially viable, samples from the
Athabasca bitumen test may not have the product qualities anticipated, market
acceptance of the HTL technology may not be as anticipated, Ivanhoe Energy's
lack of history in developing commercial HTL and GTL opportunities, geological
conditions in reservoirs may not result in commercial levels of oil and gas
production, the availability of drilling rigs and other support services,
uncertainties about the estimates of reserves, the risk associated with doing
business in foreign countries, environmental risks, changes in product prices,
our ability to generate cash flow and raise capital as and when required,
competition and other risks disclosed in Ivanhoe Energy's Annual Report on
Form 10-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on EDGAR and
the Canadian Securities Commissions on SEDAR.

For further information:

For further information: Investors Contact: Ian Barnett, (416) 792-3308;
Bill Trenaman (604) 688-8323; Media Contact: Bob Williamson, (604) 608-8323;
Website: www.ivanhoeenergy.com

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Ivanhoe Energy Inc.

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