OPTI Announces Equity Offering, Financial and Project Update


    TSX: OPC

    CALGARY, June 23 /CNW/ - OPTI Canada Inc. ("OPTI" or the "Company")
announced today that it has filed a preliminary short form prospectus (the
"Prospectus") in Canada in connection with a marketed public offering (the
"Offering") of common shares of OPTI (the "Common Shares"). The Company
intends to conduct the Offering through a syndicate of underwriters led by TD
Securities Inc., Credit Suisse Securities (Canada), Inc., and RBC Capital
Markets as joint bookrunners.
    The Offering will be priced in the context of the market with the final
terms of the Offering to be determined at the time of pricing. The Common
Shares will be offered in all of the provinces of Canada and on a private
placement basis in the United States pursuant to exemptions from the
registration requirements of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as
amended, (the "1933 Act") and other such jurisdictions as may be agreed to by
the Company and the Underwriters. The Offering is scheduled to close on or
about July 9, 2009 and is subject to certain customary conditions and
regulatory approvals, including but not limited to the approval of the Toronto
Stock Exchange.
    OPTI intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from the Offering to
fund its remaining $50 million of forecast capital expenditures for 2009. The
remainder of the proceeds are expected to be used to fund working capital
requirements and a portion may be used to reduce indebtedness under OPTI's
$350 million revolving credit facility ("Revolving Credit Facility"). Under
the terms of OPTI's Revolving Credit Facility, OPTI may repay amounts owing
and, subject to satisfying a number of conditions precedent prior to each
borrowing, make new borrowings.

    Financial Update

    On June 22, 2009, OPTI had financial resources of approximately $360
million consisting of $332 million of cash and $28 million of undrawn funds
under the Revolving Credit Facility. Prior to December 31, 2009, OPTI is
forecasting approximately $50 million for remaining 2009 capital expenditures,
$80 million for the remaining interest payments on its senior secured notes
and approximately $40 million for working capital requirements. OPTI expects
its financial resources at December 31, 2009 will be approximately $190
million, prior to the impact of net operating cash flow from the Long Lake
Project and the net proceeds from this Offering. Based on our current
production, operations and commodity price assumptions, OPTI expects that the
net proceeds of this offering, together with existing financial resources,
will provide sufficient financial resources until full production is reached
for the Long Lake Project of 72,000 bbl/d of bitumen by the end of 2010.
    OPTI's Revolving Credit Facility debt to EBITDA covenant, which is
measured quarterly, commences at the end of the third quarter of 2009. OPTI
intends to repay the Revolving Credit Facility (whether temporarily or
permanently) to the extent required to satisfy this covenant. With the net
proceeds from this offering, assuming production reaches full capacity by the
end of 2010, and using the current forward strip pricing for WTI pricing and
foreign exchange rates, OPTI expects to be able to meet the covenant as it is
currently structured until the maturity of the Revolving Credit Facility.
However, to provide greater certainty of meeting this covenant, OPTI plans to
seek an amendment to the covenant. OPTI has already commenced discussions with
certain key lenders including the administrative agent under its Revolving
Credit Facility, and upon completion of this offering, OPTI plans to broaden
these discussions to include the other members of OPTI's banking syndicate
with the objective of reaching an agreement to defer and amend this covenant
prior to it becoming operative.

    Project Update

    Progress continues to be made in the start-up phase of the Long Lake
Project. The Long Lake reservoir is performing as OPTI expected, given the
amount of steam that has been injected into the reservoir. Steam injection has
been limited to date by the ability to treat water during the ramp-up period.
Nexen Inc. (the "Operator") successfully completed a project to add
supplementary heat to the hot lime softeners ("HLSs") in the water treatment
plant in May 2009. The Operator also recently completed maintenance work on
both HLSs to remove deposits which typically build up in water treatment
plants and both HLSs are now in operation.
    The SAGD plant has resumed ramping up with recent steam injection rates
of approximately 95,000 bbl/d and bitumen production rates of approximately
18,000 bbl/d. SAGD production in the second quarter through mid-June has
averaged approximately 13,500 bbl/d. As of June 22, 2009 there were 36 wells
on production. With inconsistent steam injection, the steam to oil ratio
("SOR") has ranged between 4.5 and 6.0 in the second quarter. OPTI continues
to expect a long term SOR of 3.0.
    The Operator recently identified a number of small modifications to be
made in the third quarter of 2009 to further optimize the water treatment
facility. OPTI expects the cost of these modifications will not be significant
and will result in a minimal period of down time for bitumen and PSC(TM)
    As steam generation increases, the Operator intends to convert all
remaining wells to production mode. OPTI expects SAGD volumes to increase from
current production to full capacity of 72,000 bbl/d of bitumen in late 2010.
During the SAGD ramp-up period in 2009 and 2010, OPTI also expect to process
third party bitumen.
    All major process units in the Upgrader are operational, and preparation
is underway to transition gasifier feed from vacuum residue to ashphaltenes,
the final step in OrCrude(TM) commissioning. OPTI expects this transition to
occur shortly, increasing the yield of PSC(TM). The Upgrader has produced over
600,000 bbls of PSC(TM) to date. The PSC(TM) which has been marketed has been
sold at pricing equal to or above pricing for other synthetic crude oils.
Synthesis gas from the Upgrader has been used in SAGD operations, decreasing
operating costs by reducing the requirement for purchased third-party natural
gas. During the initial operating period, OPTI expects periods of downtime but
anticipates that the stability of operations will continue to improve. OPTI
expects Upgrader capacity during ramp-up will be capable of processing all of
the forecasted SAGD volumes and OPTI expects the Project to reach full
capacity of approximately 58,500 bbl/d of PSC(TM) and other products in late

    Conference Call

    OPTI will host a conference call at 3:00 p.m. Mountain Time (5:00 p.m.
Eastern Time) on Tuesday, June 23, 2009 to provide a corporate update. Chris
Slubicki, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Travis Beatty, Chief
Financial Officer, will host the call. To participate in the conference call,

                  (800) 732-9303 (North American Toll-Free)
                  (416) 644-3415 (Alternate)

    Please reference the OPTI Canada conference call with Chris Slubicki when
 speaking with the Operator.

    A replay of the call will be available until July 6, 2009, inclusive. To
access the replay, call (416) 640-1917 or (877) 289-8525 and enter passcode
21309569, followed by the pound (No.) sign.

    This call will also be webcast, and can be accessed on OPTI Canada's
website under "Presentations and Webcasts" in the "For Investors" section. The
webcast will be available for replay for a period of 30 days. The webcast may
alternatively be accessed at:

    OPTI also announces that it has updated its investor presentation, a copy
of which is available http://www.opticanada.com. The presentation contains
projected netback information for Phase 1 of the Long Lake Project which
updates similar disclosure in OPTI's management's discussion and analysis for
the year ended December 31, 2008.
    This news release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the
solicitation of an offer to buy securities in the United States or any other
jurisdiction outside of Canada, nor shall there be any sale of securities in
any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.
The Common Shares offered have not been, and will not be, registered under the
1933 Act, or any state securities laws and may not be offered or sold in the
United States absent registration or an applicable exemption from the
registration requirements of the 1933 Act and applicable state securities

    About OPTI
    OPTI is a Calgary, Alberta-based company focused on developing major oil
sands projects in Canada using its proprietary OrCrude(TM) process. OPTI's
first project, Phase 1 of the Long Lake Project, consists of 72,000 barrels
per day of SAGD oil production integrated with an upgrading facility. The
Upgrader uses the OrCrude(TM) process combined with commercially available
hydrocracking and gasification. Through gasification, this configuration
substantially reduces the exposure to and the need to purchase natural gas. On
a 100 percent basis, the Long Lake 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. Due to its premium
characteristics, OPTI expects PSC(TM) to sell at a price similar to West Texas
Intermediate (WTI) crude oil. The Long Lake Project is a joint venture with
the Operator, Nexen Inc. OPTI holds a 35 percent working interest in the joint
venture. OPTI's common shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the
symbol OPC.

    Additional information regarding the Long Lake Project is available at

    Forward-Looking Statements
    Certain statements contained herein are forward-looking statements,
including statements relating to OPTI's financing plans and the use of
proceeds from the offering; OPTI's operations, 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 including the risk
that OPTI may not be able to satisfy the covenants or conditions of its credit
facilities and the potential accelerated repayment of such credit facilities
and its senior secured notes. The forward-looking statements are based on a
number of assumptions which may prove to be incorrect. In addition to other
assumptions identified herein, OPTI has 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 and revised Management's Discussion and Analysis for
the three months ended March 31, 2009 both of which are available at
www.sedar.com, for a detailed discussion of these factors, risks and
uncertainties. The forward-looking statements or information contained in this
document 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.

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