CALGARY, June 25 /CNW/ - OPTI Canada Inc ("OPTI") announced today that it
has approved a financing plan consisting of the issuance of up to
US$750 million of senior secured notes by way of a private offering.
The proceeds from the senior secured notes would be used to retire
outstanding amounts under OPTI's existing US$450 million Term Loan B Facility
and fund a portion of its share of costs associated with Phase 1 of the Long
Lake Project, as well as fund upfront development costs for Phase 2.
Upon the closing of these transactions, OPTI's debt facilities are
expected to consist of the new US$750 million senior secured notes, as well as
its existing US$1,000 million senior secured notes and an undrawn
CDN$500 million revolving credit facility.
Completion of these transactions is anticipated prior to the end of July
2007 but remains subject to a number of conditions, including agreement on
final terms and conditions and definitive documentation relating to the new
senior secured notes.
In conjunction with the financing, OPTI provided the following Project
Phase 1: Full Production Remains Anticipated in Late 2008/Early 2009
Significant progress has been made on the Long Lake Project. As
previously disclosed, the SAGD central steam boiler and water treatment
facilities are essentially complete, with work on the cogeneration facilities
continuing. Start-up of the main SAGD facilities is ongoing, and steam
injection began into two of the 10 well pads in April 2007.
Commissioning and start up of all the SAGD facilities has taken longer
than expected and OPTI now anticipates that all 81 well pairs (10 pads) will
be circulating steam by the end of August 2007. OPTI's current forecast is to
reach 50 percent bitumen production capacity approximately six months after
all well pairs have commenced steaming. During 2008, SAGD volumes are expected
to continue to ramp-up with completion of additional steam facilities. SAGD
Operations are expected to reach full design capacity of 72,000 barrels per
day (bbl/d) of bitumen production in late 2008 or early 2009, with an SOR near
OPTI's long term forecast of 3.0.
Overall Upgrader construction progress continues and OPTI expects the
Upgrader to be approximately 90 percent complete by the end of June. First
production of PSC(TM) continues to be forecast for the fourth quarter of 2007,
subject to completion of the construction of the Upgrader. During 2008, OPTI
expects that the capacity of the Long Lake Upgrader during ramp-up will enable
OPTI to process all the forecasted SAGD volumes. As a result, the Project is
expected to be producing at full capacity of 58,500 bbl/d of PSC(TM) and other
products in late 2008 or early 2009.
OPTI's current total cost estimate of the Project is between $5.0 billion
and $5.3 billion, or between $2.5 billion and $2.65 billion net to OPTI. With
SAGD construction essentially complete and Upgrader construction well
advanced, the risk of changes to forecast cost to complete and schedule is
primarily related to estimates of the number of man hours required to complete
Future Phases: Development Continues
OPTI is advancing its future phases of growth via a multi-stage expansion
strategy to reach 180,000 bbl/d of PSC(TM) production capacity.
Development of the Phase 2 execution strategy, cost estimate and project
schedule continues, with the goal of formally sanctioning the project in 2008.
This includes ongoing engineering work to understand the implications of
pending CO(2) regulations, including currently evaluating the potential for
incorporation of a shift reactor to facilitate CO(2) capture. The final timing
of Phase 2 sanctioning will be contingent upon timing of SAGD regulatory
approval, the capital cost estimate, Phase 1 ramp-up performance, commodity
price environment and certainty on CO(2) and royalty regulations. Following
formal sanctioning of Phase 2, it is anticipated that subsequent phases would
follow in approximately 24 month intervals.
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.
This press release is not an offer of securities for sale in the United
States. Securities may not be offered or sold in the United States absent
registration or an exemption from registration. Any public offering of
securities to be made in the United States will be made by means of a
prospectus that may be obtained from OPTI and that will contain detailed
information about OPTI and management, as well as financial statements.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS
Certain statements contained herein are forward-looking statements,
including statements relating to: OPTI's operations; anticipated financial
performance; 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 "anticipate,"
"estimate," "expect," "potential," "could" 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,