OPTI Canada Inc. Announces Completion of Note Exchange Offer

    TSX: OPC

    CALGARY, March 12 /CNW/ - OPTI Canada Inc. (OPTI) announced today that
its previously announced note exchange offer has expired and that all notes
have been exchanged in accordance with the terms of the exchange offer.
    On February 7, 2008, OPTI commenced an exchange offer to exchange up to
US$1 billion aggregate principal amount of its 8.25% Senior Secured Notes due
2014 and up to US$750 million aggregate principal amount of its 7.875% Senior
Secured Notes due 2014 registered under the Securities Act of 1933 for any and
all of its outstanding 8.25% notes and 7.875% notes, which were issued in
December 2006 and June 2007, respectively, in transactions exempt from
registration under the Securities Act. The offer was extended on March 10,
2008 until 5:00 p.m., New York City Time, on March 12, 2008.
    This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the
solicitation of an offer to buy any security and shall not constitute an
offer, solicitation or sale of any securities in any jurisdiction in which
such offering, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.


    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- 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 39degrees 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.


    Certain statements contained herein are forward-looking statements,
including statements relating to: 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. 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 and the United States Securities and
Exchange Commission.
    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, and incorporated
by reference in the Form F-10 registration statement, which is available on
the SEC's website at www.sec.gov, 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

For further information:

For further information: Alison Trollope, Investor Relations Manager,
(403) 218-4705

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