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ConocoPhillips (COP.N) and Total SA (TOTF.PA) launched a massive expansion of their Canadian oil sands joint venture on Tuesday, with plans to boost production from the Surmont project to 110,000 barrels per day, four times the current rate.

 

Construction at Surmont, which currently produces about 27,000 barrels a day, will begin this year and is slated to be complete by 2015. The partners did not disclose the cost of the project.

Surmont is the latest is a series of new projects and expansions announced for the oil sands, the largest crude reserve outside the Middle East, after billions of dollars worth of project were deferred, delayed or canceled outright because of the financial crisis, falling oil prices and rising construction costs.

"Oil supply from the oil sands is going to be required to meet long-term global demand and play a role in energy security and economic security for North America," said Matt Fox, president of ConocoPhillips' Canadian unit.

Along with Surmont, Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO)

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