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Europe’s oil giant Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A - Analyst Report) has received approval from the Canadian government to expand its Jackpine oil sands project in northern Alberta. The expansion is expected to increase production in the region by around 100,000 barrels a day (Bbl/d) to 300,000 Bbl/d.

The regulatory application for the project was filed in 2007 and includes sanction for additional mining areas and related processing facilities, utilities and infrastructure.
 
The project had faced opposition from several environmentalists on grounds of adverse environmental effects. However, the Canadian government gave the green signal to Shell stating that the resulting effects are justified.
 
Shell is reviewing the terms and conditions associated with the approval. Moving ahead with the final investment decision is however subject to approval from Shell and the joint owners of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project (AOSP). The Jackpine mine is a part of the AOSP that currently produces 255,000 Bbl/d.  

Marathon Oil Corp. (MRO - Analyst Report) and Chevron Corp. (CVX - Analyst Report) partner Shell in this joint venture. Shell Canada Energy has a 60% stake in the project whereas Marathon and Chevron each have a 20% interest. .

U.K.-based Shell is the largest oil company in Europe. Moreover, the company has operations worldwide and is involved in various activities related to oil and natural gas, chemicals, power generation, renewable energy resources, and other energy related businesses.

Royal Dutch Shell currently holds a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell), implying that it is expected to underperform the broader U.S. equity market over the next one to three months.

Meanwhile one can consider better-ranked energy players like SM Energy Company (SM - Analyst Report) that currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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