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Financing for oil sands companies worldwide 2016-2019, by bank

From 2016 to 2019, oil sands companies received billions of dollars in finance from some of the worlds leading investment banks. Oil sands are a naturally occurring mixture of sand, water, fine solids, clay and bitumen. Bitumen is a heavy hydrocarbon that is tar-like in its consistency, and is extracted using varying techniques dependent on the depth of the deposits.

During this time, the two main financers of leading oil sands companies were the Canadian multinationals TD and RBC. Since the Paris Agreement in 2016, investment from these banks only decreased in 2018, with their combined total at the end of this period amounting to more than 40 billion U.S. dollars. This is unsurprising as Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world, with the vast majority of this in oil sands. In 2014, capital investment in Canadian oil sands stood at 34 billion Canadian dollars. By 2019 it had dropped to an estimated 12 billion.

Oil sands are an important part of the Canadian economy, and over 96 percent of its reserves are found in Alberta. Production here was highest at the Syncrude mining project, just outside Fort McMurray.

Leading investment banks for oil sands companies from 2016 to 2019 (in billion U.S. dollars)*

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period

2016 to 2019

Supplementary notes

*Bank financing for 30 top oil sands production companies and five key oil sands pipeline companies
Source refers to oil sands as tar sands
Figures have been rounded

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