Royal Dutch Shell PLC has offered to buy the shares that it does not already own in Shell Canada Ltd in a move aimed at boosting the parent company’s stake in oil sands. Shell currently owns 78% interest in Shell Canada. The group offered CAD 40/share or CAD 7.7 billion. Shell Canada has a substantial position in Canada’s oil sands and is embarking on a major expansion of production and upgrading capacity. Shareholders approved the unification formally combining the former Royal Dutch/Shell Group’s British and Dutch parent companies under a single board and a single executive. Investors had said the old structure hindered transparency and financial accountability. Alberta’s oil sands contain an estimated 1.69 trillion bbl of bitumen and the produced 5 trillion bbl through 2005. Shell Canada intends to announce a final investment decision for this expansion project in the fourth quarter pending regulatory approvals. Bitumen production is expected in late 2009 followed by upgrader production in late 2010. A formal offer will be conditional on more than 50% of Shell Canada’s outstanding shares, calculated on a fully diluted basis, being tendered. Closing also is subject to other customary conditions.