The oil sands have faced a challenging and fluid environment this quarter. Crumbling prices were only the start of the industries' worries. A fresh Keystone XL rejection shrouded in the rhetoric of environmental conservatism reminded us of the difficulties in gaining market access for Canada's stranded resources. That was cited as one of the reasons that integrated major Shell decided to pull the plug on its 80 000 b/d Carmon Creek in situ oil sands project. A new Liberal majority government in the House of Commons ushered in a second wave of political change for Alberta. Despite a brief rally in Q2 benchmark and Western Canada Select (WCS) crude prices continued to slide in Q3 with WCS reaching a fresh six and half year low on 14 August at Cdn$23.41/bbl.