Statoil has exited the Canadian oil sands. The Norwegian company has sold its Leismer project and Corner lease to Athabasca Oil Corporation (AOC) in a deal worth up to US$624 million (Cdn$832 million). AOC paid US$326 million (Cdn$435 million) in cash along with 100 million AOC shares valued at US$110 million (Cdn$147 million) at the time of the sale. There are also potential yearly contingent payments of US$56 million (Cdn$75 million) up to a maximum of US$188 million (Cdn$250 million) based on benchmark oil prices. Continued technology improvements and innovative developments will be needed to maintain oil sands growth in an increasingly carbon conscious world. The companies leading on those initiatives are now largely Canadian based and highly levered to the resource. The recent sanctioning go aheads from Canadian Natural Resources and Cenovus signal that the sector is not finished growing and confirm our view that the Canadian based companies are in the driving seat.