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.