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Tar-sands troubles

Shell Explorer Ltd., a wholly owned Canadian subsidiary of Shell Oil Company, announced Feb. 25 it is withdrawing immediately from the $14 billion Alsands Consortium. The consortium is developing a large project in northern Alberta to extract oil from the vast deposits of heavy oil-impregnated sand and sandstone known as the Athabasca tar sands.

In Calgary, a spokesman for the Alsands Consortium said Feb. 24 it would be impossible for the remaining members to absorb the interest of the companies that are dropping out. He added that new participating companies must be found if the vast tar-sands venture is to be carried out.

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