08/06/2013 07:43 EDT | Updated 10/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Athabasca's Dover Oilsands Project Conditionally Approved By Regulator

A worker delivers gasoline to a PetroChina Co. Ltd. gas station in Beijing, China, on Wednesday, March 28, 2012. PetroChina is expected to announce earnings on March 29. Photographer: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CALGARY - The Alberta Energy Regulator signed off Tuesday on the Dover oilsands project submitted by Athabasca Oil (TSX:ATH).

The agency said the regulatory approval, which green-lights the Brion Energy Corp. to begin construction, is subject to 10 conditions related to the operations of the project.

The Dover project was initially opposed by the First Nations on the Fort McKay reserve lands, but the regulator said that the project would have little impact on the band.

In 2009, Athabasca sold a 60 per cent interest in its MacKay River and Dover oilsands projects to PetroChina. Early last year, PetroChina exercised its option to buy Athabasca's 40 per cent stake in MacKay River for $680 million.

The Chinese company will also have the opportunity to do the same with Dover later this year. PetroChina can buy Athabasca's Dover stake for $1.32 billion within a month of the project obtaining regulatory approval.

The project will use steam-assisted gravity drainage technology to recover bitumen.

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