Shell sells stake in Canadian Natural Resources for $3.3 billion

Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) is selling its entire stake in Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) for about $3.3 billion, as part of a planned exit from Canada’s oil sands sector.

The Dutch giant, the world’s second largest publicly traded oil company, said it would use proceeds of the sale of almost 98 million shares — about 8% of CNR — to pay down debt.

Shell obtained its stake in CNR last year, when it sold its interest in a number of oil sands assets to the Calgary-based producer for $11.1 billion.

As part of the transaction CNR bought Shell’s 60% interest in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, which includes a mine north of Fort McMurray, and the Shell-operated Scotford bitumen upgrader and Quest carbon capture project northeast of Edmonton.

Once the deal closes on Wednesday, Shell's only involvement in Alberta's oil sands will be through its 10% stake in the Athabasca Oil Sands Project, majority owned by CNR and Chevron.

Alberta’s oil sands hold the world’s third-largest crude reserves, but they are also among the most expensive operations due to their remote location and energy-intensive production methods.