For those Fools not following along at home, oil sands projects keep sinking. With Total SA (NYSE: TOT ) talking about requiring $85-$90 oil for an adequate rate of return, you can hardly blame folks like Teck Cominco (NYSE: TCK ) and Canadian Natural Resources (NYSE: CNQ ) for backing off.
The oil sands still have a few fans, as seen in Nexen's (NYSE: NXY ) recent decision to up its stake in the Long Lake joint venture with Opti Canada. The Occidental Petroleum (NYSE: OXY ) offspring will take 15% more of the project at a cost of $735 million. Nexen will also become operator of the upgrader used to turn bitumen into synthetic crude -- kind of like Rumpelstiltskin, minus the evil dwarf magic.
This move definitely caught me by surprise. Last I heard, Nexen and Opti Canada were slowing the project's expansion, on account of the markets going somewhere very warm in a handbasket.
That's the notable thing about Nexen, though. How many companies of its size -- Nexen's peers include the likes of Southwestern Energy (NYSE: SWN ) and Talisman Energy (NYSE: TLM ) -- have that kind of cash to throw around today? Like I said last time, it's all about patience and staying power up in the oil sands, and Nexen appears to pass the test.
I'm not terribly familiar with the Long Lake asset, but given Nexen's willingness to increase its stake, it's no wonder that fellow oil sands dweller Total has been rumored to be courting the company. If you're unshaken by oil's plunge, and remain a long-term commodity hound, I think Nexen's one worth sniffing around.
About 96% of Motley Fool CAPS players are pulling for Nexen, with outperform ratings on the stock. Check out their opinions and contribute your own right over here.