Under the terms of the deal, Suncor will also have option to further acquire interest in the Fort Hills project related logistics, including pipelines, storage terminals and third-party pipeline capacity agreements.

The Fort Hills project is an integrated oil sands project that includes a mine and bitumen extraction facility, situated 90 miles north of Fort McMurray in Alberta.

Suncor president and CEO Steve Williams said: "With engineering over 90% complete and construction surpassing 40%, Fort Hills is on track, with first oil expected in the fourth quarter of 2017.

"For 2015, this further investment in Fort Hills can be absorbed within our current capital spending guidance."

Suncor expects the acquisition to lower its capital cost per barrel as well as improve expected Fort Hills project return.

The sale is a part of Total’s plan to reduce its exposure to oil sands projects in Canada as it reviews global asset portfolio amid dropping oil prices.

Total exploration and production president Arnaud Breuillac said: "Following the suspension of the Joslyn project at the beginning of 2015, the sale of this minority interest will reduce our Capex outlay in the Fort Hills project by over C$700m (about $530m) from now until end-2017, and help us deliver on our global Capex reduction target."

The Fort Hills, which is estimated to have 180,000 barrels per day of production capacity, is scheduled to be commissioned by the end of 2017.

Suncor is the developer and operator of the Fort Hills project, which is estimated to have more than 50 years of operational life.

The transaction is subject to closing conditions, including regulatory approval.

Upon completion of the transaction scheduled in the fourth quarter of 2015, Suncor will have 50.8% stake in the $15bn Fort Hills project while Total and Teck Resources will hold 29.2% and 20% stakes respectively.

Image: Suncor stores its refinery-ready feedstock and diesel fuel in product tanks for supply to North American commercial and industrial markets. Photo: courtesy of Suncor Energy Inc.