A key water-use permit allowing construction of Imperial Oil’s $8 billion Kearl oil sands project in northern Alberta could be reissued as soon as today, a spokesman for the company said.


The project was derailed in March after environmental groups challenged its approval.


The 300,000 barrels a day Kearl development is one of about $100 billion in projects on the books or under construction to exploit the oil sands deposits of northern Alberta, which contain the largest oil reserves outside the Middle East.


The federal government quietly approved a revised environmental assessment report for the project on May 15, one day after Imperial lost its appeal, a decision that has raised the ire of environmental groups.