Shell said it is slowing its expansion into high-cost Canadian tar sands to focus on exploration rather than expensive, capital-intensive projects, according to chief executive Peter Voser.

In an interview with the UK’s Financial Times, Voser said Shell has scaled down plans to increase tar sands production to 700,000bpd.

“Over the past two years, and certainly over the past six to eight months, I’ve taken the pace out of that because we have enough other growth opportunities,” Voser told the newspaper.

Analysts said the decision to slow oil sands investment was no surprise given Shell’s relative inaction in the field during the past year or so, but they questioned whether Shell could halt a seven-year slide in output with the drill bit alone, reports Reuters.

Instead, Shell plans to rely more on conventional oil and gas reserves for future growth.