Royal Dutch Shell will slow its expansion into expensive Canadian oilsands production, a newspaper report suggests.

Peter Voser, who has been CEO at Europe’s second-largest oil and gas conglomerate since July, told the Financial Times that the company plans to rely more on exploring and developing conventional oil and gas reserves for its future growth.

The shift away from the oilsands is a departure from the strategy of his predecessor, Jeroen van der Veer, who believed the company's best chance of boosting output was to be active in unconventional oil supplies such as oilsands bitumen.

But Voser stopped short of suggesting Shell will be scaling back its oilsands presence. The $14-billion Athabasca Oilsands Project, of which Shell holds a 60 per cent interest, is on schedule to produce 255,000 barrels per day by next year, he noted.

The company has, however, shelved plans to expand the facility to produce 700,000 barrels per day, Voser said. "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," he told the newspaper.

He added that soaring costs in the oilsands region in northern Alberta had made investment there less attractive.