UPDATE 2-Cenovus operating profit rises on higher production

Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:15pm EDT
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* 3rd-quarter operating income C$0.57 share vs C$0.54 view

* Oil sands output up 45 pct

* Cash flow up 41 pct to C$1.47 per share

CALGARY, Alberta, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Cenovus Energy Inc , Canada's No. 2 independent oil producer, said on Thursday its oil production rose to a record in the third quarter as it continues to expand two northern Alberta oil sands projects, and profit for the quarter jumped 43 percent.

Output at the Foster Creek and Christina Lake steam-driven oil sands projects that Cenovus co-owns with ConocoPhillips reached 190,000 barrels per day in the period, as the partners continue an expansion that could see the projects eventually produce a combined 600,000 barrels per day.

Cenovus' share of the project's production rose by 45 percent from the third-quarter of 2011, to 95,625 barrels per day.

"We are executing well in all aspects of our oil sands operation, and we intend to sustain that momentum," John Brannan, chief operating officer, said on a conference call.

Net income fell to C$289 million, or 38 Canadian cents per share, including a non-cash charge on a tax-management loss, down from C$510 million, or 67 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

Operating earnings, which exclude most one-time and unusual items, rose to C$432 million ($435.6 million), or 57 Canadian cents per share, from C$303 million, or 40 Canadian cents, a year earlier. The result topped the average analyst forecast for 54 Canadian cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.   Continued...