(Corrects 3rd paragraph to make clear MEG loads crude on barges in U.S.)
Oct 24 (Reuters) - Canadian oil sands producer MEG Energy Corp's third-quarter profit more than doubled driven by a rise in output, lower operating costs and stronger price realizations.
The company also said it expects to finish the year in the upper half of its production forecast of 32,000 to 35,000 barrels per day (bpd).
Earlier this year, MEG began sending crude to the Chicago area via pipeline or rail, and then loading it onto barges for transport down the Mississippi River system. It also plans to start shipping significant volumes of crude by rail from the Canexus terminal in Bruderheim, Alberta, to avoid congestion on pipelines.
The company, whose key operations are in the southern Athabasca oil sands region of Alberta, said production rose 20 percent to 34,246 bpd in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.
Net income rose to C$115.4 million ($111.06 million), or 51 Canadian cents per share in the quarter, from C$47.5 million, or 24 Canadian cents, a year earlier.
The company's cash flow rose almost six-fold to C$144.5 million, or 64 Canadian cents per share.
MEG Energy shares closed at C$34.17 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday. ($1 = 1.0389 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Nia Williams and Sneha Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza)