UPDATE 2-Athabasca Oil loss widens; shares rise on Dover deal hopes

Wed Aug 6, 2014 12:03pm EDT
 
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(Adds CEO and analyst quotes, details of Dover deal)

By Nia Williams

Aug 6 (Reuters) - Canada's Athabasca Oil Corp reported a bigger quarterly loss Wednesday as it set aside funds for future costs, but shares climbed on indications it had set a date for a delayed takeover of its Dover oil sands project in Alberta.

Shares of the oil sands producer surged as much as 4.8 percent after Athabasca Chief Executive and President Sveinung Svarte said Wednesday a C$1.23 billion deal with PetroChina Co Ltd to complete its takeover of the Dover project would close within a "reasonable time frame."

He declined to provide further details on the timing or reasons for the delay.

PetroChina was supposed to have completed the acquisition in June, but delayed payment amid a government-led corruption investigation into the Chinese national oil company.

Investors have closely eyed progress on the deal since Athabasca exercised a put option in April to sell its 40 percent stake in the planned Dover project in northern Alberta to partner Phoenix Energy, a unit of PetroChina.

The Dover project, 95 kilometres (59 miles) northwest of Fort McMurray, is expected to produce as much as 250,000 barrels of bitumen per day.

Last week, Reuters cited a person with knowledge of the deal as saying that PetroChina planned to complete the takeover by the end of September.   Continued...