November 30, 2012 / 2:19 PM / 6 years ago

Canadian Oil Sands to invest $1.3 billion in Syncrude next year

(Reuters) - Canadian Oil Sands Ltd COS.TO said it plans to invest about C$1.30 billion ($1.31 billion) in its Syncrude oil sands joint venture next year to revamp mining infrastructure to produce stable volumes of light crude oil in the long term.

Syncrude in northern Alberta is one of Canada’s two largest oil sands mining and synthetic crude processing operations, with a capacity of about 350,000 barrels per day.

Canadian Oil Sands, the largest shareholder in the project with a 37 percent stake, put on hold major expansions last year to deal with reliability issues that affected equipment.

The other partners include Nexen Inc NXY.TO, Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) and China’s Sinopec (0386.HK).

About 63 percent, or C$836 million, will be invested in projects to replace or relocate mining infrastructure and to develop facilities to reclaim tailings, a by-product of the mining process. The rest would be spent on regular maintenance, the company said in a statement.

Canadian Oil Sands said it expects to produce 105 million to 115 million barrels from Syncrude in 2013. It said in October it expects production of between 105 million and 108 million barrels for 2012.

The company forecast sales, net of crude oil purchases and transportation expenses, of C$3.23 billion for 2013.

Costs per barrel are expected to be C$36.67, about 3 percent lower than its estimates for 2012.

“We are in the advantageous position of having the infrastructure in place to produce strong, stable volumes of fully upgraded, light crude oil for decades,” Chief Executive Marcel Coutu said in a statement.

“Syncrude’s major projects are advancing on-schedule and on-budget,” he said.

The company intends to maintain its current quarterly dividend of 35 Canadian cents per share through 2013, the CEO said.

Cash flow, which gives a glimpse into the company’s ability to fund development and pay out dividends, is estimated at C$1.04 billion, or C$2.16 per share, for 2013, the company said.

Shares of Canadian Oil Sands, which has a market value of C$9.91 billion, closed at C$20.43 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday. They have fallen 15 percent so far this year.

Reporting by Sakthi Prasad and Ankur Banerjee in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Sriraj Kalluvila

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