December 20, 2011 / 12:27 PM / in 6 years

Athabasca Oil Sands to spend 46 percent more in 2012

(Reuters) - Athabasca Oil Sands (ATH.TO) set its 2012 capital budget 46 percent higher at C$1.02 billion, as the bitumen producer inches towards regulatory approval for some of its projects which it plans to soon bring to production.

Calgary, Alberta-based Athabasca, whose stock started trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange in April last year, plans to spend C$403 million on its oil sands division.

The company, which said in November it would spend C$700 million this year, expects to get regulatory approval for its 12,000 barrels per day steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) project, and will likely start producing in 2014.

The SAGD technology pumps steam to liquefy and extract underground reserves of tar-like bitumen.

The company, which operates in the Athabasca region of northern Alberta, plans to spend C$203 million on the Mackay River project, a joint venture in which it has a 40 percent interest.

The oil producer has set aside a budget of C$403 million for its light oil division, with a major portion to be spent on drilling and completions.

Athabasca’s stock, which has shed more than a quarter of its value since its IPO, closed at C$11.99 on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das

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