March 16, 2011 / 11:42 AM / in 6 years

REFILE-Opti Canada Feb production falls on unit shutdown

(Refiles to add Reuters Instrument Code)

* Bitumen production falls 14 pct to 23,100 bbl/d

* Production hit by 10-day shutdown of unit

March 16 (Reuters) - Opti Canada Inc said production from its Long Lake oil sands project in Calgary fell in February due to a 10-day maintenance shutdown of one of its hot lime softening units to address water treatment issues.

The Long Lake project is a joint venture between Canada's No. 5 independent oil explorer Nexen Inc and Opti Canada.

Debt-laden Opti Canada said February bitumen production was about 23,100 barrels per day (bbl/d), down from 27,000 bbl/d in January.

Nexen, which operates the Long Lake oil sands project, had warned that output may fall short of forecasts because of operational problems that analysts say may take heavy spending to fix.

Operational problems at the C$6.1 billion Long Lake project, where it has a 35 percent stake, have kept output below its potential of 72,000 barrels a day.

Opti also said construction of a supply line to increase the project's natural gas inlet capacity has begun and the company expects it to be online mid-year.

Shares of the Calgary, Alberta-based company closed at C$0.260 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Amruta Sabnis; Editing by Vyas Mohan)

Debt-heavy Opti, which has a minority stake in Nexen Inc's Long Lake oil sands project, posted a loss of C$26 million, or 9 Canadian cents a share, compared with a loss of C$212 million, or 75 Canadian cents a share, last year.

The company reported a C$81 million unrealized foreign exchange gain in the quarter. Last year it recorded a gain of C$36 million.

Revenue rose to C$81 million from C$43 million in the quarter.

Fourth-quarter bitumen production averaged about 28,100 barrels per day.

The company's shares closed at 29.5 Canadian cents on Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (

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