* Cautiously optimistic on returning to opers in Libya
* To spend C$3.6 bln on growth projects
(Adds detail on production)
Nov 8 (Reuters) - Canada’s largest oil and gas producer Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) forecast a 12 percent rise in its oil sands production in 2012 and expects to spend about C$3.6 billion ($3.55 billion) towards growth projects in the coming year.
The dominant oil sands producer sees oil sands output to average between 325,000-355,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd) next year, up from the expected oil sands production of 300,000-310,000 boepd in 2011.
The company, whose 2012 production outlook assumes no production for Libya, said it is “cautiously” optimistic about returning to operations in Libya as it formulates a re-entry plan.
Production in Libya was halted earlier this year because of the country’s civil war.
The 2012 capital expenditure budget forecast of C$7.5 billion that Suncor gave last week is above C$6.7 billion in 2010.
Last year, the company pledged to raise output from the oil sands by 10 percent a year through 2020.
Suncor shares closed at C$33.29 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The shares have fallen 7.9 percent over the past 12 months against a 4.3 percent drop in the exchange’s benchmark index.
Reporting by Vaishnavi Bala in Bangalore, editing by Bernard Orr