April 1, 2010 / 10:34 PM / in 8 years

UPDATE 1-Suncor completes repairs to oil sands unit

* Repairs from February fire completed

* Year-to-date output has averaged 202,000 bpd

CALGARY, Alberta, April 1 (Reuters) - Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO) said on Thursday it completed repairs one of its oil sands upgrading units in northern Alberta, damaged in a fire in early February, and output has returned to full rates.

Suncor, Canada’s biggest energy company, had been forced to lower its annual production target after the blaze at the 125,000 barrel a day U1 upgrader.

The incident followed a fire in December at the company’s other, 175,000 bpd upgrader. The plants turn extra-heavy crude from the oil sands into refinery-ready light oil.

Suncor said output during the most recent repair period in March averaged 245,000 barrels a day. Year-to-date, production has averaged 202,000 barrels a day.

At the Reuters Canadian Oil Sands Summit last month, Suncor Chief Executive Rick George said the company has turned to outside experts to help find ways to boost the reliability of its upgrading operations. Results of those studies are expected at the end of this month. (Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Rob Wilson)

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