* Says board has approved 2010 capex budget of C$120 mln
* Says sanctioning of phase 2 of Long Lake project deferred
TORONTO, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Opti Canada Inc OPC.TO, known for its stake in a major Alberta oil sands project, said its board approved a C$120 million capital spending program for 2010.
Opti expects its share of budgeted costs for the first phase of the Long Lake Project in 2010 to be about C$92 million.
Opti and its joint venture partner, Nexen Inc NXY.TO plan to defer the sanctioning of phase 2 until late 2011.
The company said the deferral allows it to gain additional phase 1 operating experience prior to construction of future phases, as well as to potentially obtain greater clarity on carbon dioxide regulations. (Reporting by Euan Rocha; Editing by Derek Caney)