Total sells Canadian oil sands stake to Sinopec

CALGARY, Alberta, April 1 Wed Apr 1, 2009 2:33pm EDT

CALGARY, Alberta, April 1 (Reuters) - French oil major Total SA (TOTF.PA) said on Wednesday it sold a 10 percent stake in a proposed Canadian oil sands project to China's Sinopec (600028.SS), making both firms equal partners in the multibillion-dollar venture.

Total bought into the Northern Lights project last year when it acquired Synenco Energy, and Sinopec has been involved since 2005.

The value of the interest sold on Wednesday was not disclosed.

Construction of Northern Lights, which had been expected to cost C$10.7 billion ($8.5 billion), is on hold as the partners weigh new development options.

Earlier this year, Total has launched a C$617 million hostile takeover bid for small oil sands producer UTS Energy Corp UTS.TO to gain an interest in another proposed project called Fort Hills. UTS has urged shareholders to reject it.

($1=$1.26 Canadian) (Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; editing by Rob Wilson)