Canadian Oil Sands to invest $1.3 bln in Syncrude operations next year

Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:51pm EST

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Nov 29 (Reuters) - Canadian Oil Sands Ltd said it plans to invest about C$1.3 billion ($1.31 billion) in the Syncrude joint venture next year to mainly revamp mining infrastructure, which will help produce stable volumes of light crude oil in the long term.

Syncrude is one of Canada's two largest oil sands mining and synthetic crude processing operations, which has a daily capacity of about 350,000 barrels a day.

About 63 percent, or C$836 million, will be invested in major projects to replace or relocate mining infrastructure and to develop facilities to reclaim tailings, a by-product of the mining process.

"We are in the advantageous position of having the infrastructure in place to produce strong, stable volumes of fully upgraded, light crude oil for decades," Chief Executive Marcel Coutu said in a statement.

Also, about C$393 million would be spent on regular maintenance, which represents smaller projects and annually occurring expenditures to maintain production.

"Syncrude's major projects are advancing on-schedule and on-budget," Coutu said.

Coutu also said the company intends to maintain its current quarterly dividend of 35 Canadian cents per share through 2013.

Cash flow, which gives a glimpse into the company's ability to fund development and pay out dividends, is estimated at C$1.04 billion, or C$2.16 per share in 2013, the company said.

Canadian Oil Sands has a 37 percent stake in the massive Syncrude tar sands mining and synthetic crude operation in northern Alberta.

The six other partners in the venture include Nexen , Suncor and China's Sinopec.

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