Connacher Is in Venture Talks With Asian Firms, Chairman Says in Calgary

Connacher Oil and Gas Ltd., a Canadian oil-sands producer, has had talks with Asian companies about forming a joint venture that may lower the company’s costs and increase shareholder returns, Chairman Richard Gusella said.

“I would not call these discussions serious negotiations, although some progressed further than others, but none have yet been consummated,” Gusella said in an interview after the CAPP Investment Symposium in Calgary yesterday. “We keep an open mind about joint ventures against the advantages of proceeding on our own, as we have done in the past with success.”

Connacher aims to double daily production to 20,000 barrels in 2011 from a company estimate of an average 10,000 barrels this year. Output may rise to 50,000 barrels a day by 2015 on new discoveries, according to a company forecast.

Connacher, based in Calgary, will build its cash balance next year and gain “significant capital-investment capacity in 2012,” Gusella said.

The company will likely continue talks with various entities, including oil companies and sovereign wealth firms, to see if a relationship can be established, reducing the need to further access capital markets, Gusella said. He declined to name the firms involved.

Connacher was unchanged at C$1.42 as of 3:59 p.m.in Toronto trading. The stock has gained 11 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Irene Shen in Calgary at ishen4@bloomberg.net.

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