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Cenovus Seeks Partners in Asia, U.S. to Help With Oil Sands

April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Cenovus Energy Inc., Canada’s fifth-largest energy company, said it is discussing partnership opportunities with companies in Asia, the U.S. and Canada.

“What we want to achieve is to look for alternative commercial arrangements to bring forward value for shareholders,” Chief Executive Officer Brian Ferguson said in an interview today.

A deal would likely be worth billions of dollars, he said. declining to name any possible partners. The partnerships would be used to develop the company’s oil sands in northern Alberta.

Energy companies from Asia and Europe have expanded in Canada to take advantage of the world’s third-largest reserves of crude after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, which represents oil and gas companies. Calgary-based Cenovus has “decades worth” of bitumen in Alberta’s Athabasca region, Ferguson said.

In 2010, China Petrochemical Corp. paid $4.65 billion to buy a stake in Syncrude Canada Ltd., and Total SA paid $1.74 billion to buy into Suncor Energy Inc.’s oil-sands developments. Oilsands Quest Inc. said in January it’s in discussions with potential partners to develop assets in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Cenovus said today that first-quarter profit fell 91 percent to C$47 million ($49.2 million). The company spent C$713 million to drill exploration wells and expand production at its Christina Lake and Foster Creek operations and was hurt by a lack of pipeline capacity to ship oil.

Cenovus fell 11 cents to C$36.12 at 4:20 p.m. on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jeremy van Loon in Calgary at jvanloon@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan Warren at susanwarren@bloomberg.net

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