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Cenovus Seeks Partner to Tap Global Markets for Oil Sands

Feb. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Cenovus Energy Inc., the oil producer spun off by Encana Corp. in 2009, is looking for a partner to help it sell more products abroad, said Chief Executive Officer Brian Ferguson.

Cenovus is in talks with “several” potential partners and more have expressed interest in recent weeks, Ferguson said in a telephone interview today. The deal, potentially worth billions of dollars, may include future projects, such as developing Telephone Lake oil-sand assets, and existing production, he said.

“We are in no way capital-constrained,” said Ferguson. “It’s the strategic uplift that the right partner might bring in terms of additional coking arrangements, transportation, and supply arrangements.”

Cenovus, based in Calgary, operates mainly in the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The company is searching for new ways to export its crude and is looking at Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans-Mountain pipeline to Vancouver and additional railcar capacity as oil production soars in the coming years.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has signaled his support for new pipelines to transport oil from landlocked Alberta to Canada’s Pacific Coast and on to Asia, Ferguson said during a conference call today. Asian countries will eventually want direct access to Canadian oil resources, he said.

Fourth-quarter net income rose to C$266 million ($267 million), or 35 cents a share, from C$78 million, or 10 cents, a year earlier, Cenovus said in a statement today. The company plans to boost investment 23 percent this year to as much as C$3.4 billion, according to a statement in December.

Cenovus shares fell 1.2 percent to C$38.12 at the close in Toronto.

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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