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Canadian Oil Sands Profit Falls on Lower Syncrude Production

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd., the Calgary-based company that gets all of its production from Syncrude Canada Ltd., said first-quarter profit fell 44 percent on lower output.

Net income declined to C$177 million ($175 million), or 37 cents a share, from C$318 million, or 66 cents, a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. Excluding a foreign exchange loss, earnings per share were 1 cent less than the 42-cent average of 10 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company lowered its 2013 total production target 5 percent for the Syncrude mine and upgrader after “several unplanned outages” resulted in lower-than-expected output in the quarter, Marcel Coutu, chief executive officer, said in the statement. The company now estimates Syncrude will produce between 100 million and 110 million barrels for the year.

Canadian Oil Sands is the largest owner of Syncrude Canada, a company that mines and processes oil sands into light crude in Alberta and had about 4.6 billion barrels of reserves at the end of last year. The other partners include Cnooc Ltd., Murphy Oil Corp. and Imperial Oil Ltd., which manages the venture.

Hydrotreating Outages

Syncrude had unplanned outages in both the mining and upgrading operations, which have been resolved, the company said. The company is still investigating the cause of the hydrotreating outages in the upgrader. Production fell 12 percent to 260,400 barrels a day.

Sales dropped 11 percent to C$961 million, from C$1.1 billion last year.

The upgrader turns heavy bitumen into a synthetic light crude that can more easily flow down pipelines and be processed in a refinery.

The earnings were reported after the close of regular trading on North American markets. Canadian Oil Sands rose 2.3 percent to C$19.79 at the close in Toronto.

The stock, which has 2 buy, 11 hold and 5 sell recommendations from analysts, has fallen 1.9 percent this year.

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