Canadian Oil Sands profits fall sharply to $87 million in third quarter

CALGARY – Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (TSX:COS) said Thursday a project to replace equipment at its Mildred Lake mine is near completion as it reported a sharp drop in quarterly profits on foreign exchange losses and lower sales.

The Calgary-based company, which owns a 37 per cent stake in the massive Syncrude Canada Ltd. oilsands mining operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta., said the $3.9-billion Mildred Lake mine train replacement project is 99 complete.

It’s on time and under budget, said CEO Ryan Kubik.

“This signals that Syncrude’s major capital projects are winding down and the associated financing risk is coming out of the business,” he said in a release.

“After many years of engineering and construction, we are looking forward to the successful integration of the new Mildred Lake train asset and its industry-leading technology into Syncrude’s operation.”

Canadian Oil Sands said net income was $87 million, or 18 cents per share in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

During the same period a year earlier, Canadian Oil Sands brought in net income of $246 million, or 51 cents per share.

Cash flow from operations dropped to $302 million, or 62 cents per share, versus $340 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier due to lower pricing and higher expenses.

The average selling price of synthetic crude oil produced at Syncrude was $102.58 a barrel, down from $112.55 in the third quarter of 2013.

The top end of the forecasted production range for Syncrude has been reduced by two million barrels to between 95 and 100 million barrels.