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Suncor delays Voyager slashes 2009 budget by 1/3

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    Charles Randall

    UPDATE 1-Suncor slashes 2009 capital spending by one-third
    Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:35pm
    * Suncor cuts 2009 capital spending to C$6 billion
    * Delays completion of Voyageur upgrader
    * C$1.7 billion targeted for oil sands operations
    TORONTO, Oct 23 (Reuters) – Suncor Energy Inc slashed its 2009 capital spending by more than a third and pushed back completion of its Voyageur upgrader amid a downturn in the global markets and falling crude prices.
    Canada‘s No. 2 oil sands producer said on Thursday it planned to spend C$6 billion ($4.72 billion) in 2009, with about 60 percent of that earmarked for its massive Voyageur oil sands project.
    Earlier this year Suncor unveiled a C$20.6 billion plan to make it Canada’s biggest oil sands producer, raising capacity by 200,000 barrels a day to 550,000 bpd by 2012.
    The company said its 2009 plan maintains spending and construction timelines for the third and fourth stages of the its Firebag in-situ operations, which is part of the Voyageur project.
    However, Suncor expects to scale back spending and the pace of construction on its Voyageur upgrader, with completion expected to be delayed by approximately one year. It said later stages are expected to proceed, but added that the spending and scheduling were flexible with market conditions.
    “Following a thorough review in light of current financial market conditions, we’ve modified our capital plans for 2009, reducing targeted spending by more than a third,” Rick George, president and chief executive, said in a release
    “Our aim is to ensure we are living within our means during a time of market uncertainty, while also making the strategic spending decisions that will allow us to continue on our growth path.”
    The company plans to spend C$2.4 billion on its base business, with about C$1.7 billion targeted for its oil sands operations.
    Suncor said it expects similar levels of company-wide capital spending through 2012. ($1=$1.27 Canadian) (Reporting by Scott Anderson, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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