Canadian Oil Sands income on the way up, but warns of drop in cash levels

Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (TSX:COS) increased its 2012 cash flow guidance by 20% after reporting third-quarter net income climbed to $338-million as lower operating expenditures offset a decline in revenues.

The company said income in the most recent quarter amounted to 70 cents per share, up from $242-million, or 50 cents per share, in the year-earlier quarter.

As the main partner of Syncrude Canada, the company benefited from a 3% rise in production and a decline in cash costs from $37.19 to $36.17 per barrel.

“We expect cash levels to decrease significantly from the current $1.5-billion as we fund the major capital projects and repay the 2013 debt maturity,” the company said in its third-quarter earnings release Monday. “As a result, net debt levels should rise to $1-billion to $2-billion by the end of 2014, coincident with the reduced capital expenditure risk from the completion of the major capital projects.”

The Calgary-based oil producer owns a 37% stake in the Syncrude Canada oil sands mine north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, the largest such project of its kind in the world.