Canadian Oil Sands appoints new CEO, sets $1.1-billion 2014 capital budget

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press 0

CALGARY – Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. (TSX:COS) has picked a replacement for outgoing CEO Marcel Coutu.

Ryan Kubik, a 20-year industry veteran who has been the company’s chief financial officer since 2007, will become the new top executive when Coutu retires in the new year, the company announced Monday.

“Over the last several months, the board has conducted a thorough and comprehensive process. The board utilized an international executive search firm and conducted extensive interviews with a number of candidates,” chairman Donald Lowry said in a release.

“Ryan’s leadership skills, knowledge of the industry and business acumen make him the ideal candidate to lead COS into our next phase of development.”

Rob Dawson, vice president of finance, has been promoted to take Kubik’s place as CFO.

Canadian Oil Sands has a 37 per cent stake in the massive Syncrude oilsands mining operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta. Other partners include Imperial Oil Ltd. (TSX:IMO), Suncor Energy Inc. (TSX:SU), two Chinese state-owned firms, Mocal Energy and Murphy Oil.

Also Monday, Canadian Oil Sands said it expects its share of 2014 capital spending at Syncrude will be $1.1 billion, most of which will be on projects already underway.

When the company announced its third-quarter results in October, it said it expected $1.29 billion in capital spending in 2013.

It also says it expects Syncrude to produce between 95 million and 110 million barrels next year.

In October, Canadian Oil Sands said it expected 2013 production to come in at between 97 million and 100 million barrels.

Mine train relocation and tailings management projects at Syncrude’s Aurora North mine were completed ahead of schedule and under budget in 2013.

For 2014, Canadian Oil Sands expects to spend $355 million finishing up a mine train replacement at its Mildred Lake mine, which is 80 per cent complete and expected to be in service late next year.

Estimated spending at its 70-per-cent complete centrifuge tailings management project is $298 million for 2014.

Another $361 million will be spent on regular maintenance work next year.

“I am very pleased with Syncrude’s progress on our major projects. With two projects complete, and the remaining two tracking on budget and schedule, the risk in this program has significantly declined,” said Coutu, who will have spent 12 years as CEO when he retires on Jan. 1.

“Through our investment in new mining infrastructure and proven equipment to reduce the associated environmental impact of tailings, we are positioned very competitively to generate long-term free cash flow.”

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