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The Globe and Mail

Athabasca Oil Sands widens third-quarter loss

The Athabasca River near Fort McMurray, Alta.

larry macdougal The Globe and Mail

Athabasca Oil Sands Corp. said Thursday its third-quarter loss widened and it has increased its position in Alberta's Deep Basin.

The loss of $13.2-million, or three cents per share, compared to a loss of $9.1-million, or two cents per share, during the same period a year earlier.

Revenue was $5.7-million, up from $4.3-million a year earlier.

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The Calgary-based company added to its light oil holdings in Alberta's deep basin with a $113-million land acquisition, bringing its total position to more than 526,000 hectares.

It also said early engineering work and procurement is underway at Athabasca's Hangingstone oil sands property, and construction is expected to begin next year.

During the quarter, the company also did some testing on its Dover West property in the technically challenging Leduc carbonate area of Alberta.

"Although it is early in the test, I am pleased that the results so far are meeting our high expectations," said CEO Sveinung Svarte.

"We are very encouraged by the results and the test is an important step in our disciplined approach to demonstrate that we can deliver attractive economic returns via gentle heating technology in this world-class resource."

In 2009, Athabasca inked a $2-billion deal with PetroChina to jointly develop the MacKay River and Dover oil sands properties. Engineering and procurement work on MacKay River is underway.

During the third quarter, Athabasca continued to explore and appraise its lands in the Montney and Nordegg formations in Western Canada, with a focus on light oil properties at Kaybob, Simonette, Placid and Waskahigan.

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Athabasca shares fell 12 cents to $12.95 in mid-day trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

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