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Syncrude

MARK RALSTON/Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Canadian Oil Sands Trust, the largest partner in the Syncrude Canada Ltd. oil sands project, said Thursday its first-quarter profit jumped almost fourfold despite a drop in output as crude prices surged.

Canadian Oil Sands raised its quarterly cash distribution by 43 per cent to 50 cents a unit, citing its expectation that crude prices will stay strong.

The trust earned $167-million, or 35 cents per unit, up from $43-million, or 9 cents, in the first quarter of 2009.

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It was expected to post a profit of 28 cents a unit, according the average analyst forecast compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Profit surged on oil prices that rose 86 per cent from the first quarter of 2009 to average $78.37 (U.S.) a barrel.

Cash from operating activities, used to pay distributions to unit holders, rose 518 per cent to $309-million (Canadian), or 64 cents a unit, from $50-million, or 10 cents.

Canadian Oil Sands, which has a 37 per cent stake in Syncrude, said its share of the oil sands project's production averaged 99,000 barrels per day in the quarter, down 3.9 per cent as planned and unplanned maintenance cut volumes.

Operating costs rose 2.1 per cent to $39.59 a barrel, also because of the maintenance, the trust said.

Reuters

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