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Syncrude's oil sands plant at Mildred Lake north of Fort McMurray, Alta.Kevin Van Paassen

Third-quarter profit at Canadian Oil Sands Ltd. , the biggest partner in the Syncrude Canada Ltd. joint venture, rose 25 per cent on higher oil prices and increased production, the company said Thursday.

The company, which as a 37 per cent stake in Syncrude, one of Canada's largest oil sands producers, earned $242-million, or 50 cents per share, up from its year-earlier $193-million, or 40 cents.

Cash flow, a glimpse into the company's ability to fund its development projects was $512-million, or $1.06 per share, more than double year-prior quarter's result of $230-million, or 48 cents per share.

Canadian Oil Sands said its results were helped by a 26 per cent rise, to $97.89 per barrel, in the price of the light synthetic crude produced at the Syncrude site in northern Alberta.

During the quarter, production rose 13 per cent to 109,260 barrels a day net to the company.

Operating costs were $37.19 a barrel, down 2.1 per cent.

The company maintained its 2011 forecast for total Syncrude production of 301,400 bpd.