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View of the Syncrude oil sands extraction facility near Fort McMurray, Alta.

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Shares in Canadian Oil Sands Trust climbed Monday amid reports that Sinopec, Asia's biggest refiner, plans to buy ConocoPhillips' stake in Syncrude Canada, the world's largest oil sands development.

Canadian Oil Sands, already a 37 per cent owner of Syncrude Canada, was thought to be a leading candidate to acquire the additional stake put up for sale last year by ConocoPhillips.

Investors seemed relieved at reports that there could be another buyer - particularly one from the huge Chinese market - sending shares of Canadian Oil Sands up by 53 cents to $31.23 at midmorning on trading of more than 1.1 million shares.

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The possibility of Canadian Oil Sands buying an additional stake in Syncrude had been weighing on the trust's unit price recently since the company would need to raise up to $4 billion in financing for the transaction.

Shares in ConocoPhillips gained 45 cents to $55.77 (U.S.) on the New York Stock Exchange.

Syncrude, an oil sands mining operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta., has a capacity of up to 350,000 barrels of oil per day.

The other partners in Syncrude include Suncor Energy Inc. , Nexen Inc. , Murphy Oil Co. and Mocal Energy Ltd.

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