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Suncor says bitumen production begins for Firebag Stage 3

Suncor Energy Inc. (SU:NYSE) recently announced that it began its initial bitumen production associated with its Firebag Stage 3 steam-assisted gravity drainage project in the early part of July.

The company said that by the end of the third quarter it also hopes to begin steam injection into two well pads as part of the project in the northern part of Alberta, according to the Oil & Gas Journal.

Facilities, central plant and infrastructure are under construction as part of Stage 4, in addition to two well pads.

Suncor said that it believes production from Stage 4 will start in the latter of half of the first quarter of 2013.

The energy company said that its net earnings in the second quarter of 2011 were $562 million, up from $540 million from the same period the year before.

Rick George, president and chief executive officer, said that he anticipates a strong second half from his company.

"With major maintenance at our oil sands operations successfully behind us, we're looking toward a strong second half to the year and steady production through 2012," he said in a release.

Reuters reports that Suncor's 52-week high was $48.53, compared to its 52-week low of $29.15. 

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