Canada’s Suncor Energy said it will allocate C$5.5bn (US$5.23bn) towards its 2010 capital spending plan to boost projects and focus on oil sands operations.

The plan, which has been approved by the company’s board, involves C$4bn (US$3.8bn) expenditure for existing operations and C$1.5bn (US$1.43bn) for growth project funding.

Suncor president and CEO Rick George said the company is looking at a capital investment level that can be entirely supported through free cash flow at mid-cycle crude oil prices.

A major portion of funds for growth projects will be used for the Firebag Stage 3 in-situ oil sands expansion, which has reached 50% completion after being postponed early this year.

The production is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2011, with volumes likely to increase to a design capacity of about 68,000bpd of bitumen.

Sustaining capital for upstream operations will be directed towards proposed tailings reduction operations and maintenance plans at oil sands, natural gas and international and offshore units, the company said.

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Expenditure on downstream operations will also concentrate on planned maintenance work and improvement of environmental performance.