Canada’s Imperial nearly triples quarterly profit on soaring crude prices

General view of the Imperial Oil refinery, located near the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada March 20, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Osorio/File Photo

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April 29 (Reuters) – Imperial Oil of Canada (IMO.TO) posted a first-quarter profit on Friday boosted by soaring global oil prices and announced plans for a substantial takeover bid (SIB) that will will involve repurchasing up to C$2.5 billion. ($1.95 billion) of its common stock.

The SIB news helped offset lower-than-expected production for the quarter, after extreme cold in northern Alberta triggered an extended unplanned shutdown at the company’s massive Kearl oil sands mine.

Imperial shares last rose 1.5% on the Toronto Stock Exchange to C$65.1.

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Oil companies took advantage of global crude prices soaring to their highest level in nearly 14 years during the first quarter as sanctions on major oil exporter Russia over its invasion of the Ukraine, fueled concerns about supply shortages.

Calgary-based Imperial said the decision to launch an SIB, which will start in the next two weeks, was prompted by the fact that it has abundant excess cash on its balance sheet.

“The C$2.5 billion is clearly very affordable, and at current prices we expect to continue to generate strong cash flow,” Imperial’s managing director Brad Corson told analysts during a briefing. a conference call on the results.

Imperial, majority-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), posted net profit of C$1.17 billion ($917.94 million), or C$1.75 a share, from C$392 million. Canadian dollars ($307.55 million), or 53 cents Canadian per share. , one year ago. The company said it was its highest first-quarter profit in more than 30 years.

However, quarterly gross upstream production averaged 380,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), down from 432,000 boepd a year earlier. Production at Kearl averaged 186,000 barrels per day (bpd) gross at Imperial, down 65,000 bpd from the same quarter a year earlier.

Corson said operations at Kearl have returned to normal and the company will assess whether to scale back production guidance for the full year once a scheduled five-week maintenance shutdown is completed. completed end of June.

Imperial’s refinery throughput rose 9.6% to 399,000 bpd, driven by increased demand for fuels and other refined products.

Friday’s results mirror those of Imperial rival Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) earlier this week. Cenovus increased its quarterly profit sevenfold to beat analysts’ estimates and nearly tripled its dividend. Read more

($1 = 1.2803 Canadian dollars)

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Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri and Chris Reese

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