Imperial Oil profit slumps as oil prices plunge

Mon Feb 2, 2015 9:37am EST
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(Reuters) - Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO: Quote), Canada's second-largest integrated oil producer and refiner, posted a 36.5 percent fall in quarterly profit, hurt by lower crude prices as well as weaker refining and marketing margins.

The company, majority-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: Quote), expects to spend about C$4 billion ($3.2 billion) in 2015, 29 percent less than 2014, and said it would closely monitor operating costs and capital investments.

Imperial Oil joins a list of Canadian and U.S. oil and gas producers who have scaled back capital spending plans for 2015, following a sharp decline in oil prices over the past six months.

Crude prices have tumbled by more than half since June, with the average price for benchmark Brent in the October-December quarter down 30 percent from a year earlier.

The low crude prices also took a toll on Exxon's results. Exxon, which holds 69.6 percent of Imperial Oil, on Monday reported a 21 percent fall in quarterly profit.

Imperial Oil's net income also fell to C$671 million, or 79 Canadian cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 from C$1.06 billion, or C$1.24 per share, a year earlier.

Profit was, however, higher than the 76 Canadian cents per share analysts on average had estimated.

The Calgary-based company's revenue fell 4 percent to C$8.03 billion.

The company said total production fell 4 percent to average 315,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.   Continued...

Cars pull into an Esso gas station in Richmond Hill, Ontario, January 30, 2015.  REUTERS/Mark Blinch