Weak global crude prices hurt Imperial Oil profit

Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:49pm EDT
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By Nia Williams

(Reuters) - Imperial Oil Ltd (IMO.TO: Quote), Canada's No.2 integrated oil producer and refiner, on Thursday reported a 55 percent fall in quarterly profit as global crude prices halved.

The poor results were consistent with other Canadian energy companies reporting this week that have struggled with tumbling netbacks in a quarter in which U.S. crude fell to a six-year low around $42 a barrel.

Imperial Oil Chief Executive Rich Kruger said the company, which is 69.6 percent owned by Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N: Quote), would maintain a cautious spending outlook in the months to come.

"We are approaching our business as if we may be in for a sustained period of lower prices," Kruger said at the company's annual general meeting in Calgary.

The company is close to completing expansions at its Kearl and Cold Lake oil sands projects, but Kruger said the current environment did not help accelerate new projects such as the C$7 billion Aspen thermal development.

A final investment decision on Aspen was initially expected in 2016-17, depending on regulatory approval, and Kruger said it was too early to say if that would be delayed.

Imperial has been improving market access as expansions near completion and the first train from its 210,000-barrel-per-day Edmonton crude oil rail terminal, a joint venture with Kinder Morgan Inc (KMI.N: Quote) that will serve Kearl, departed on Thursday.

Kruger also said some waterborne Kearl cargoes had been sold to refineries in Malaysia, India and China.   Continued...

President and CEO Rich Kruger of Imperial Oil addresses shareholders during the company's annual general meeting in Calgary, Alberta, April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Todd Korol