* Production grows 16 pct
* Kearl oil sands mine output up 35 pct sequentially
* Synthetic crude average realizations up 11 pct (Adds details, background)
May 1 (Reuters) - Imperial Oil Ltd, Canada’s No.2 integrated oil company, reported a 19 percent jump in quarterly profit as production grew and prices rose.
The company, 69.6 percent owned by Exxon Mobil Corp, said net income rose to C$946 million ($862.00 million), or C$1.11 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31 from C$798 million, or 94 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.
Production averaged 330,000 gross oil-equivalent barrels per day, up from 284,000 barrels a year ago.
Imperial’s average realizations from the sales of synthetic crude oil increased 11 percent due to a rise in West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil benchmark price, which rose about 5 percent, and the impact of a weaker Canadian dollar.
The company’s average bitumen realizations were C$65.19 per barrel compared with $43.63 per barrel a year ealier as the price spread between light crude oil and bitumen narrowed.
Average realizations on natural gas sales nearly doubled to C$6.56 per thousand cubic feet.
Imperial, one of Canada’s largest oil sands producers, recently opened the C$12.9 billion first phase of its Kearl oil sands mine in northern Alberta.
The project, however, has had difficulty sustaining production at its 110,000 barrel per day capacity. The company said output at the site averaged 70,000 bpd in the quarter, up 35 percent sequentially.
Gross production of Cold Lake bitumen fell 10 percent to average 147,000 bpd.
Throughput at the company’s three Canadian refineries averaged 378,000 bpd, up 6 percent, adjusted for the Dartmouth refinery shutdown. ($1 = 1.0975 Canadian Dollars) (Reporting by Scott Haggett in Calgary and Ashutosh Pandey in Bangalore; Editing by Joyjeet Das)