Imperial Oil profit beats on record output from Kearl oil sands

(Reuters) - Canada's Imperial Oil Ltd's IMO.TO quarterly profit more than doubled to easily beat analysts' estimates on Friday, benefiting from a record production at Kearl oil sands in Northern Alberta, its largest project.

FILE PHOTO - 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

Output at Kearl jumped 34 percent to 244,000 barrels per day in the third quarter, after struggling to hit full capacity since 2016.

That rise lifted total production at the company, which is majority owned by Exxon Mobil XOM.N, to 393,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boe/d) from 390,000 boe/d, a year earlier.

“The strong performance from Kearl should bode well for sentiment, as it appears that the company is beginning to find some operational momentum at the company’s largest project,” Raymond James analyst Chris Cox wrote in a note.

Total production beat the brokerage’s estimate of 367,000 boe/d, sending the shares of the company as much as 6 percent higher to C$43.93 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Imperial also said it had received regulatory approval for its 150,000 bpd Aspen project and 50,000 bpd Cold Lake expansion in Alberta.

The projects have potential to drive Imperial’s future oil sands production, but the oil and gas producer said on Friday it has not made final investment decisions.

The company reported a net profit of C$749 million, or 94 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, from C$371 million, or 44 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier. [USN]

Excluding one-time items, the company earned 98 Canadian cents per share, beating average analysts’ estimate of 85 Canadian cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Parent Exxon’s quarterly profit also beat analyst estimates, but the oil major reported a drop in production volumes.

Reporting by John Benny in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Alberta; Editing by Arun Koyyur