Imperial Third-Quarter Profit Falls on Lower Refining Margins

Imperial Oil Ltd., the second-largest Canadian oil producer by market value, said third-quarter profit slid on lower refining margins.

Net income slipped to C$647 million ($619 million) or 76 cents a share, from C$1.04 billion, or C$1.22, a year earlier, the Calgary-based company said in a statement distributed by CNW today.

Imperial’s Sarnia refinery in Ontario had planned maintenance lasting about 45 days, reducing volumes of gasoline, said Chris Feltin, an analyst at Macquarie Bank Ltd. in Calgary, in an Oct. 10 note to clients. Production at Alberta’s Kearl, the company’s newest oil-sands mining operation, has also been “volatile” as output is ramped up, he said.

“The project is still going through growing pains, and production comes on and off as the crews test out various processes,” Feltin said in the note.

Gross output in the quarter averaged the equivalent of 288,000 barrels a day of oil, from 285,000 barrels a year earlier. Refining profit fell to C$46 million from C$536 million a year earlier.

The company, 70 percent owned by Exxon Mobil Corp., has said the Kearl project will have initial capacity to produce 110,000 barrels a day, rising to 345,000 barrels by the end of this decade.

Imperial closed little changed at C$45.95 yesterday in Toronto. The stock has six buy recommendations from analysts and nine holds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Suncor Energy Inc. is the largest Canadian oil producer by market value.

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