Imperial Swings to a First-Quarter Loss on Commodity Price

Imperial Oil Ltd., the Canadian affiliate of Exxon Mobil Corp., swung to a loss in the first quarter as oil touched the lowest level in more than a decade.

The oil producer’s first-quarter loss was C$101 million ($81 million), or 12 cents a share, compared with net income of C$421 million, or 50 cents, a year earlier, Imperial said Friday in a statement. Daily production rose 26 percent to 421,000 barrels.

“Recognizing the uncertain market conditions, particularly in the upstream, our focus remains on what we can control," Rich Kruger, Imperial Oil’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Imperial, based in Calgary, operates three refineries and is a producer of bitumen from oil-sands mining and thermal technology in Alberta. The company is boosting output at its Kearl mine and at leases in the Cold Lake area. The oil production division lost C$448 million in the quarter compared with a year-earlier loss of C$189 million.

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude, the U.S. benchmark, has gained 25 percent this year and traded above $46 a barrel Thursday, a five-month high. Prices averaged $33.63 during the first quarter after touching a 12-year low in February.

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